|Budweiser Clydesdale being Groomed|
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|
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|
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.