As many of you know I do offer my services for body clipping horses before shows. Back at the end of the year I clipped a horse for another local trainer and last week I did him again since they will be going to Scottsdale for the Arab show.
While I was working on him last time, as we finished him up and clipped his ears, his adult owner learned about two important rules. One being how you don't stand in front of a horse and two, everyone on the same side. She did not get hurt and quick explanation of why, kept her out of harms way and has hopefully left an impression that will continue on with her through her life with horses. These are simple safety measures everyone can keep in mind.
When dealing with a horse who may be difficult to handle in sticky situations, the rule of 'Everyone on the same side' gives the horse an escape route of sorts. If he blows up, he will try to get away. In trying to get away he has to go somewhere. If everyone is on the left, he will go right, everyone at their head, they will go backwards, if there is a wall or door behind them they will come forwards so be prepared...
We were working on his ears and were both on the left, she was standing on the right. Had he blown up, he would have plowed her down. At another time she moved around to directly in front of him. Again, not a good place to be so I quickly explained why. Nobody wants to be in the way of a horse trying to escape- whatever their 'demons' may be.
This horse is a bit apprehensive about his ears and even under sedation can be a bit touchy and responsive. Not many horses like having their ears clipped and when you consider it tickles, the clippers are often noisy (even the quiet ones) and their hearing is a bit better than ours, it's easy to see why.
This time around he was much, much better about the whole process. He was sedated, the barn doors were closed, the world was quiet and everything went incredibly smoothly. When a horse is behaving like this it all goes so easy, fast and a better job is attained. I am proud of him and proud of his owners and trainer for the progress he has made.
His young owner has also expressed the interest in learning to body clip horses. So what did I do? I offered to teach her how. We can either use her horse or one of ours and I will be glad to show her how to get the tough spots with little to no fuss. Am I putting myself out of a job? In a way, yes! If she ever needs help or has questions, I am there to help her through it.
The way I see it, if she has the interest, why not help her expand on her knowledge. Not all of us were born knowing everything we do about riding and even those of us with talent, still need to sharpen our skills, improve our timing and learn how to recognize the desired responses we ask for.
Besides, when I am no longer clipping horses I will know of at least one person to call, that can do the job and do it right. I will rest assured while she buzzes the hair away, that she knows what she is doing. After all, she will have learned it from me.