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Tea Party Winners: Carla Gade's winner is Becky Dempsey, Andrea Boeshaar's winner Caryl Kane, Gina Welborn's winner Jasmine A., Carrie Fancett Pagels' winners book copy -- Lynda Edwards, teacup and saucer -- Wendy Shoults

Friday, October 27, 2017

Grooming Horses

Budweiser Clydesdale being Groomed 
Several years ago I got to watch the Budweiser Clydesdales being groomed, harnessed, and hitched for a local parade. Wow! That was a treat! Those horses are treated like rock stars. They ride in air conditioned semi trucks and travel with their personal attendants. 

They are beautiful beyond belief, but a far cry from the working horses our Colonial ancestors owned. While the Clydesdale in the photo was getting his "feathers" brushed and whitened to impress the crowd, Colonial horses needed a more practical level of grooming. 

In Full Harness
Horse harness is made of leather straps and metal buckles. These materials lay flat or shift and rub against the horse's hair and hide. While the horse's hair helps protect his hide, too much chafing will cause sore spots. When the farmer brushed his horse, he not only removed dirt and dried sweat, he checked for signs of missing hair or irritated skin. If he found those, he knew he needed to adjust or mend his harness, but he also applied a soothing ointment to the horse if needed.

Long, flowing tails are gorgeous to see flying behind a horse racing across a field. But long, flowing tails could also get caught in the hitch apparatus. The Clydesdales have their tails bobbed incredibly short as a fashion statement. They are bobbed shortly after birth, much as some breeds of dog have their tails bobbed. In Colonial times, a farmer wouldn't cut the actual tail of the horse but kept the hair trimmed so that it didn't get tangled in the hitch. Their horses still had plenty of tail to swat flies with.

Cash Yawning Wide
Saddle horses needed grooming attention as well. Not every saddle fits every horse, much like not every coat fits every human. A poorly-fitted saddle or worn blanket could rub hair off, leave sores, or even cut into a horse. Regular grooming allowed the owner or stableman to inspect for such things. Grooming before the saddle was applied also reduced the risk of trapping dirt or burrs under the blanket, a situation that could result in the rider meeting the road ... so to speak.

Last, but also import to a horse's health and well-being, was to check the horse's teeth at least yearly. Horses teeth, as they age, wear down from grazing. It would be fine if they wore evenly, but they rarely do. Sharp edges often form on the outer cusps of the molars, making grinding food more difficult and even wearing sores on the inside of the horse's cheeks. "Floating" the teeth is a method of using a rasp or a file to grind down the sharp points until they are blunted and even with the rest of the tooth. It's not a painful process, but trust me, horses don't like dental work any better than we do! Still, it needs to be done to keep them healthy, especially in their later years.




4 comments:

  1. Clydesdales are my favorite breed of horses. I have been blessed to have one for almost 10 years. Majesty is super gentle and gorgeous to look at. Thanks for sharing the grooming information. Majesty loves it!!🤗🤗

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  2. Oh, I'm jealous! I'd love to own one of these gentle giants. :)

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  3. I have been to Grant’s Farm several times since we lived in St. Louis for twenty years. The Clydesdale’s were a highlight to the visits. Thanks for the post.

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  4. Just like their commercials are the highlight of the Superbowl, right?!

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