bathing · spring · trailering

In Vermont, May is still practically winter…

Sunday: gorgeous sunny day, blue sky, light breeze. We went for a 2 mile hack up and down the road with a friend who’s conditioning her new horse. I thought about going up and down the hayfield hill for some additional work, but the trainer was showing a sales horse in the outdoor arena and a galloping mustang probably would’ve been more excitement than they really needed.

So I untacked and decided to do a bath. I rinsed, and I shampooed, and I rinsed, and I did conditioner, and I rinsed…and then realized I had been scrubbing and bathing for a solid hour and poor Tristan was shivering a little bit.

I promptly felt like the world’s worst mom: cold well water, a wash stall in the shade outside, a light breeze, and his flanks were quivering on and off. I scraped off all the excess water and brought him out into the sunshine. He stopped shivering and was perfectly happy to handgraze.

I spent the next two hours worrying about my stupid decision, because that’s what I do. When he wasn’t drying off as fast as I wanted in the sunshine – which kept going and coming as clouds passed over – I started layering coolers: irish knit on the bottom with a wool dress sheet/cooler on the top. Then I pulled the irish knit and we went back out into the sun for a while. Then I swapped the wool cooler for his rattier fleece cooler, cinched it around his stomach, threw him all the hay he could eat, and checked in with the trainer’s barn manager.

“Yeah, I thought you were being really brave!” she said. “It’s still pretty cool!”

Sigh. When I finally left, he had a strip down his belly that was still damp, and his legs were still slightly damp. His core had warmed up considerably, chest and sides were once again warm to the touch, and he was happily eating, drinking, and pooping. He’s fine today. ¬†HORSES.

In the in-between of everything, I hauled all the various storage things back up the hill to my trailer from where they’d been stored in my truck, in our apartment, in my other car…really a bit of everywhere. It was nice to get the trailer really swept out after the winter, go through all the bins and pull things that needed to be cleaned, discarded, or gone through. It looks great in there – and if I ever have time off and energy, we’re ready to go somewhere exciting!

bathing · grooming

What do you use for shampoo?

It’s that time of year again! Sometime in the next week or two, Tristan will be getting a bath to dig in and get rid of the winter grime that’s worked its way in to his coat. I’m only waiting for the right conditions: enough time to properly bathe him, and enough sun to dry him out.

Some pony haaaaaates baths.

I did a brief inventory of my bathing tools last night. Big sponge, check. Sweat scraper, check. Small bucket, check.

One of my favorite scrubbing tools is a basic jelly scrubber. I have small hands, so when I can find a child size I buy that. I think it does the best job of scrubbing in the shampoo and massaging the skin.

I also have two bottles of conditioner. I am of the camp that believes in conditioning every time I bathe; shampooing removes natural oils and can leave the skin dry. Tristan isn’t nearly as sensitive as many other horses, but I love the soft shine he gets after a good conditioning. Part of my bathing routine is also to work conditioner fully into his mane and tail and let them set for quite a while, then rinse out, picking out snarls. It makes a huge difference.
Here’s the big gaping hole in my kit: shampoo. Last year, I ran out of the most recent bottle I’d bought: Cowboy Magic Rosewater Shampoo.¬†
It’s on the expensive side – usually around $8 a bottle – and while I’m perfectly happy to spend money on things that make a difference, I’m not really sure that this did. In the past I’ve used whatever’s on sale at Walmart or the grocery store: Suave, V05, whatever’s around $1 a bottle. I’ve noticed a difference in quality of conditioner – both for him and for me! – but never in quality of shampoo.
Before I buy a new bottle of something, I thought I’d put the question out there. What do you use? Do you think it really makes a difference? Do you go cheap & generic, or do you have a particular brand you swear by that costs more? Do you have a multi-step system? Seeking all opinions!