The advantages of being a horse clothing-a-holic

It turned very cold this afternoon, with even colder weather on the way tonight and tomorrow night. And of course, I had to give Fling a bath in preparation for our show this weekend. By the time I got home, it was blustery and cold – but I figured it would be warmer this evening than tomorrow morning. I do have hot water at the barn – for the first time in my life. But my wash rack is outdoors – on the north side of the barn!

Back to the bath. By the time I had finished rinsing her, Fling was cold, and the warm water was about gone. It takes a long time to properly bathe a pinto. Especially one that had not been bathed in a very long time. I mean a proper bath with soap. I hose her off all the time in the summer after riding her, or anytime she’s gotten sweaty. But I rarely give a real bath with soap to any of my horses. First, I am lazy, and secondly, I think the soap really strips their coats of the natural oils. And thirdly, most dirt can be easily removed by grooming, without water. Except where a pinto is involved.

Since getting a bath is a pretty unusual event for Flling, she knew _something_ was up, and was like a border collie who’s seen a leash and knows it’s going for a walk. Whirling dervish is another way to describe her. Seriously, sometimes I wish she were much less smart. Even tho the trailer was not hitched up, and we NEVER leave for a show in the evening, she KNEW we were going to a show. If not right then, some time! I cannot fool her. It’s uncanny. The weird thing is, as soon as I load her in the trailer, she’s calm as can be. She just gets THAT excited about going to a show.She’s also great when I get to the show grounds. Never has to be lunged, etc.  She just gets super wound up about the idea of going!

So, I piled various items of horse clothing on her to get her warm (by this time she was shivering) while she was, quite literally, spinning in circles. Well, I thought, at least that will help warm her up!

And here’s where my ridiculously large wardrobe of horse clothing came in very handy. (I will explain just how large later.)

It took six, yes SIX different coolers, layered on two at a time, before she finally got dry enough to put her regular stable blanket on her. That was over about a two-hour time frame. So they are now hanging on various vertical services trying to dry. 

I definitely have a touch of obsessive-compulsive disorder when it comes to horse clothing. But, in weather like this, that’s a good thing. It’s also handy that all of my horses wear the same size.

I have a separate 10×12 tack building. I had it built at the farm I owned before I got married. It’s one of those Home Depot ‘built on your site’ buildings. Then my dad and I insulated it, put paneling in, and finished it out with a window a/c and a space heater.  When Mike and I got married and bought a farm together I could not bear to leave it behind, so I found someone to move it for me for a fraction of what it would cost me to build another one. One wall is filled with those tall plastic shelving units and those units are stuffed with every sort of horse clothing imaginable. The only time i was brave enough to actually count everything, I had over 50 items of horse clothing for the four horses I owned at the time. Now, to be fair, the weather in Houston is so unpredictable that you can drive yourself crazy trying to ‘dress’ your horse (much less yourself) for the day. And they also have to have stuff  tough enough for them to wear out in the pasture. And some stuff that’s only made for wearing in the stall. All in a variety of weights and – plus some that are waterproof – also in various weights. Even without being OCD about the clothing, your average pampered horse in Houston probably needs to have a ‘wardrobe’ of 4 different blankets/sheets, minimum.

Once my husband ventured in there, looked around at the stacks of various colored, neatly folded piles, and asked, “Why do you need all this stuff?” My answer: “It’s like dressing Barbies.” 

And I guess that’s the best answer I can come up with. Even tho I may have 5 turnout sheets, when I see one in a color I like that I don’t have – I  just have to buy it.

After recounting that story to friends, one of them dubbed my tack room “the Barbie Dreamhouse” and the name has stuck.

We don’t have bad weather often, but when we do it’s miserable because we’re not used to it. But  I am always prepared – even if my horses come in with their turnout sheets soaking wet – I know I can hang them to dry and I have spares.;)

And tonight I was very glad that I had more dry coolers to put on Fling as I kept peeling off wet ones!



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