Monday, October 5, 2009

The Open House 2009..........Clipping Doc

Sometimes I think that horses are just like kids, the minute you say one thing about their behavior they're going to do the exact opposite just to make a liar out of you. Well, that's exactly what happened when we decided to clip Doc.

I had worked a few times at putting a halter on and off his face. I'd even did a little bit of work asking him to give to pressure. When I say a little bit, that's exactly what I mean. The colt had just enough to have an idea but nowhere near enough to truly understand what was being asked of him.

When I went into the stall to capture him, it took Colleen blocking his escape before I could catch him to halter. The whole time I was putting the halter on his eyes were darting around looking for a quick exit. Nothing about that had changed. It was when we actually went to clip him that he surprised me.

I used a small rope cable that I have made as a restraint just in case the colt got crazy on us. Colleen held him with minimum pressure on the cable and I turned the clippers on.

Doc got a bit wide eyed but just waited to see what I planned to do. He wasn't sure what he thought of me clipping off the long hairs on his muzzle. He tossed his head just a bit but nothing we couldn't handle. I moved on up his face coming back on occasion to take just a few more of those sensitive feeler hairs off and Doc pretty much stood there.

The whole time he had this slightly concerned expression on his face. He held his head higher than usual but other than that he tolerated getting his face show clipped pretty darn well. Both Colleen and I were afraid to mention his unusual compliance for fear we might just jinx the whole thing......but all in all the colt let me clip his face as well as any of the young horses did. Did I happen to mention, he'd never been clipped before?

When it was time to move onto clipping his ears, I figured things would fly. Doc again proved me wrong as he stood there with his head cocked just a bit. Only when I tried to get the deepest of hairs did I get a reaction from this colt. Even that reaction was small and I was able to do a thorough job of cleaning hair out of the colt's ears.

The whole process took less than fifteen minutes. For a foal on this farm I think that's some kind of record. Doc was clearly the easiest of all of my foals to clip............yet he'd been the most difficult of all to worm. I guess it just goes to show you never really know what you're going to get.

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


  1. LOL! That's the Quarter Horse, they'll keep you guessing.

  2. Doc sounds pretty logical. Those clippers weren't worth fighting over. The yucky wormer? Yea. No thanks.
    I love the picture with both horses trotting in unison. Perfect click of the shutter.

  3. I totally agree with Cheri and most of the time it will be a pleasant surprise not a negative one. :D Got to love them!

  4. He looks like his beautiful mother and Grandmother!

  5. In my experience with quarter horses, they are very quick to figure things out and if you give them a moment to absorb it they are more than happy to put up with whatever you want. But you cannot fight them to do something, if you try to force them into something with brute force you are in for a major disappointment, because they are strong as a moose and most will react fairly violently (ie running you over).

    I would suggest getting him on the leadrope and just leaving slack in it until he comes to you, love up on him as soon as he does, itch the good spots, tell him he's beeootifuul, and you'll have a friend for life. Then just walk him around with you, take him to Richard's with the other horses once he's weaned and let him watch, just make sure that he learns that with you and working is where he is going to have the most fun.

    Once he figures out that your his friend and your not going to let anything hurt him you could probably lead him through a burning barn with out a fuss.

    Quarters are a totally different critter than arabs, and while they're both extremely intelligent, quarters need a few minutes to ponder things especially when they are first handled.

    I would just put an empty wormer tube in a bucket next time you have one handy and let him sniff it and play with it for a little while. Then rub it on his body and make it a game to put it near his mouth and then pull it away before he can touch it, he'll be begging for get wormer.

  6.'s always a good feeling when you expect the worst and actually get surprised!