Monday, June 22, 2009

Sunday bath

Today, Sunday, was a beautiful day. After scrambling to finish an article for a client, I went out to the barn with full intentions of riding. As I was grooming Panama, however, he seemed a bit crabby, and I remembered what a riding companion at an old barn told me once:

Only visiting your horse when you want to ride is like your husband only paying attention to you when he wants to have sex.

So I decided not to ride, after all. It seemed the sensitive thing to do.

About the time I finished up grooming Panama, it suddenly started to rain. This was completely unexpected because the forecast hadn't called for rain at all — yet the clouds were low and dark, the wind had picked up, and the rain started falling quite quickly at first. I unhooked Panama from his lead rope, leaving it tied around the post, and started heading to the barn in the front pasture.

Panama, however, had other ideas. He headed for the barn in the back pasture instead, and I followed. Both the other horses were already inside, but we made ourselves comfy under the overhang to wait it out.

Horses in the barn

It ended up not raining very much. The rain quickly subsided to a light sprinkle (with the sun out), so I started heading back to the front pasture. Panama followed me at first, but then I realized he was lagging behind, and turned around to find him doing this:

I'd already been thinking about giving him a bath — his first of the season, actually — and since our ten-minute storm was already clearing, Panama's little rollfest made my decision for me. I got him to follow me back to where his lead rope was still tied, brushed the loose dirt off of him, and gathered the things for his bath.

The bath went pretty well, considering Panama had to stand in a puddle for most of it (something he hates — we both miss the wash rack at our old barn!). He put up with me washing him right up to his jawline. (I don't hose his face. I meant to wipe it with a damp sponge today, but completely forgot.) He was even being affectionate, and seemed to like it when I washed and rinsed his withers and shoulders, as he kept turning his head to nuzzle me when I was at about that point.

After I had him clean, I took him into the yard to dry him where it wasn't muddy. I also wanted to distract him with grazing so that he wouldn't think about rolling.

My horse grazing after his bath

It worked. He was more than happy to find himself knee-deep in green grass, and immediately went to work on it. While he grazed, I toweled him dry as much as possible, put Cowboy Magic leave-in conditioner in his mane and tail, and brushed it all out. I was thrilled at how white he was.

The neighbor's puppy, of course, thought this was all very interesting.

Horse and dog

I let Panama graze until he was completely dry, to minimize the risk of him rolling right away when he got back into the pasture. I know he'll probably be dirty again by tomorrow anyway, but at least I prolonged the vision of cleanliness a little!



At June 22, 2009 at 4:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice pics! I'm glad I don't have to keep all of that white clean! Maybe that's why I'm such a fan of bays!

At June 22, 2009 at 10:52 AM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Kate, I don't blame you! :o)

When I first brought Panama to Denver, he didn't like to get dirty, and I rarely had a problem with it. Then I boarded him someplace where the horses were ALL about rolling in the mud. He was still young and impressionable, so guess what habit he picked up? ;o)


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