Monday, April 8, 2013

BEWARE The Fire Breathing Drag Mare

As I said before, Lex is a really good girl. For a six-year-old OTTB who has spent the last two years of her life in a vet school study, she's super level-headed about pretty much everything, including leaving the herd, standing while tied (well, it's a work in progress), ground work, and, so far, riding. But there is one thing Lex cannot, and will not, stand for: touching her mane with any kind of comb or brush.

I am really into turning out my horses well. That includes having a tidy mane and a shiny coat. I don't clip my horses' noses or ears because they live in a field 24/7, but I do like to keep their tails nice and I curry them daily. I also keep my tack cleaned and oiled. I just do. I look like a mess 100% of the time, and my house is a disgrace. But when I brought Lex home from the vet school, I was rubbing my hands together with excitement about the prospect of having a horse to prettify.

This is her the day I saw her at the vet school:

How many pictures do you need to take, lady?
 I mean, she's clearly not starving. She's not in horrible condition at all. But even in the sunlight, her coat looked dull. Her tail is almost non-existent. And that mane is NUTS.

And WHAT is going on with those hooves? (And fetlocks?) Her feet were in horrible need of a trim, but when my fabulous farrier took a look at her, she said they weren't actually too bad. Her frogs and bars look good, and her walls are thin but that's to be expected with a TB. What isn't typical of a TB is hairy, hairy legs. Trust me, those fetlocks have been handled - and, more importantly, so have the feet.

 Here she is after I had her in my possession for one week. It's amazing what good nutrition, a curry comb, and a bath can do.

Nice shadow, dude.
 I love that she's a chubby TB. Easy keeper, HOORAY. Also, she's so chill. I have yet to see her worried enough that she won't drop her head to graze. But that mane. It's killin' me, Smalls. Remember, I used to manage a h/j barn. I was a Pony Club kid. I tried to pull her mane a couple times, and her response was "GET NEAR ME WITH THAT THING AND I WILL EAT YOUR FACE OFF!!!!" So I backed off, because my face, while nothing special, works fine where it's at. Plus, I knew the horse dentist would be heading our way soon, so I thought I'd take advantage of her chemical vacation to take care of the mane after he was done. That worked - sort of. I got about 2/3 of the way through (and I was pulling fast - I knew I was racing the clock). At that point, she woke up enough that even with Lovely Barn Mate S holding her with a chain over her nose, she was too furious to allow it. She was still too dopey to go out in the field, but not to hit the roof about the mane comb. So this was the result of that attempt:
The thing is, she doesn't hold a grudge. As soon as the comb went away, she went back to being a snuggleface. I joked to S that she was a fire-breathing drag queen: "Don't you touch my wig, honey!"

The next day, I tried a couple different methods for pulling, to try to be friendlier, just in case that would help. The friend who introduced me to the barn in the first place had some great suggestions, which I tried. No dice. So my friendly, helpful barn owner (who is a vet, just not an equine vet) gave her 200mg of xyalzine and told me to wait five minutes to avoid stimulating her too much. I waited ten.

No. Way. Was she going to let me pull her mane on 200mg of wimpy old xylazine. Poor S was at the barn again, and wound up holding her for me while I did the last bit of her mane with a comb and scissors. Shhh, don't tell my old h/j trainer.

But, you can't argue with the results, right?

It was raining, which is why her coat looks a little splotchy. Oh, Florida.
I think she looks like a little eventer!

From now on, I suppose I'll have to just pull out a couple hairs at a time after every ride so I don't have to put either of us through that again.

She's a pretty girl, and I'm a happy human. Now I just need some kind of miracle-gro for her tail. Can I handle a tail that smells like bacon (MTG)? Do I go for something pricey but good-smelling (Eqyss)? Does any of that stuff actually work? Should I just get over it?


  1. I always respect a person with a well turned out horses. :) She looks gorgeous!

  2. Thanks! I, of course, think she is perfect. :)