Monday kicked off our annual spring body clipping marathon. The majority of the horses don’t need to be clipped, but almost all of the PPID/Cushing’s horses need to be clipped, plus a couple of extras that are either being very slow to shed or just not quite finishing the job. Some of the PPID/Cushing’s horses will need to be clipped continuously through early fall as they grow hair year round. Others will only need a spring clip.

We clipped on Monday and Wednesday and did it in go big or go home style. We clipped thirteen horses over two days. That’s a lot of baths and a lot of time holding the clippers. As always, most of our clippees acted like we were torturing them. They think the bath is bad enough, but then we add insult to injury by clipping them. They are used to being groomed regularly, but we do our grooming in the pasture. This business of being pulled out of the pasture for a few hours for a bath and then a clip is preposterous to most of the participants, and an unacceptable alternative to their normal routine of doing whatever they want whenever they want.

We do have a few participants that are happy and grateful that they are finally being rid of their excess hair. As always, Sparky the donkey is the most grateful of them all. The first year I clipped Sparky the vet had to give him so much sedation he couldn’t believe Sparky was still standing, much less resisting. As with all things that benefit Sparky, the second time I clipped him he completely understood what was happening and knew that he would feel better, and I just needed someone to hold him while he stood quietly. Now I don’t bother to tie Sparky, have anyone hold him, or otherwise restrain him. He just stands as still as a statue while I clip every inch of him. He gets the best clip job on the farm because he doesn’t move a muscle the entire time.

Unfortunately for me the rest of the horses usually don’t follow Sparky’s example and don’t stand like statues. They aren’t terrible, they just fuss and fidget and do things like twitch their skin and stomp their feet to show their displeasure.¬† I usually take a few strokes along their barrel to let them know what is happening, and then I go straight to the legs to get them done. For most horses the legs are the area they least like being clipped as they can really feel the clippers, so I get the fussiest part done first and then do their bodies. That way when I’m coming to the end of their clip and the end of their patience I’m not working on their legs while they shift their weight, fidget, try to turn around, etc.

We’ve got some other things on the schedule for a couple of days, but next week we’ll have a couple more marathon days to finish the clipping.

Wilson let me know he had other, better plans for the day than a bath and a clip

Rubrico is always the perfect gentleman 

Homer enjoyed his pre-clip bath

Revy making sure Homer was still by his side while he got a bath

Revy after his clip

Rip enjoyed every part of his bath and his clip, he was happy to be rid of the hair

Vinnie being clipped

Squirrel (front) ready to be clipped, Rubrico after his clip

Squirrel was also happy to get rid of his hair

Sparky having a pre-clip grooming session with Sabrina

Sparky always wins the most hair award. He loves to be clipped and stands motionless, no holding or tying required.

Wilson admiring Sparky’s clip job

Sparky was relieved to get rid of the hair

a Sparky selfie

Norman is used to his star power, and was not impressed by the audience that gathered while he was having a bath

Norman is in second place so far for the most hair award

Norman getting the final touches on his clip job

B-Rad being bathed while Taco and Paramount look like they’ve been through the torture chamber. It was just a bath. Really.

Sebastian being clipped

Taco mid clip

Paramount and Sebastian saying they put up with the bath and clipping nonsense, now return us to our pasture. STAT.

Igor (right, on the fence) provided some supervisory assistance along with Ewen at feeding time

King and Apollo

Happy, Johnny, Sam and Lighty

Baner, Renny, Sport and Bruno

Squirrel, Gus, Roho and Ripley

Paramount, Digby and Taco

B-Rad and Blu

Remmy and Cody playing

Thomas and Moe

Norman, Cinnamon and Lily

Maisie and Cuffie

Grand, Rip and Vinnie

Wilson and Walon

Ricardo and Cisco

Merlin and Duesy

Alfie and Taylor