Monday, August 17, 2009
It just goes without saying
Anyone care to venture a guess as to what this jar contains? Anyone? Anyone?
If you guessed ginger salve, tail set gel or any of the many things it is commonly called- you got it. You get -20 points on the final. Just kidding. Stop asking yourself if there's going to be a final- there's not.
As someone recently posted on one of the blogs- "Who in the hell ever got the crazy idea to stick a glob of this crap on their finger and shove it up a horses ass in the hopes it would make them hold their tail up?"
While gingering is not allowed in the Arabian horse 'world', and hasn't been for as long as I can remember, it IS still happening. The stuff is still available through World Champion Horse Equipment for about $4 for the jar pictured above. Schneiders used to carry it. They eventually pulled it from their catalog, but it was still available online and now they have dropped it altogether as far as I know. I have not called to ask about it as I see no benefit of or good reason for its use.
In a way I wish they (Schneiders) hadn't 'pulled' it from their line of products. Before everyone hates me for saying that, here's why. If it is available already 'mixed', then it is pre-measured, consistent and you know what and how much ginger, it contains. Horse people, left to their own devices will come up with some other concoction of unknown concentrations and questionable ingredients to achieve the same results. Think about it. It happens a lot and more than most people wish to acknowledge or care to think about.
Now for the most part, gingering a horse is as described above. You get a glob of the goop on your finger and stick it in their anus. Not much glory involved with that, now is there? Over time, some horses seem to build up a tolerance to gingering. That's when it gets worse for the horse.
Toothbrushes come into play and a glop of ginger salve is put onto the handle of the toothbrush which is then inserted into their anus. When that no longer works the ginger salve is then applied to the bristles and inserted using a brushing motion. The bristles irritate the skin and the ginger then creates the slight burning action which gets the horse to lift their tail and carry it that way.
Yes the horses become increasingly reactive to the ginger being applied. They can and do kick when it gets to the toothbrush stage of application. If you are holding them when the ginger is applied, they can also rush forward, possibly knocking you down or pinning you against the front of the grooming stall in an attempt to flee the scene and avoid what's coming. Can you blame them?
Applying too much ginger salve gives you the opposite effect as far as results go. Horses will clamp their tail down and keep it there. The ginger stays put until the horse poops, which will for the most part, push it all out.
While I was grooming for some of the bigger barns, we primarily only gingered the halter horses. That was difficult at best with some of them and nearly impossible with others. We did not often ginger a performance horse and I can't imagine getting on a horse who is mainly concerned with why their ass is burning. You aren't likely to have their full attention or get a good ride, so good luck with that.
Taking the temperature of a horse that has been repeatedly gingered can be a real issue later on, as they begin to view anything going near their anus as painful and to be avoided at all costs.