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Marsha Cassada

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I thought it might be fun to start a topic with our grooming time. We aren't always driving or training, but we can still spend time with our equines. Let's talk about what kind of grooming and when we groom.

Today I had to wash my gelding's tail with Selsun Blue. He has trouble with some kind of "dandruff" on his tail. He is 24. The water was cold, but he didn't seem to mind. I cleaned my mare's female areas. The white deposit on the vulva is calcium; I asked my vet about it. Her udder was caked with whatever that is that accumulates there. I try to check her every few weeks. Cleaned out their feet and washed their faces. They enjoyed the attention.
 

candycar

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I spend a lot of time with mine, as I really have nothing "better" or more important to do and they are so close.
A quick groom takes 10 min per horse, a good groom takes 20-30 min per horse.
I usually (if my hands aren't freezing) give mine a once over every day before letting them out in the pasture.
In the winter I use a dog slicker brush, it's great for manes and tails as well as the rest of the body. In the warm weather I use different brushes, rubber curries and a microfiber cloth. They always get their feet cleaned even if I can't brush them. They know when their feet get cleaned they are going out and line up!
I try once a week to literaly "go over them with a fine tooth comb" or flea comb to assess skin condition and get out any clumps or hiding hay.
I keep bridal paths neat and faces long clipped. I don't like their beards and it makes the halters fit funny.
Hoohahs and udders get cleaned if it's not too cold or when they start rubbing their tails. I use baby wipes a lot, they are good for poop stains and touch ups. About once a week with the combing.
Rock E's yoohoo gets cleaned about once a year.
They get a bath at least once a year, twice if I can manage it. Tails as needed.

And I can't wait for the spring clipping! I love seeing them all shiny and new after the winter fuzzies.
 

Marsha Cassada

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This is sort of a training thing, not a grooming thing. But I have a pet peeve. Midnight never turns her head away for grooming, having her eyes sponged, or any handling. But when I offer the halter, she turns her head away. I really dislike it when I have to pursue a horse's head to put on the halter. Are there any tips I could try to cure this? I have not worked with the horses much lately, due to health issues and weather. I have noticed she is more responsive when we've had consistent training times together.
 

Cayuse

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Mine do the same thing Marsha. I'm not sure why but I think it has something to do with folding their ears to get the crown piece over. Did you try to halter her with the crown unbuckled? I'll be honest, I just deal with the quirk as they are not really bad about it and unbuckling things is a pain with my arthritis.
 

MajorClementine

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What a great idea. I spend lots of time grooming the little turds. Much more time than I do driving...

My riding gelding is bad about dropping his nose to the ground when bridling. I have to lift his giant boulder of a head up and it's freaking heavy. A couple of my minis (my Amish ones) don't turn their heads but they do clench their teeth and refuse to take the bit without me sticking my finger in their bars. Come on already! We both know you're going to do it eventually so why fight me?
Anyway, I too would like to know how others solve this...
 

Taz

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My horses all learn to put their heads in the halter and bridle when I hold it up. Hold it up for them and keep it there even if they move their head away. As soon as they move back even the smallest bit take it away. Keep doing it. They should move away less until they don't at all and then hold it in front of their nose and they will start putting it on after a bit of trial and error. Always praise/rub for doing it. Same with the bridle, present the bit under their mouth and wait (sometimes wait and wait and wait depending on how much they don't like the bit), they will eventually open their mouth and put the bit on themselves. You might try that with your gelding dropping his head down too. Sneak in down low with the bridle, he's just avoiding it a different way. Hope that helps and works for you 😊
 

candycar

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Many might disagree with me but I taught them using a treat.
Hold the bridle/halter in one hand and a a treat in the other. Put the treat in front of the noseband and when they go to get it they get the halter too. Mine all put their nose in the halter now.
I don't always treat, but they always give me their nose.
I used the same way to teach Jelly Bean to take the bridle. Made things a lot easier.
 

chandab

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I've always buckled and unbuckled the crown piece to put on a halter. I hate the snaps at the throat, so rarely if ever buy a halter that has the snap, so a halter has to be unbuckled to go on.
Not all, but seems many horses turn their nose away from the halter when haltering; guess I've never thought about it, and we just halter, even if I have to "chase" the nose to get it done. Perhaps I should be teaching them to give, but I haven't.
 

Taz

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Many might disagree with me but I taught them using a treat.
Hold the bridle/halter in one hand and a a treat in the other. Put the treat in front of the noseband and when they go to get it they get the halter too. Mine all put their nose in the halter now.
I don't always treat, but they always give me their nose.
I used the same way to teach Jelly Bean to take the bridle. Made things a lot easier.
I use a treat as a reward when they are learning instead of just praise and do the treat in the noseband trick for any that are struggling with it. I know not everyone wants to go that route but I find they learn much faster for a food reward.....but then so do I 🤣
 

Marsha Cassada

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I did the treat thing today. Just used some apple core pieces I had. It took two before she held her head for the halter. I'm going to do that for a few times, then do holding the halter and waiting for her to cooperate. She is a smart girl and will figure out what I want. I just need to show her what I want so she can understand.
She has large ergots (the things inside the legs??). I learned on here about putting vaseline on them and they peel off easily the next day. That is on my grooming list to do tomorrow.
 

Willow Flats

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My farrier cuts those off when he does their feet. In the winter I usually just brush my three, pick their feet and trim the Bridle paths of the two driving horses. I have a waterless shampoo that I do some spot cleaning on the white areas. However, I trimmed Rocko's beard yesterday with scissors just to make bridling easier.
When my friend was here I noticed that Kriss Kross had a yucky build up on his sheath and I said yuck I hate doing that and she said; "'l'll do it. And so she did.😊
 

Marsha Cassada

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My farrier cuts those off when he does their feet. In the winter I usually just brush my three, pick their feet and trim the Bridle paths of the two driving horses. I have a waterless shampoo that I do some spot cleaning on the white areas. However, I trimmed Rocko's beard yesterday with scissors just to make bridling easier.
When my friend was here I noticed that Kriss Kross had a yucky build up on his sheath and I said yuck I hate doing that and she said; "'l'll do it. And so she did.😊
I wish my farrier would. I tentatively mentioned it one time and he ignored me, so I don't mention it any more. My sister can use a hoof knife on them, but I am not confident to do that.
 

MindySchroder

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My ponies learn to put their own halters on right away. I don't like a hard to catch pony or one that I have to wrestle into the halter. I did just as described above with cookies ;) I do the same with bridling.

@MajorClementine actually what your horse is doing can be very helpful with bridling. You may want to bend over and lower your bridle to ground level. Offer it there. It's so much better to have them bring their head down to bridle rather than putting their nose up in the air!

Also, I think it's important to honor their feelings about what we are doing. So, when I harness Zorro, if he doesn't have his nose stuffed into a feeder of hay, I will offer him each piece of harness before I put it on him. If he touches the harness with his nose he will get a treat and then I put that piece on him. If he doesn't touch the harness I wait until he is ready. I know people think they will never be ready but that's just not so. His feelings change from one moment to the next. If he needs me to move a little slower one day or for certain parts of the harness then I do! He always turns his head and touches the parts eventually. Here is a video where I show how to harness a pony. You will see me offer him the harness parts before putting them on him. Then I forget and you can see his expression when I do that!!

@ 1:07 you'll see me offer him the first part of the harness
@2:12 you'll see him reach out his lip a little bit to touch the collar
@3:14 you'll see me bridle him
@6:48 I forgot to ask for permission!!

I think you'll find if you slow things down and ask a little first they will start to bring their heads around and be involved in the process. Whether that is haltering, bridling, harnessing, or even brushing.

I wrote a blog post about my grooming process in the winter time which is drastically different than my grooming process in the summer!
What brushes do I use in the winter time?

I have a challenge group on Facebook and we track ALL our hours spent with our ponies. Hiking, walking, driving, grooming, feeding, trimming feet, etc. I think it's fun to watch those minutes and hours add up as well! There are so many of us that don't have a lot of time to drive or hike with our ponies but we still spend quality time with them grooming, cleaning their area, feeding, etc. Every moment spent with them is a training opportunity and every moment is meaningful for them and for us.
 

Abby P

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What Mindy said...and I'll just add, when Rowan came to me he was a real pill to bridle. He'd stick his nose in the air, clamp his jaw, and try to walk away. So I started unbuckling the cheek piece so I didn't have to stuff his ears in, and that fixed the problem. Now I don't need to unbuckle it any longer, just hold it up and he takes it - now that he trusts me not to smash his ears or pull his hair. He still doesn't love the bit, during work, but again I think this has been a tool for manhandling in his past and he just doesn't trust it yet. So, I would say, figure out what the horse is saying "no" to by turning away for the halter or bridle. It may be something really simple and your horse will appreciate it if you figure it out. In some cases it may be just an extra moment of time for them to decide they're ready. Humans are always in a rush. ;)
 

Taz

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My ponies learn to put their own halters on right away. I don't like a hard to catch pony or one that I have to wrestle into the halter. I did just as described above with cookies ;) I do the same with bridling.

@MajorClementine actually what your horse is doing can be very helpful with bridling. You may want to bend over and lower your bridle to ground level. Offer it there. It's so much better to have them bring their head down to bridle rather than putting their nose up in the air!

Also, I think it's important to honor their feelings about what we are doing. So, when I harness Zorro, if he doesn't have his nose stuffed into a feeder of hay, I will offer him each piece of harness before I put it on him. If he touches the harness with his nose he will get a treat and then I put that piece on him. If he doesn't touch the harness I wait until he is ready. I know people think they will never be ready but that's just not so. His feelings change from one moment to the next. If he needs me to move a little slower one day or for certain parts of the harness then I do! He always turns his head and touches the parts eventually. Here is a video where I show how to harness a pony. You will see me offer him the harness parts before putting them on him. Then I forget and you can see his expression when I do that!!

@ 1:07 you'll see me offer him the first part of the harness
@2:12 you'll see him reach out his lip a little bit to touch the collar
@3:14 you'll see me bridle him
@6:48 I forgot to ask for permission!!

I think you'll find if you slow things down and ask a little first they will start to bring their heads around and be involved in the process. Whether that is haltering, bridling, harnessing, or even brushing.

I wrote a blog post about my grooming process in the winter time which is drastically different than my grooming process in the summer!
What brushes do I use in the winter time?

I have a challenge group on Facebook and we track ALL our hours spent with our ponies. Hiking, walking, driving, grooming, feeding, trimming feet, etc. I think it's fun to watch those minutes and hours add up as well! There are so many of us that don't have a lot of time to drive or hike with our ponies but we still spend quality time with them grooming, cleaning their area, feeding, etc. Every moment spent with them is a training opportunity and every moment is meaningful for them and for us.
What Mindy said...and I'll just add, when Rowan came to me he was a real pill to bridle. He'd stick his nose in the air, clamp his jaw, and try to walk away. So I started unbuckling the cheek piece so I didn't have to stuff his ears in, and that fixed the problem. Now I don't need to unbuckle it any longer, just hold it up and he takes it - now that he trusts me not to smash his ears or pull his hair. He still doesn't love the bit, during work, but again I think this has been a tool for manhandling in his past and he just doesn't trust it yet. So, I would say, figure out what the horse is saying "no" to by turning away for the halter or bridle. It may be something really simple and your horse will appreciate it if you figure it out. In some cases it may be just an extra moment of time for them to decide they're ready. Humans are always in a rush. ;)
YES, YES, YES!!!!! Thank you for posting that! 😄
 

Ryan Johnson

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I use a treat as a reward when they are learning instead of just praise and do the treat in the noseband trick for any that are struggling with it. I know not everyone wants to go that route but I find they learn much faster for a food reward.....but then so do I 🤣
I also use this method when training , especially with a new horse. This helped with a horse many years ago that I brought that was very head shy. It didn't take long for him to realize that not all humans are in a rush to get things done quickly and aggressively. ( Like Taz, I also learn better for food rewards) :)

I use different brushes in winter compared to summer. We don't get snow here but we do get a heap of rain during winter and spring. Its usually dark when I get home from work during winter , so grooming time is usually at 5am or on the weekends. One thing I do tend to do, is keep tails shorter in winter, not a great deal but enough to ensure they are well off the ground and out of the mud.

The one thing I do everyday in winter, whether its raining, hailing or pitch black, is "Check Body Condition".

At the end of winter last year I discovered " The Furminator" This would have to be the best shedding tool I have ever come across. If its available where you are, I HIGHLY recommend getting one. :)
 

MerMaeve

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My riding gelding is bad about dropping his nose to the ground when bridling. I have to lift his giant boulder of a head up and it's freaking heavy.
[QUOTE="MindySchroder, post: 1639351, member: 46462"
Actually what your horse is doing can be very helpful with bridling. You may want to bend over and lower your bridle to ground level. Offer it there. It's so much better to have them bring their head down to bridle rather than putting their nose up in the air!
[/QUOTE]

I wholeheartedly agree with you, Mindy! I've ridden horses that don't like being bridled and on the contrary, the 27YO Arabian I mostly rode last summer who would drop his head to the ground (not all the time) once I put his bridle on. It's a bit of a pain sometimes but I'd rather have to squat to do the buckles versus fight to do them above my head. MC, pick the battles you want to fight, but I'd suggest not fighting this one. 😊
 
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Willow Flats

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I agree with the going slow with the bridle. I have a different issue though, I'm wondering if anyone else has. Rocko clamps his tail whenever you do anything with it so it is not fun to place the crupper. I am always really careful to smooth the hair and it fits properly with no rubbing. He just doesn't like anyone doing anything with his tail. He doesn't move or kick or turn his head to look or any other signal. Just the clamping.
 

Marsha Cassada

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I agree with the going slow with the bridle. I have a different issue though, I'm wondering if anyone else has. Rocko clamps his tail whenever you do anything with it so it is not fun to place the crupper. I am always really careful to smooth the hair and it fits properly with no rubbing. He just doesn't like anyone doing anything with his tail. He doesn't move or kick or turn his head to look or any other signal. Just the clamping.
I frequently handle mines' tails, lifting, and massaging all the vertebrae. Midnight is sort of a tail-clamper but she relaxes her tail after a minute. I do this while grooming and before placing the crupper. She is so much better now. When i first got her the last few tail vertebrae were even kinked. She was so tense.
 

Dragon Hill

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My little DJ has a lot of issues I'm working on. I've only bridled him twice and he was none too pleased. When I took the bridle off the second time he had his jaws clamped tight. I had to stick my finger in his mouth to get him to release. I knew when I worked with him to see if he was safe to drive I was asking more of him than I wanted, but I had help which is rare. Fortunately, it didn't seem to set us back. I will be taking him to the vet soon, to get his teeth floated and have him gelded.
Has anyone else seen a horse clamp their jaw when unbridling?
 

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