Thursday, March 19, 2009

Let The Fur Fly

The fur is flying everywhere these days as we enter shedding season. I walk around with horse hair on my clothes, in my hair, in my teeth (I really hate that part!), just everywhere! Amy and I each give a good currying to five or six horses per day and we've curried every horse on the farm twice this week. Both of us feel like our arms are going to fall off!

Even Mina and Jo are shedding! I am wondering if they are shedding their baby coats like horses do. Here is Jo on their "castle" Jason put in the stall for them - an upside down little water trough. They go outside for playtime every day but we don't want them to be bored in their stall. They are just 90 days old.

Mina sleeping on the chair

It is always interesting to me the differences in shedding from horse to horse. Some of them you can give them a couple of good curries and they are done. Others seem to let go just a little bit at a time. You can only curry off so much hair from them in a session. Others it seems like you could curry them 24/7 forever and the hair will just keep pouring off of them as you wonder if it will ever end. Some of the horses I can tell we've really made a dent in their shedding already especially on their necks, others looked like we hadn't done a thing even after we'd really worked hard.

On Wednesday morning we were working our way through currying the big boys. Apollo is 18.1 hands and he has a massive winter coat that he is starting to shed. Amy tackled him and I thought I was going to have to administer CPR to her after she was done - there is a lot of horse to curry with Apollo! He was one of the ones that looked like you hadn't done a thing after twenty minutes of effort even though the hair just poured off of him.

Leo was next and he really enjoyed his time. Leo was one that especially on his neck you could already start to see glimpses of a slick, shiny coat. Apollo and Leo wandered off over by their run-in shed after they were done. The funny part was that after Ivan, Tony and Elfin were curried they would wander a few strides off and then lay down in the sun. First Elfin, then Ivan, and finally Tony completed the napping triumvirate. I don't know if the vigorous currying really relaxed them, if they were just enjoying the gorgeous day we were having (70 and sunny - perfect) or what the trigger was. At one point they were all three doing their best "dead horse" impression. So we were laughing that we had caused death via the curry comb.

L-R Ivan, Tony and Elfin giving us his dead horse impersonation

I woke Elfin up when I took the first picture; here he looks a bit groggy and has his drooping lower lip. On another note why do they always have to get dirty as soon as you finish cleaning them up??

Tony doing his dead horse impression

And of course Ivan was not to be out done; here he is with his dead horse impersonation
I think I have every shedding tool under the sun. I have shedding blades including the double blade ones, I have a furminator, regular curry combs, curry mitts and also the epona shedding flowers. I had never used the shedding flowers before and was complaining one day to Amy that I dreaded shedding season because holding the shedding blade for hours always left blisters on my hand. She raved about the epona shedding flowers and that she liked them so much because they were easy to hold and didn't cause blisters or your fingers to fatigue. So I bought a bunch of those this year as well.

Chance happily relaxing while Amy works on him with the epona shedding flower

My only complaint about the shedding flowers is that your fingers and fingernails are right there getting all of the dirt and grime in them when you first start if the horse is really dirty. So if they are really dirty I go over them once with the shedding blade to knock off the dirt and then I work away with the shedding flower. In my opinion Amy was right, they work great and you don't get blisters and your fingers don't get so worn out! I like my furminator but I have to be careful with it, you can really pull out to much hair with those things and the directions tell you not to make more than two passes over the same area in a single session. We mostly use the furminator on Bear these days. Jason accidentally gave Bear a tiny bald spot with the furminator once - he felt really bad! So what are your favorite shedding tools and grooming routine for shedding?

Some of the trees are starting to leaf out as well. The pear trees have bloomed and in fact are already starting to lose the bloom and go to leaf. The grass is greener and taller every day. And of course the fur is flying everywhere. Spring is officially here!

The pear trees in front of my parents' house; one of them is already starting to leaf out
Leaves are starting to slowly make an appearance on some of the trees. We'll get to watch all of the trees slowly leaf out over a few weeks. When Jason and I lived in New England I remember being amazed at how fast everything happened. One day it was winter and then ten days later the grass was green and all of the trees were leafed out!


Anonymous said...

The shedding is fun - great to see the summer coat underneath. I mostly use a circular wire brush, but then just lots of rubber curry. Don't do what I did once - put on chap stick right before grooming a shedding horse!

Anonymous said...

I am very classic with my shedding tools. When my babies are shedding I first take a one sided scrape blade to the big stuff, then a soft curry all over, then a stiff brush everywhere but the face and legs, and finally a stiff brush to make them look good along with some Show Sheen. I do this professionally for some of my dad's clients (he is a farrier) so I am a bit of a perfectionist. LOL! :)

ZionFarm said...

My shedding routine- just LOTS of brushing. I worked on JT last night and there were little white fur balls floating all over the barn! He still has a ways to go before we see any sign of a slick coat. He did look a little better by the time I was done.

Your parents house is gorgeous! I love that old southern plantation style.

ezra_pandora said...

Shedding, ugh. Our girls get pretty dirty and hairy too. What is this flower thing you talk about? And is the furminator a vaccum? lol We just do the normal gelly rubber curry comb unless they are muddy. If they are muddy then we use the metal curry with the teeth, lol. And yeah, nothing worse than hair in your mouth and you have dirty hands trying to find the one hair. lol!!

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

Kate - I cannot imagine the disaster that would be me if I put on chapstick before working on a shedding horse. I look bad enough as it is!!

Sport's Mom, I have so many varieties of brushes, curry combs, mane and tail brushes, shedding blades, etc. I could open a mail order catalogue at this point. It is ridiculous really! I have I think seven grooming caddies stuffed full of various grooming tools - not including shampoos, sprays, etc.!

Zion, thanks for the compliment on my parents' house. I have to say it IS beautiful, even better than person. The horses have a lovely view! Also, I think shedding out gray horses is the worst. White hair covering me and everything else. And we have so many residents here that are gray, in fact I worked on three today. I could have passed for a gray horse at one point today!

Ezra_Pandora, check these out:
Epona Shed Flower

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

I also meant to say that I ordered my Furminator from Amazon and I think it was $45.

Dressager said...

Oh boy, shedding season. I find that Farnam Slick 'N Easy grooming block does well. When it starts to get dull you just rake it against something hard and concrete, and it's good to start using again. My horses seem to like it!

Dressager said...

Oh and plus the grooming blocks are only about $5 per block! After I get the majority done with those, then I'll go in and use the clippers here and there, on the horses that don't mind the clippers!

Anonymous said...

Sorry about currying Apollo! I know what it is like to gromm him. Washing him is like washing a bus!

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

Dressager I forgot about the blocks. I have a couple of those as well. I especially like them when you are working on a horse that has mostly shed out but still has a few of the long guard hairs here and there. I think the block is the best at getting those off.

Vivian, grooming Apollo isn't bad. But currying him - especially hard and thoroughly for shedding - is a huge job! He's been curred three times this week now and sadly it looks like we haven't done a thing! His winter coat is always so thick.

LuLo Designs/Blue Eyed Tango said...

What a beautiful home your parents have! I grew up in a home very similar to that! Gone With The Wind style! Gorgeous trees! Thanks for sharing!