Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Open House 2009..........Bathing......Rhet.....Scarlet

Once the clipping was done it was time to move onto the bathing. I don't have a wash rack here. It's just the hose and a post. That works fine for most of the older horses but not so well with the young ones. In years past I've always had someone to hold horses while I bathed most, if not all, of the horses. This year I had my friend, Jean, here for three hours on Friday morning to help. After that I was totally on my own.

I decided the best way to utilize my help with Jean was to bathe those horses that probably wouldn't handle being tied to the post. On that list, of course, was Rhet and the other yearling, Scarlet. The two year old colts, Andy and Patriot, were also good candidates as well as three year old Suede who is also still intact. I figured the rest of the horses I could probably handle myself.

Thankfully the weather was warm. There's nothing more miserable than bathing horses with cold water on a cold day. The horses get cold.......... and the horse washers even colder. On the other side of that, if it's warm enough the cold water actually feels good..........and that's the kind of day we had.

We started with Rhet. Of all of the horses I knew I had to have help with this one even though he's getting better about the water. I just don't trust him to co-operate when I need him too. I've been working with him on being hosed down by squirting him off most warm days after his work out. He's gotten better about standing still except for the water on his back end.........and getting sweat from between his legs by myself.......I can totally forget that.

Despite his improvement I expected Rhet to have some adjustment time with Jean. The colt has clearly shown in the past he doesn't like changes in surroundings or in who handles him. Trust is such a big issue with this colt it was certainly going to affect how this bath thing worked out.

Right from the start Rhet looked at Jean in a way that clearly spoke, "Who in the heck are you?" Jean, however, is horse savvy enough she pretty much ignored the colt's reaction to her taking the lead and just held him. Her lack of response let the colt know she wasn't intimidated by him. It didn't take Rhet long to figure out that Jean knew what she was doing and he settled in pretty well.

The colt still wasn't happy about cold water on his tail or between his legs but he kept his dancing to a minimum. Jean's responses with praise for good behavior elicited some deep sighs and even a drop of his head now and then. All in all Rhet actually turned out to be the wettest of the three when we were done............not something that happens often when water and Rhet collide by means of a hose.

After Rhet we took on Scarlet..........after all that's the way it should be. Scarlet and Rhet may no longer get turned out together.........but they are still an item. Rhet still speaks to Scarlet whenever he hears her footfalls or the sound of her voice. I'll bet he even dreams of this filly, the love of his life.

As I led Scarlet to our bathing area, Rhet began talking and pawing and striking the wall. The colt clearly wasn't happy to be tied to the back wall of his stall where he couldn't get a glimpse of Scarlet. She, on the other hand, in true Scarlet fashion couldn't be bothered with Rhet's pleas. She nonchalantly stood for her bath not even flicking an ear Rhet's direction. Poor Rhet finally gave up calling to her and we were able to finish our work in peace.

Scarlet was so good about her bath, I wondered if she'd been possessed by the soul of some other horse. To hear Jean refer to the primadonna Scarlet as sweet just didn't seem to fit. I can think of a lot of things I'd call Scarlet but sweet..........during a cold bath...............not likely.............yet sweet is exactly what we had.

There weren't even any complaints about cold water between her back legs or getting her udder washed. I really was beginning to think maybe this filly was getting sick since she's usually so outspoken about everything..........particularly cold water.

Maybe Scarlet was on her good behavior for Jean's benefit............who knows. That filly's got a number of people fooled into thinking she's really sweet...........I'm just not one of them.

Now, don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't like this filly. I actually love this filly but one of the things I love most about her is her big big attitude. I must admit I was grateful we didn't see any of it on her bath day, however.

To be continued.............

1 comment:

  1. We have has some sweet horses...one Arab mare was so 'proper' I could have imagined her (if she were personified)wearing a pill box hat and wrist length gloves to a tea (holding her little pinky 'just so'). I liked her a lot, she was good and obedient...but the ones that hold my heart are the ones that are BOLD, opinioniated, & sassy! We've had a couple of those too...Oh what FUN!!!