Sunday, 23 November 2014

Why I Clip Ernest in Winter

Ernest was clipped last Friday and since then, understandably, I've had lots of questions as to why I've had his luxuriously fluffy coat shaved off mid-November. 

Firstly, Ernest gets hairy. And I mean, sheep / mammoth hairy. Within 15 or 20 minutes of exercise he is uncomfortably sweaty, so I'm not able to hack or school for very long. I love riding in Winter, and unlike a lot of other sports there are plenty of competitions throughout this season to practice for, so it's not very helpful to only be able to ride for such a short time. Being clipped means we can work or amble for as long as we please, without Ernest needing to be bathed afterwards (which then risks him getting a chill as his hair takes so long to dry when it’s that long).

Ernest having the bot scratch of his life

Secondly, it's hard to keep him clean when he's 'full fur'. Maxx and I groomed Ernest for 90 minutes on Thursday, and I'd groomed him for an hour on Wednesday. Even after that he wasn't sparkling, and he wears a turnout rug so most of his body was clean, but it still takes forever to get thick, dried mud out of a thick coat. Not keeping him clean means he gets very itchy.

Finally, it’s very hard to tell if Ernest has any cuts or bumps which need attention with long fetlocks (the hair on his lower legs). For breeds with even longer fetlocks, I’m sure their owners are adept at doing this, but I find it difficult to keep this area really clean. When Nadine was clipping she noticed he had little scabs around his feet. They weren't anything serious, but I'd still prefer to know if he has any scratches or cuts.

I have plenty of rugs to keep him warm when riding, in his field or in his stable, and I always check his temperature (behind the ears and under the 'arm' pit). I hope that's answered any questions you had as to why Ernest is clipped!

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