Preperation for the Ponies Arriving!
Part one Grooming
Well its been a very exciting start to the week here at Horse Services International. On behalf of Hayfield’s Equestrian I have been busy preparing equipment and shopping for the Ponies.
The first thing I needed to assemble was a full grooming kit, so that I can keep the pony’s coats shiny and clean. Over the next couple of weeks they will all get a make over, so they are super smart and don’t get hot and sweaty when they are worked. Its much warmer in China so we can help them to acclimatise by clipping them and keeping them super warm while they are here in Holland. When we get to China we can take away the rugs, so as their bodies don’t notice such a big difference in temperature.
But grooming doesn’t just keep your pony clean it’s really important for lots of reasons. It helps you to form a bond and a relationship with your horse or pony. Its important that they feel comfortable and trust you to pick up their hooves and brush them in places that are sensitive or vulnerable.
Don’t forget that a very long time ago your ponies ancestors were in danger from wild animals so they learnt to protect themselves.
Our job is to reinforce that we can be trusted not to hurt them, that’s why it is so important that you don’t hit your pony. But we also need them to respect us and behave in a way that reduces the risk of an accident or injury. We will talk about how to train your horse or pony another day.
But for now you should also know that grooming is like a massage it stimulates blood flow and improves circulation. It helps to warm the pony up and take away bad toxins that can stay in the muscles when animals and people don’t move enough or have done exercise and perhaps not cooled down or stretched properly afterwards.
So make time to groom your horses and pony’s. In the old days every horse had their own groom and it was part of the job to groom and strap the horses thoroughly before and after work. (strapping is an old-fashioned way to stimulate and therefore build muscle, by repeatedly slapping the horses with a special leather pad. Its soft and isn’t meant to hurt the horse. It is quite a firm technique, a little like sports massage or an electric muscle simulator. It encourages the muscle to work and build it also makes them extremely shiny.) Some people believe that this is why horses managed without physio back then. Because they groomed and strapped so much it prevented the muscle spasms and injuries that are common now.