Do you ever stare in awe at the sleek shiny horses, the glistening brass, perfect braids, and dazzling white marks at a CCI trot up? Do you ever wonder how they get that way? (LOTS of hard work is the correct answer!) Each Sunday morning we will bring you a little insider info on how the big-time grooms manage an upper level event horse. Feel free to email or comment with specific grooming questions if you have a topic in mind!
Previous entries: Weapons of War
Note: including the full list of Jog-Up topics is getting rather lengthy, so click on the “Sunday Jog-Up” category to see all entries, or use the search function on the upper toolbar.
WANTED: Your Jog-Up tips and grooming stories!! Please send me your ideas, failures, and successes so I can share them with the rest of EN! I’d love to hear any feedback, or see before/after photos of your horse. Email me at [email protected].
Q & A with the Comment Section
The Jog-Up column generates a fair number of comments each week, and I do my best to read and reply to most of them. However, I know I’ve missed a few. And some of them are really great questions that deserve front-page answers. So, since we missed the Sunday Jog-Up due to Bromont and the Luhmuhlen jog is today, here is your Wednesday Jog-Up.
February 2: “Get Those White Legs White!”
Sarah: Any tips for getting rid of that “hind leg gunk” that seems to thrive come spring time?
A: Daily currying and hot-towelling (see Shining, Shimmering, Splendid) will help prevent the ickies from starting. It seems simple…but most of us (me included!) sometimes get in a hurry and forget to thoroughly curry those cannons. Sometimes just a little extra attention goes a long way.
If the cannon keratosis has already taken hold, wrapping with a sweat bandage can help clear it up. I use a furacin-based ointment, “faso” (furacin, dmso, scarlet oil, azium), that cleans it up in about 5-7 days. If you catch it early, sometimes a sweat with plain furacin can help.
Also in prevention, make sure your galloping boots are clean. Sweat and gunk can build-up between the boot and the leg, creating an environment prime for ickies. Clean your boots regularly, and dust them lightly with Gold Bond (or off-brand) body powder to absorb sweat and prevent rubbing on the legs.
Anonymous: can you offer tips on covering “white scars” on legs?
A: I usually don’t worry about scars on the legs. Most judges don’t notice or care. However, at the Thoroughbred sales, they like those legs looking as nice as possible. Grooms use colored chalk to hide any minor imperfections in hair color or small bald spots.
Kaitlyn: In one of your earlier topics you mentioned tail clipping/pulling (finally, someone with the same tail pet peeve!!) However, I would be interested in your thoughts on braiding and bagging or wrapping tails in addition to products such as MTG. Suggestions for washing/maintaining tails in general, keeping them up out of mud, etc, etc. Love the tips!!
A: I have had limited experience braiding and bagging tails…but when I did it, I was very happy with the results. It is especially helpful with gray horses (MARES!) who pee on the tail and seem to stain it every way imaginable. And if you stick with it, it does help increase length and thickness to some degree. I used the three-tube braid-in tailbag, and I didn’t have any trouble keeping it on. I know others use anything from tube socks to vetrap; I can’t help you there, but there are many methods that work. I didn’t use any special products; just weekly washing with any handy soap (dish soap or shampoo), and then condition it well (whatever’s on sale, usually Suave). I do use Showsheen, but not daily.
The trick with the tail bag, especially a long tail, is to *knot it* somewhere just below the dock, once the bag is in place. This knot will keep tension off the top of the bag, limiting the “drag” on the roots and preventing the bag from falling off.
There are a few things you must accept when obsessing over a horse’s tail: 1) you cannot overcome his genetics. A wispy tail can get a little better, but it’s never going to be like a draft horse’s. 2) Maximizing the horse’s genetic potential takes effort! Throwing a tail bag on and ignoring it for a month or more is a bad idea. Take it down weekly, or else the hair becomes too stressed and breaks off. Limit the use of combs and brushes; use your bare fingers to pick through the tail strand-by-strand. You don’t have to do this every day, but a couple times a month will help. Benign neglect on a natural tail is helpful, but don’t go hacking at it with a brush later. Remove any burrs, sticks, or foreign objects promptly, before they create a matted mess. See Taming The Tail for more tips!
Feb 22: “What About Tack Part II”
Heidi: I cleaned my bridles yesterday using this method and I really loved it! Using dish soapy water was so much better than dealing with the dumb spray cleaner that I have. I liked that my bits could soak while I cleaned, and the dish soap cut through the greasy sweat on the leather. I also melted my glycerine in a Tupperware. It looks a little funny and bubbly, though!
Anonymous: I like the idea of using Shout, does it help get out the black rub marks from the saddle on the white pads? I never can get those to go go away!
A: Shout does work well, and so does a paste with detergent, OxyClean, and a little water. Though I have to admit, I have learned to get over a few black streaks on the girth area of my pads. The area is covered by your leg…and at the end of the day with many horses to take care of, I tend to let the saddle pads slide. So long as the visible part of the pad is sparkling clean, I don’t worry about the girth loops.
March 28 “Extreme Makeover: Mane Event“
Mischief Maker: So erm i have a question. are you tearing it out at the roots or do you ust break it off at the desired length? I usually use a pulling comb that is really skinny and i wrap my hair around it the pull it out that way. am i doing it wrong? lol thanks
A: Yes, I’m pulling it out at the roots (unless using the clipper blade). Watch the video, you can see I’m removing chunks of 10-inch hair by pulling it straight out. You can certainly use a metal mane comb and wrap it around– that’s how I did it for years! But I find the current method, without the comb-wrapping, a lot easier and faster. And no sharp, pointy comb teeth to cut your knuckles, either. 😀 As long as the mane ends up thin, short, and braidable, it doesn’t matter what comb you use or how you pull it.
Megan: OK, so if you are pulling the mane out by the roots, how do you get the mane at the length you want? You say to tease the mane to the length you want then pull, but if you are pulling it all out…I’m confused. I wrap it around the comb and have to make several passes up and down the mane to get a long mane short. I would love to know how to pull it to a desired length the FIRST time!
A: Some of the mane you “pull” actually breaks at a shorter length, instead of ripping out at the roots. Teasing it back frays the hair a bit, weakening it to break instead of pull completely out. You still may have to go back and touch-up sections to even out length and thickness; it’s rare that I’ll get the ENTIRE neck done in one fell swoop. But I can get it pretty close to what I want the first time, and then go back with my fingers and pull any long or thick pieces.
May 16: “Studs“
Some great reader insights:
LisaB: Great article. I love how in the beginning you state that every horse is different and you have to basically do trial and error with the horse. Anyway, you forgot another set of studs. The hex type of road studs. My whatever-maybe some draft-we think standardbred-Amish-reject loves the wider face of a hex type of road stud up front and then ones with the grass type of tip in the back. He’s very sure footed and with big feet and a flatter mover. He does not like ‘sticking’. Also, if your horse has an extravagant front end type of jump (knees up to the ears), you will almost think understudding him up front. If you think you’ll need a med. grass tip, go to a small grass tip. They need to ‘move’ a bit on landing.
Ouchmy: My farrier recommend a dental pick to take out plugs and help clean stud holes, it is s wonderful tool to have! I ran cross country today and 6/8 of my plugs had fallen out..so not fun to deal with. If my horse hasn’t been out in a while, I typically clean and replace plugs the day before I leave for the show so things go smoothly before xc.
May 30 “Bridle Wise“
Lex: Ohhh, good timing! I have a question for you! so I took the mare I Part board to a clinic last week, and discovered that while she really likes her job, I’d like a bit more control of her. She does “grab the bit and run” or she crosses her jaw. For stadium and xc, she goes in a loose rig snaffle. She goes in a loose ring French link for her owner at home. At home, she’s not likely to “grab the bit and run”, but she does ignore half halts sometimes. And I’m still tryingto figure out when to half halt and leg, and when to stop messing with her and just leg. I’m debating on using a running martingale, or maybe a kineton noseband. It’s hard for me to get the same experience trying new equpiment at home, but I also don’t like the idea of trying new stuff at an event. Opinions? I’d love a Sunday tip about horse boots. I’m still trying to figure out what to put on her. And I wish i knew more about boots to have an idea of what ones were studied in the video on the USEA.
A: Without knowing you or your horse, it’s very difficult to help you overcome your horse’s problems. Crossing the jaw may be helped by a figure-8 noseband, but the root of the matter is likely that your horse doesn’t accept your aids (specifically, the bit). A running martingale is useful for horses who fling their heads in your face approaching a jump; not so much for a horse that pulls. I would recommend riding a lot out in the open, practicing your galloping half-halts and transitions, insisting that your horse listen to you NO MATTER WHAT. If the horse won’t listen to you galloping on the flat, how do you expect her to listen when jumps are involved? Don’t be afraid to “rev her up” a bit at home, to get her a little on the muscle like she’ll feel at shows. Play around with different bits if you need to, but try to use the absolute minimum. Please consult a good trainer who can watch you ride, and offer better advice.
I plan to do a topic on horse boots in the future, I just need to dredge up a bunch of boot styles to try!
There were several comments about the Mickelm Bridle. I do not have any personal experience with it, though I am intrigued by its design. I have heard a few positive reports, yet I remain a bit too skeptical to purchase one for myself. At this point, my horses are fine in a normal bridle, so “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” There is plenty of information about the bridle available, I would recommend a search on the Chronicle forums for first-hand reports.
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Thank you to all the loyal Jog-Up readers and commenters. It was actually quite fun to read back through 21 weeks of topics– hard to believe I’ve been writing this long! I have some good ideas for future articles– boot polishing, fitting horse boots and other tack, and an actual lesson on presenting/jogging the horse in hand. As any groom knows, the list of things to be done is endless…so if your topic isn’t up yet, it will be eventually!