Flash Fiction

Autumn clipping 

Photo: courtesy of Abi Sinclair

#clipping #horses #horsecare #equestrian

Love this time of year  … brings back memories of standing in the cold, wind swirling short hairs up your nostrils, in your eyes and ears (how can you still be locating those hairs two days later when you’ve had multiple showers 🤔) .. the buzz of the clippers and how your hand and forearm adapt to the vibration, and they no longer feel heavy. Turning the clipper head this way and that as you move in and around the long-known contours of a horse’ shoulder, and those exciting flat areas you save til last over which you make neat smooth arcs! The fiddly bits like stifles where smaller movements with those blades are required, as you stay bent over to see the detail, pulling the skin taught, all the while keeping the cable safety tucked back via a well-practiced route around an elbow or shoulder.

The smell of damp hay and the bounce of the hay bet back against the wall after the horse’s teeth have torn its chosen piece, the occasional metal-hoofed stamp on concrete, those muscles which ripple occasionally in an effort to rid itself of the fly whose individual footsteps can now be felt across the more exposed skin surface.

I miss all that 🌸

For anyone not familiar with why horses’ winter coats are clipped away, it is a health and well-being resource we are able to give our equines.

In the colder months their coats naturally grow thicker – very sensible; think wild animals and evolution.

But we own and ride many of these domesticated versions who enjoy a pampered lifestyle with food and water and a healthy physique being handed to them on a plate; no foraging around a mountainside in search of an occasional weed for these beasts!

If you exercise a horse with a thick coat, they will sweat and end up wet. In cold temperatures this situation will inevitably end up with a chill – compare a boy with short hair coming out of the swimming pool having rubbed his head with a towel to that of his sister with long hair who needs to go home and locate the hairdryer (plus correct styling brush, heat-protection oil and comfy seat 🙄) … walking from the pool to the car, she could get a chill whereas her brother probably won’t because his body temperature is more regulated due to a dry head.

Hence we clip away the horse’s coat in order that it can be exercised correctly. And we give that horse rugs to wear in the field and stable when we are NOT riding so it can be comfortable and warm.


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