Thursday, December 16, 2010

12/15/10 Harley Meets Dressage & the Clippers

So much in a short time. I had a little sunshine left, and the winds had calmed a little, so I thought. I walked into Harley's pasture, halter in-hand, and he walked over to me, nickering a little. "Do you know, Harley, that you're filling a hole? Because you're sure starting to act like a pocket-pony, nuzzles and all."

A little grooming to get the hay, grass bits, and dust off his coat, and I saddled him dressage for the first time. I only used a square pad, hoping to get him warm enough riding to test saddle fit. It seemed okay from the ground, but I wanted to be sure.

As soon as I got on, it was "go go go". Harley didn't want to stand, and he absolutely didn't want to halt. His head was up, his ears in every direction, and he felt tense. I'd be tense too, with less padding between my back and a human atop me, wriggling around a lot. When I added leg, he immediately bounced into his trot, and it was even bigger. After a few minutes, and lots of turns and bends, Harley settled down, obviously starting to understand the changes in body position and weight shifts. I didn't ride more than about 10 minutes or so, before my headcold started to whoop me, getting spats of coughing and sniffles. I dismounted, and took the saddle off..

I found he'll be needing either a wither riser pad, or my Mattes sheepskin halfpad for the near future, until he builds up some topline and wither muscles. Most of the saddle fit great, but there was a patch of cool skin under his withers, just below the backbone. Darnit! :) It's okay, Ransom had it too when I first got him, so I know how to fix it. I'll be pad browsing online today, so if anybody has experience with this and has a suggestion, comment please!!!

I glanced down at the clippers, looked at Harley, and told him, "Well, let's give this a whirl. You were pretty quiet considering the tarps were flapping in the wind, tree limbs blowing all over the place. I'll be happy if I can just turn them on near you. We've got to start somewhere."

I walked him back to the barn and the power plug. I plugged the clippers in, and turned them on. Harley's head popped up, and he took a step backwards. I rested the clipper body on his shoulder, and rubbed his sweetspot on his forehead. He eased his head down, and gave me a deep sigh, licking and chewing.

So I got brave. I put the clipper body against his nose, with more rubbing, and when he didn't spook, I turned them around, and started coarsely clipping nose whiskers. No reaction, in fact, he leaned into it a little. Cool! I asked him to lower his head, and clipped a little bridle path. A little nervous head-up, until he realized it wasn't going to hurt, and he relaxed again. Feeling even more brave, I clipped those pesky long under eye lashes. Harley actually lowered his head into the clippers for this, and I was verbally cooing and cahhing, praising him the whole time. "What a brave boy you are! This is awesome! Super good job, Harley!"

Finally, I reached up, again with the body of the clippers, inside his ears. No reaction. So I clipped a tiny bit of that ear fuzz near the bottom of his head. Still no reaction. I very coarsely clipped bits of fuzz inside his ears. I didn't "show shave" them short, but just clipped bits here and there inside of both ears. All with zero reaction, except a good head-shaking as I walked around his head to the other ear. Amazing.. good job Harley!

Another success! I'm guessing that was his first time with the clippers, and I'm happy it went well, peacefully, without a problem. Makes me want to body clip him, to make our winter rides easier.. really, really, really does... I probably won't this year, but if we get another warm burst after vacation, it's going to be awfully tempting.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I find it amazing that Harley was such a good boy! He must have a lot of trust in you to not spook at all.