Bath day! Its in the 70s already and its only 10:30. Now I'm not the sort of horse person who gives lots of baths. Okay I'm not the kind of horse person who gives any baths. Its a once or twice a year thing. Read this article about how daily or weekly bathing is bad for their hooves. This is good enough for me. Want great feet. No bathing.
I look at this as an expedition. Have to make plans about when to do it, have to gather up gear cause its scattered from my basement to my garage to the tack room to the storage stall in the barn. I don't give baths and I still have so much STUFF! How is this possible? Buckets, shampoo, sponges, scrapers, curry comb, nozzle, hose, horse. The list goes on. This morning I came across an article on How to Wash Your Horse. Great! More stuff.
As a Parelli student I figure I'll think of all the things I've seen the other people around do, and do the opposite. The "wash stall" is two posts on a patch of gravel surrounded by grass. Everyone walks their horse in, turns them around and ties them to the cross ties.
I walk Cici onto the gravel, let her face "the back" and the grass and allow her graze as I soap her up. Article said I didn't need to wet her down before soaping. Thinking awesome, I get to skip a step.
Soap up one side and she is doing great. Standing pretty still and eating. Turn on hose and get a bit of a reaction from her, then she just stands as I rinse one side off. Then scrape.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. I should have stopped here. But into "this is bath day" so plowed ahead. Cici was getting a bit restless and not standing still. I'm letting her wander and eat grass and trying to get her back onto the gravel. In the process, as she is headed for the bucket with soapy water, I think, "oh no, don't knock over the bucket!" She hears my focus of the bucket and over it goes.
Note to self: pay attention to where you place bucket of soapy water. Off to the side by the post would be a really safe place.
Side two is a bit more of a challenge. Oh she doesn't do much, just more movement and I didn't take the time to acknowledge what was happening. Amazing how those blinders snap into place. Well in the process of moving around a lot Cici is heading straight for the plastic container of shampoo that is lying on the ground. And YES she steps right in the middle of it and the shampoo shoots out in a beautiful arching spray.
Note to self: more careful attention to where you place the shampoo after it goes into the bucket of water. Probably off to the side by the bucket by the post would be a really safe place.
Maybe Cici is trying to tell me "Enough! No more soapy water and no more shampoo!" Hmm.
Rinse phase for side two goes relatively well. I'm wearing my tall muck boots with pants rolled over the tops. I'm wet only from my armpits down. Not too bad. Sunglasses still on, hat still on, hair is wet-but that is sweat. I am proud to say I left my iPhone in the car. I knew what was possible.
Pull out towel and rub her down. Do notice she does not like her hing legs wiped. Are we done? Oh no, she is stepping on the shampoo bottle gain - getting every little last bit out. Guess she didn't approve that brand.
Note to self: Consult with Cici in future brands of shampoo.
I reach out with hands full of soap (from rinsing the sponge and bucket) to move Cici off the bottle. Now she has soapy hands on her side and hind end. Have to rinse her off again. Scrape the water off. Towel her down. Flies they love a wet horse.
I'm done. Cici is done. And I look at the debris that is left all around the "wash stall" that I'll need to clean up once I get Cici back to her paddock. I let her graze a little to help the drying. She is looking all golden. Gorgeous.
Back to paddock she goes. She looks over her shoulder at me as she walks away. And then she drops and rolls. Flies love a wet horse you know. She knows what to do about that.
No wonder I don't bath my horse! All that effort. All the water. All that soap. All that sweat (mine). For what? 3 minutes of a clean shiny horse?