Monday December 14 2009
Are you one of those who thinks your horse has to be clean? Do you
obsessively brush him to get all the dirt and dust out of his hair? Do you frequently give your horse baths, thinking it's good for him to have a clean shiny coat?
What's the first thing he wants to do after you bathe him? Go straight to the dirt and roll.
I'm not big on brushing horses - never was. Maybe that's because almost all of the Thoroughbred racehorses I groomed on the track did not like it, no matter how soft the brush. (Thin skin?) I was not known for sending a clean horse to the racetrack in the mornings. My trainers were not always pleased with me. The horses didn't enjoy the brushing, so I didn't do it. Why aggravate them?
Stormy will still try to bite me if I take a brush to him. I bathe him once in a while, really just to turn him loose immediately and watch him have a good roll. There's just something humorously satisfying about that.
Here's the real dirt a horseman once told me. The dirt and oils on their coats help protect them from insect bites. When we bathe them, we wash that natural protection off that Nature gave them.
Of course, it doesn't keep all the bugs away, and if we do coat them in insect spray, it's nice to wash that toxic stuff off sometimes, because that's certainly not natural either.
Maybe that's true, and maybe it's not, but I know the horses prefer being dirty to smelling like a human hair salon. It makes us feel good, seeing a shiny coat and smelling a Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Lemon Sage mane and tail, but maybe the horses have a different opinion about that.
Dirt - it does a body good.