Monday, September 26, 2016

What's the grooming decision you've ever seen?

Everyone has different preferences for grooming and presentation.

I leave Tristan's mane long and on the "wrong" side; I'm too lazy and I don't give enough fucks to either pull it or train it over. It's been ten years. It's not going anywhere. Plus, I do have some backing on this: mustangs are typically left with long manes. His is full and grows long enough not to look awful. (Though, opinions differ: I had a trainer who sighed heavily and looked pointedly at Tristan's mane on a regular basis.)


Sometimes, though: sometimes there are grooming decisions that are less personal choice and more atrocity.

Some years ago, I was helping barnmates get ready the night before an event. We were at the event stabling when a friend from another barn came over and asked for help braiding her horse's mane. She was of the "own a horse but not do tooooooo much of the hard work myself" type. She had the money to pay for top notch care and didn't feel like braiding, so a barnmate who was a former H/J rider and had braided for A circuits agreed to help.

We got over and discovered that instead of pulling her horse's thick, drafty mane, she had half-roached it. And by half-roached, I mean zipped right down the center line of the horse's crest. We stood in horrified amazement for several very long second while the woman chattered about what a great idea she'd had!

But I have a new worst story, told to me at my current barn a few weeks ago.

The person who told it was a working student at a very, VERY high end dressage barn many years ago. It was his second or third week, and there was a new groom. Said groom was an extremely experienced horseman, and had come to the dressage world from a polo barn. The head trainer pointed out one of their FEI horses and said that there was a buyer coming that afternoon; could the groom get him turned out to the nines for the sale?

Cue four hours later, the horse was turned out immaculately and brought out of the barn for the buyer...with a roached mane.


Any other good stories out there?


  1. Ah! That half roached mane would look crazy! I have been tempted to completely roach all my horses manes because I am lazy...might still happen one day. :)

  2. My husband has also been leaving his Mustang's mane long. I would do the same if Nilla could grow a mane, but I like the mohawk look on her. As for worst grooming decision I've seen lately, Kate from Incidents of Guidance showed me a picture of the horrible clip job one of her kids did to her horse and it was crazy bad.

  3. On the subject of manes... I was in the midst of pulling a very long-neglected mane over the course of several days. The guy who did stalls saw me working on it, and decided to "help" by CUTTING THE FORELOCK STRAIGHT ACROSS WITH SCISSORS AFTER I LEFT FOR THE DAY. I was horrified. Another time, in college, the team was getting ready to take a handful of horses to IHSA Nationals. One girl clipped an Arab-style FOOT-LONG bridle path on one of our best hunter horses. I thought my coach was going to murder her.

  4. I offered to braid a friend's horse for her first dressage show. The mare had a thick unruly mane. I called her a week before I was supposed to braid and said that I could come over and pull it for her (I've done this horse in the past.) She said that she had worked with another woman in the barn and it was in great shape... no need for me to come over. When I got there she brought out the horse and showed me the shearing scissors she used to thin the horse's mane. It was like braiding a shag hairdo!

  5. Oh my! Some people need to set down the clippers and back away quickly.

  6. lol my barn mate let the camp kids practice scissor trimming manes on her own horse.... the week before their usea recognized debut. the braids were.... well. the best they could be given the outcome of that 'practice' lol - and yes said barn mate legitimately considered roaching as an alternative bc the mane was that bad...

  7. That polo groom is my spirit animal.


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