Saturday, March 6, 2010

Clippers, whiskers, and ears... oh my!

Panama (and all the other horses at the barn) started shedding weeks ago. Probably since he has a thinner coat than most of the horses, Panama isn't shedding as badly, but I may still have to consider blanketing him a bit more liberally in March and April. Denver gets a lot of heavy snow in the spring, but enough warm weather between snowstorms that the horses aren't really prepared for the cold and the wet.

When I took these pictures earlier this winter, though, I was thinking a lot about winter coats, whiskers, and fuzzy ears. My trainer comments periodically that I need to trim Panama's whiskers. Once I did take her advice, but since then I've decided I prefer him all-natural.

Horse in a blanket

I changed my mind because I read that horses use their whiskers to feel when things are close to their mouth. That made sense. And of course you'd never cut a cat's whiskers, so why do that to a horse?

Horse whiskers in the winter

I've also been advised to fold his ears and cut the longest hairs. Again, I did once or twice, but I've since decided not to do that anymore, either.

Fuzzy horse ears in the winter

I do trim a rather sloppy bridle path with the scissors, but otherwise I don't pull or trim his mane...

Bridle path

...or his tail. In fact, I want that tail to grow, grow, grow, and often braid it in the winter to try to help it grow out!

Horse tail

Nor do I clip his body hair. My trainer would do it if I wanted, but I don't. I don't like the way it looks, for one thing, and I don't mind sticking around to until he dries after a ride, which has only been necessary a few times this winter.

What about you? What do you trim on your horse, and what do you prefer to leave natural?



At March 6, 2010 at 5:59 PM, Blogger jane augenstein said...

I don't trim anything on Gilly except his bridle path, with scissors also. I don't own clippers; sometimes I hold the edges of his ears together and cut out the long hair because it is pretty long. I don't like all the clipping either, neither would Gilly!
He likes his whiskers and Pokey likes his too. They like to be natural boys!!!

At March 6, 2010 at 6:41 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

That's cool that you are the same way, Jane! I don't own a pair of clippers, either, though I've been thinking of borrowing a pair to desensitize Panama to them -- it wouldn't hurt to have him familiar with clippers, even if I don't regularly use them on him. When he was 2 1/2, he was injured and the vet had to use clippers on him -- he pretty much lost his marbles, so obviously we need to do some work there!!

At March 7, 2010 at 9:29 AM, Blogger Sally said...

I like to trim Chester's whiskers. It's bad of me - I know - because I only do it for me, thinking he looks sleeker and I clip a bridle path (for convenience) and his fetlocks (for easier grooming).

At March 7, 2010 at 7:47 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Sally, I don't clip Panama's fetlocks, but that's another one I've heard suggested. Panama doesn't get a lot of long hair there, though -- none in the summer, and only a little in the winter.


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