December 19, 2014
Ben Chunch Gets a Bath
As many readers of my blog know, we recently welcomed a Fell pony to our stables. For my grandchildren it was love at first sight, and they named him Ben Chunch. He's only four and a half and still very much an impatient, frisky youngster. After he was with us for a couple of months, we decided the time had come for his first bath. In today's blog, we'll show you how it's done. Although technically he's taking a shower, in horse talk it's commonly called a bath.
1 My stable manager Betsy Perreten leading Ben Chunch from his stall.
2 You can definitely tell he's been playing outside - note the mud and grass on his jaw. First, Betsy tries to remove as much mud as possible with a metal scraper.
3 You can also see the mud on his side and feet, and the leather halter.
4 Ben Chunch is wearing his winter coat, which is at its thickest. Horses cycle through coats as the seasons change. In the springtime, when the temperatures rise to 50-60 degrees, he will shed the heavier coat, and the new coat will come in thinner. Then in the summer when it's 80 degrees, he'll shed again and his new coat will be very thin.
5 Actually, Ben Chunch's coat is fur, not hair. In general if an animal sheds its coat, it's not considered hair. However the mane and tail are hair.
6 Groom Sarah Levins helps guide Ben Chunch to the shower stall.
7 Sarah and Betsy cross tie the pony to keep him in place. You can't see it, but this specially-designed stall has a drain in the middle of the floor, which is covered with rubber mats. Also there are mats hung on the walls up to about four and a half feet. That's so the horses do not hurt themselves if they bump up against the sides, or kick.
8 You can see here that we installed special hoses in the shower stall - not regular garden hoses, which the horses could trip on. Our hoses descend from above the horse's head. Also our faucets are recessed in the wall to avoid injuries.
9 Sarah wetting down Ben Chunch's forelock. She is trying not to get water in his ears - he is sensitive to that.
10 Sarah spends a good deal of time spraying the pony's tail, which is quite thick. As she passes her hands through, she looks for ticks and other objects.
11 Ben Chunch has a hard time keeping still, so Betsy tries to calm him down with a steady hand on his forelock.
12 We use a gentle shampoo made by Healing Tree. It contains tea tree oil, peppermint oil and aloe vera, which suds nicely and rinses out easily. Tea tree is a natural antiseptic, which is important since the horses spend so much time outdoors and can pick up tics or bugs.
13 Sarah gives his whole body a good scrub - especially vigorous since it's the first time he's ever been washed. She uses a circular motion to get down to the skin.
14 Washing the pony's hindquarters and hip.
15 Heading back to the stall, après bath.
16 Ben Chunch looking clean, sleek and shiny.
17 Sarah puts on his "cooler" - to help him dry off and keep him warm.
18 Having survived his first bath, Ben Chunch is ready to head back outside and play again!