Then use the rest of the length to cage the braid and knot again. You may want to add a few strands to cage other parts of the mud knot. You know, don’t let the baby fall out! Nonetheless, a mud knot is a relatively simple (if you can understand this without images) and surely smart solution to many situations.
I have a big fleabitten grey Thoroughbred who always sleeps on his left side, on his pee spot. It doesn’t matter how deep his shavings are. His entire shoulder is yellow. Bluing, Quick Silver, Wisk for whites and colors, Cowboy Magic Green Spot Remover have failed.......Can you help?
A. Dear Polly,
This is one of my favorite topics: the myth of whitening shampoos and stain removers. Believe it or not, those products make him dirty! Have you noticed how they strip the natural oils and shine to leave the hair dried out? They make it porous--thirsty so it grabs onto everything.
In my experience, if you use a shampoo that genuinely moisturizes and nourishes, the hair is bright, shiny and clean, and stays cleaner longer. I’ve never met a stain I could not eradicate.
The program is simple. First, I’d spray the area with Lucky Braids Whitener/Dry Wash. This is not a detergent or bleach. It is an enzyme that dissolves the bond between the hair and the dirt. Don’t rub it, just let it sit wet. Most stains dissolve immediately. Old stains may take a few sessions. I’d back up the spray with a shampoo that actually moisturizes and nourishes to brighten the coat, such as Lucky Braids.
I’d use a mitt as well to wash and exfoliate the skin as well as allow the shampoo to fortify the roots. The third thing I’d do is rub on him lots. Choose a mitt or flexible soft rubber curry and curry, curry. Be sure to work in circular motions, in the direction the hair grows. The brush and towel will also help bring out those natural oils to encase the hair shaft and substitute that stain for big shine.
I would say the trick is not to use many products. More is not better. Finally, and most importantly, pick out his stall as much as possible, especially before bed. No urine or manure, no stain. I have no doubt you can get your guy glistening in short time. Then, revel over that bright shiny shoulder.
Q. Kyra, Vancouver, B.C.
I’ve read on the Chronicle bulletin boards that some people clip their horses while wet, and they claim it’s easier and makes for a more even clip. What are your thoughts on clipping a wet horse?
A. Dear Kyra,
I never heard of clipping a wet horse. I don’t understand why it would work, since wet hair sticks together. If you want an even clip, start with a clean, well-groomed horse and sharp blades. Vigorous daily grooming will bring natural oils to the coat. This is pivotal before and after clipping to yield a nice coat as well as seal the hair shafts. Doing so protects as well as promotes a healthy shine on a smooth coat.
Q. Joy, Charlottesville, Va.
How often do you advocate for bathing? I’ve heard that it’s better for a horse’s coat to be bathed less, but in the hot, humid Virginia summers, daily baths are necessary.
A. Dear Joy,
There are old and new answers to that question. Conventional wisdom is not to bathe often because traditionally shampoos strip the coat’s natural oils. Plus, hooves can soften if the horse stands in water too often. However, I don’t think bathing is detrimental if you use a non-drying and fortifying shampoo. Of course, if the pores are not clogged, you can always just rinse them without using soap. I think most show horses get soaped once a week, depending on conditions. I like to bathe with a rubber mitt.
If you want to get him super-clean without bathing, try what we call “The Queen’s Treatment.” It was learned from a groom that worked for the Queen of England… and Peter Wylde. Here’s how: get a bucket of hot water, a large towel and medium brush. Wet the towel well and wring it out. Fold the towel and hold it in one palm. In the other hand, work the brush. Every time you stroke the horse, swipe the bristles over the towel. You won’t believe how much the hot brush pulls off the coat. When the towel is dirty, re-fold to swipe another surface. Replace with clean water as needed. A relatively clean horse can sparkle with less than a bucket of hot water--dirty horses may need four buckets. Regardless, you can get them sparkling clean without getting them wet or dried out.
Q. Lynn, Aiken, S.C.
My baby green hunter, who has some Arabian blood in his pedigree, carries his tail high. While it’s not a big deal right now since he shows in unrecognized divisions, I plan to move him up to the greens next year. Will using a fake tail help mask this trait? And, if so, what’s the best way to attach a fake tail without braiding it into the tail? I’d like to practice with it at smaller shows where I won’t necessarily be braiding him.
A. Dear Lynn,
A full tail always looks better, and most horses can have them naturally. I know there are a lot of wigs out there these days, but the trend is out of hand. There is nothing like the real thing. Detanglers and drying shampoos generally promote tail breakage. To help it grow thicker, only pick the tail or at least hold it and work your way up by gently brushing below your grip and from the bottom. Keep the tail clean and only use quality products.