Monday, March 16, 2020

spring cleaning: tail edition

I don't know about you all and where you live, but here in Maryland basically everyone sorta hit coronavirus fever pitch at the exact same time yesterday. It's been kinda surreal.

Like the virus has been in the news for weeks and weeks - first in China, and then those poor quarantined cruise ships. And all along we've more or less been told to expect it'd come our way eventually.... And even now, while we know it's "Here," it almost doesn't feel like it because I don't personally know anybody affected directly by the illness.

charlie trying to look pitiful so i won't spray him with the cold water haha
But... The big difference - the change factor, as far as I can tell, is that as of this weekend, just about everyone in Maryland has had their life disrupted in some tangible way. Whether it's office or school closures, cancelled travel, modified hours or depleted inventories at stores and restaurants...

And as of yesterday, it was all anybody could talk about. And everybody seems a little anxious too. Uncertain. Like nobody really knows what to expect, or what it all means, tho they also feel like they should "do something" about it. Will it blow over? Will we have forgotten about all of this six months down the line? Or, will the unthinkable happen? Will we be affected more personally by an unfolding tragedy?

in case you weren't aware, we marylanders are kiiiiiinda obsessed with our flag. we put it on er'rythang
Uncertainty, for me at least, is extremely nerve wracking. And it's such a strange feeling juxtaposed as it is to what is turning out to be a friggin glorious spring season. Everything is blooming, the weather is mild, and people are eager to be outside -- esp with all the kids and college students who have been released early to their spring breaks.

My own personal life honestly isn't particularly disrupted. I work from home full time already, and my job at a consulting firm isn't really dealing with anything worse than travel chaos. Our clients, all non profits, are still dedicated to their missions. Many more so now than ever. And so the wheels keep turning.

picked up a bunch of new products using my store credit at maryland saddlery! 
The biggest complaint I can claim at present is the cancellation of all our horse show plans. Which.... obviously we can recognize as probably the right choice, even if it's pretty disappointing.

So yea.... It's very strange times right now. And a particularly strange weekend as it sorta "got real" for everyone in my network - horsey or otherwise. Presumably we'll know more in the not-so-distant future. But for now we're all just kinda going about our days, waiting and seeing.

Which, for my purposes this weekend, meant attending another Fix-a-Test clinic (very grateful it wasn't cancelled - details coming soon!), and hitting up my local tack shop to use up some store credit that's been burning a hole in the proverbial pocket for far too long.

pictured: poop dreads. gross, charlie. this is what you get when your horse smooshes his butt into the back of the trailer for an hour...
In particular, I wanted some open front boots, per Martin Douzant's recommendation (success!), and fresh grooming products to help usher Charlie through the changing seasons.

He actually got his first bath on a particularly warm night last week before our jumper show. To be perfectly honest, I really don't bathe him often -- preferring frequent vigorous currying instead of stripping his natural oils with soap. But springtime is always good for rinsing off the months of accumulated winter nasties haha.

but it's nothing a little warm soapy water can't fix!
Plus, naturally when our jumper show last week was running predictably late, Charlie ended up standing around on the trailer for a good long while. During which he had his tail smooshed up against the butt bar, while repeatedly pooping into it. And it was nasssssty omg.

So... Yea haha. Had to fix that. The selection of grooming products at Maryland Saddlery is limited, but I'm already a fan of Cowboy Magic's detangler - and somewhat of the opinion that most shampoos are more or less the same basic ingredients. The Cowboy Magic shampoo smelled nice (rosewater!) and included a bottle of spray shine stuff too, so that's what I got.

this is my preferred method for cleaning tails, you really don't need a very big bucket either!
Frankly it probably would have been cheaper to just get some Mane 'n Tail from the local grocery store like I've done before, but eh. I had store credit, so why not, right?

In terms of actual tail care.... I'm one of those who practices abject neglect. Charlie has absolutely luxurious hair and a freakin lovely tail. I'm not even lying when I say it's one of the attributes that sold me on him haha.

scrub-a-dub-dub! also look how gross and dingy those suds are even tho i'd already been rinsing and rinsing haha
But yea, I basically neglect it. Mostly bc that's typically the safest way to help it stay full and luscious. It gets banged twice a year up to mid cannon (otherwise it grows fast enough to drag in the mud!!), and washed probably every month or two. And I use a detangler product with some regularity.

Lots of folks recommend against products containing silicone since it can dry out the hairs and leave them prone to breakage. Idk tho... haha, I love the way it feels. Plus I feel like it helps repel dirt, and the hair gets less tangled and knotted. I usually just work it in with my fingers, and avoid brushing the tail altogether unless it's freshly cleaned for a show. Ymmv!

don't forget to pay the meter
Plus, last year I shelled out for one of those fancy Tail Tamer brushes. Which, actually, I really really like, and do feel like it's better for avoiding breakage than some other brushes I've used. Most of the time if I'm brushing the tail, I'm just smoothing out the very ends with a brush, and hand-picking some strands higher up.

If I'm going to brush the whole thing, tho, it's gotta be freshly cleaned and detangled, and I divide it into lots of small sections to brush out one at a time. But again, I only ever really do that for shows to be honest.

ta da!! clean tail on a dirty fuzzy pony <3
So on this particular day, mostly what I cared about was washing out all the nastiness and doing some light detangling. Meaning I mostly worked out snarls with my fingers, and just brushed about half way up the tail.

It's always so satisfying tho when you're done <3 Or haha, it probably would have been more satisfying if the rest of the horse was clean too! Instead of kinda dusty and still with some mud caked on in places (and in his mane... whoops) since I'd been a little lazy in my grooming.

bye charlie! make good choices!!!
But hey, one step at a time, right? He's just gonna go roll anyway, let's be real. And considering we suddenly don't have any immediate or urgent plans to be out in public.... Well, I guess it doesn't really matter anyway, right? Sigh...

Anyone else out there taking advantage of the blossoming spring to get your pony all freshly cleaned up? Or maybe taking advantage of a sudden onslaught of free time due to the Covid-19 pandemic? Or, and hopefully this is not the case, maybe you've seen other worse consequences to everything that's going on? Either way - hope you're all staying safe and healthy!!


32 comments:

  1. So jealous that you have warm enough temperatures for bathing! Currently 27F here in Michigan. It's going up into the 40's today but certainly not pony washing weather. I am just itching to give Vinny a bath and remove those mud dreads he came with. The less saturated areas have improved but his armpits and low behind his front legs are just one big mud hair knot.
    Here all schools are shut down and in Ohio (I'm near the border) restaurants are carryout/delivery only. Just working from home and waiting to see what the IRS says about the 4/15 tax deadline. I'm not sure if I want it extended or not - if I'm going to be trapped I might as well do taxes right? Plus it could mean a long summer of extra hours instead of my usual limited schedule. We shall see!
    Stay safe!

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    1. oh man, yea that makes sense. i honestly don't know how i feel about the tax deadline extension either, mostly bc i don't really fully understand the implications for all involved. good luck either way tho!

      and oh man, i'd be frustrated by all those hair knots and dreads too! to be perfectly honest, i'm not above taking scissors to problem areas when conditions don't allow for other approaches haha!

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  2. Yeah, this virus business is getting a bit scary. I'm a bit of an anxious person normally, so I'm trying to manage myself pretty carefully.

    I'm still at work for now, but as a non-essential (woot!) that will likely change as the week goes on. I have a huge list of spring stuff to do, but we are still kinda chilly here, so it might have to wait.

    I love washing tails - so silky and shiny - for 5 minutes. lol I'm like you tho, very little brushing of the tail unless needed.

    (and go terps!) lol

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    1. yea there are still some people at work (as in, in the physical work location) here too. part of the frustration and anxiety i see is actually how uneven the decision making has been across the board. like.... each state and local government is making choices as needed, and also each individual employer or governing association is kinda trying to wing it too -- there's no real cohesive overall guidance. tho i guess the centers for disease control is starting to step up with their recommendations on crowd size etc. idk tho, it's all crazy. silky pony tails help tho!!!

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  3. I rarely bathe my horses but I always look forward to a spring bath for all of them. It isn't quite warm enough for me to do it after work yet, but damn am I getting itchy. Imam needs a full body anti fungal soak too. I'm also debating getting Pete body clipped. He is 31 now and isn't shedding like he used to. He is a sweaty pig and looks kinda miserable so I think this coming weekend I'm going to grab the clippers and at the very least shave his chest and neck.

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    1. aw yea, you're probably right tho -- esp for senior horses a full body clip once things start warming up really does seem like a kindness. the owner at paradigm farm horse retirement once wrote about trying to body clip a stubborn donkey who needed it, and said that the thing was drugged to its eyeballs and STILL fighting, and that it was a battle of epic proportions. but apparently, after that he was so much more comfortable, that the next time she tried to clip him, he still completely motionless, totally sober, not even tied, for her to clip every single inch of him. kinda crazy haha!

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  4. Thinking of y'all - stay safe. In TX, things are starting to lock down but I'd prefer we do that sooner rather than later

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    1. thanks, and yea -- it's so hard to know what to do when every state is kinda handling things in slightly different ways based on where they are on the curve.... it seems tho just based on this weekend alone that the CDC is starting to put out more comprehensive guidelines. we'll see what that means, i guess!

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  5. Nothing more satisfying than a clean tail, or a clean horse for that matter.

    I'm so over hearing about the virus but at the same time feel like we haven't heard about it enough! We can see what happened elsewhere and are just waiting... no events here either!

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    1. oh man, i love that clean silky smooth feeling on a horse - so satisfying! and ugh sorry to hear all your events were cancelled too. it's intense -- esp bc there's so much more 'noise' about it compared to what we can actually see. the 'wait and see' thing kills me haha, but i'm hopeful for more info soon!

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  6. So jealous it's warm enough for that where you are, I'm desperate to wash Connor's tail, but it still hasn't been quite warm enough for me. It's actually not silicones that dry hair out, it's the harsh cleansers required to remove the non-water soluble silicones from the hair that dries them out. But as long as you're still washing with a shampoo that contains sulfates, the silicones won't build up, I'd just recommend following it up with a lot of conditioner (which I've started using on Connor's tail and am just delighted by the results, I've only ever shampoo'd him before).

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    1. ha to be perfectly honest, i'll keep washing charlie's tail all year round except for days where it's below freezing, since it's so easy to wash without getting any of the horse's body wet. ymmv tho! and re: the method i wrote above, basically what i meant was that a lot of folks recommend using a different process or combination of products than what i use, but that i like the way i do it, and so i continue to do it this way. it seems to work out well enough for us!

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  7. I am so jealous. Carmen's tail is a horrible mess right now. And that's with me periodically spraying it and brushing it out. Her body is clean under the blanket so she looks like she has a farmer's tan- her neck and head are brown and her body white. I CAN'T wait to clean it out. After the initial spring baths I don't bathe much either- just hose off after rides and bathe before a show.

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    1. lolol @ the "farmer's tan" haha.... honestly i don't envy you the gray horse. as beautiful as Carmen and those dapples are when everything is clean and spiffy.... having a dirt colored horse is MUCH easier lol. esp now that charlie's been out of his blanket for the last week+ so there's a LOT of dirt happening!

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  8. His tail is gorgeous!! I'm a little jealous, Hero's tail isn't nearly as thick, although I'm sure that might have something to do with him being a chestnut.

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    1. aw yea idk if it's chestnuts or what, but some horses are just more blessed than others in the genetic department when it comes to hair. charlie just has so so so SO MUCH of it (except in his pitiful dweeby forelock lol....)

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  9. ugh we had a warm day last week and I SHOULD have bathed Remus's tail at least but didn't and now it hasnt gotten above 40 in the daytime since then. UGH. Crazy right?

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    1. oh wow i'm surprised to hear that - it's been steadily in the 50s and even 60s here! hopefully it warms up for you soon!!

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    2. Tennessee is insane :) it was almost 80 one day last week and then low 30s at night 40s in day AND RAIN. if the sun would come out again I could deal with the cold. I feel like I live on the moon or something :) hahaha

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  10. I've washed Nay's tail once when we had a warm day a few weeks ago and then I've been condition-spraying it weekly ever since. I found a spray bottle of something in the barn and tried it and fell in love. I've been using that and bought some of my own (I feel bad using barn stuff even though I've been told to use whatever). Turns out, unlike his forelock, Nay's tail is gorgeous. I plan to tail condition this week. And like you, the silicone just makes it feel so much nicer (and I find works better). I should work on Subi's tail too. That one is a mess...

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    1. it's definitely super satisfying to get them all spiffed up this time of year! and we've been so lucky with weather lately. tho naturally more rain is coming so they're all going to be wild muddy wildebeests again in no time flat.... sigh!

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  11. Looking at a big scrubby bath this weekend as temps should warrant. Grey horse + warm winter = the struggle is real - so stinky. We also employ the bucket-dip tail cleaning strategy. :D

    Re the crisis - things definitely hit the fever-pitch level here over the weekend.

    Toilet paper hoarding finally reached our little island's shores. People are publicly debating closing access to the bridge - residents only - and blaming out-of-towners for items missing from store shelves or any future potential infections. No cases in our county yet...

    Since tourist season is about to start, and after hurricane Dorian trashed us last fall, commerce should be welcome. We can practice social distancing and generate a bit of income for everyone, if we could only cool our jets.

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    1. ugh yea i mean. nobody really knows what to expect or what's going to happen, ya know? most people i talk to are trying to be practical and reasonable, but also feel like they have to "do something." but... what to do? as a society we've already been conditioned to solve our problems by shopping, so that kinda explains the compulsive stocking up of necessities haha. and closing down a bridge... i mean, i understand why people feel that way. it's just really not clear if those measures work, ya know? esp in the absence of other precautionary measures... it's just hard to know i guess.

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  12. The uncertainty is hard on everyone. The initial lack of leadership and cohesive facts re the illness has shaken everyone, and rightly so. The pull up the drawbridge mentality (locally) is totally understandable. Just lacking in forethought since everything we have and every dollar we earn comes over that bridge. I look forward to a day when the majority of my fellow citizens’ behavior and compassion levels exceeds expectations...

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    1. so very true. and there are unintended consequences to everything, ya know? consequences for delaying action, and consequences for acting rashly. with such limited info on what's what, it feels impossible to know how to choose. yesterday i saw models predicting this whole situation would peak in may. today, those same models say july/august.

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  13. I always apply a lot of detangler before handling the tail but yeah like you benign neglect is the way to go lol

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    1. Yea agreed. And of course nothing can prevent when Charlie comes in with a big giant chunk bitten out by some other goon in his fjeld ... :(

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  14. There was a very warm weekday where I rode, and washed Amber's mane and tail. But I am like you - I have found that neglect is the way to go lol. Amber will destroy her mane and tail worse if I try to pamper it, so I let her be a gremlin lolol.
    Nothing has directly affected me yet, except that no Kentucky for me this year since they announced today they're cancelling, and honestly, I'm not too disappointed. I think it's the right call, and it's with enough time that I can get refunded on hotels, tickets, and possibly airfare. As much as I do think it's the right call, I know so many things shutting down are having a really huge ripple affect on a lot of businesses and people that work in the hospitality industry. Even here in Vegas some of the casinos are fully shutting down, which considering we're a tourist city is a pretty big deal, and I worry about all the people that worked for them and how they're handling it. Hopefully, we can all band together and get through this instead of hoarding things.

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    1. I’m super bummed about Kentucky. Like. Super super sad :( it’s the right choice tho I guess. And re the hoarding, I honestly think that’s a false narrative. Sure some folks are over buying and there’s the shocking pictures to go with them.... but overall I think it has more to do with every household buying at the same exact time, when normally households are staggered. And every household buying 2x or even 3x as much as they normally would. Which like, considering schools and offices are closed and entire households are spending that much more time inside the house.... they need more tp. So like. Idk. I feel like the hoarding descriptors is kinda one more way to almost downplay the idea of precaution or preparedness. Realistically tho either way the shelves will most likely be restocked shortly haha

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  15. Spring? Ha! This weekend I had to bundle the horses back up in their 300g snowsuits. Saturday ni/Sunday morning was a balmy -24 Celsius (felt like -30). Bath day is still a long way away here! Though I will have to figure out a way to clean the back end of Ms. Poopy Butt sooner than later.

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    1. Ha yea I mean. I live a lot farther south than you. This is our spring time! Hope it warms up for you soon!

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  16. I plan to do this with Grif in the next couple days. That grey tail needs HALP.

    re:pandemic. Eh. I've been sick since last Friday. The joys. Starting to feel on the up and up though and have weaned off of meds as of this AM. The sunshine we have today is super awesome, too.

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