Grey horses must be magical as they somehow always weasel their way into your heart, even when you are insistent that you want an easy-to-keep-clean bay horse. From my study of grey horse owners it seems to be that once you go grey you never go back, and so in order to survive a lifetime of grey horses it becomes necessary to learn the tricks of the trade early on.
Longstanding grey owners know all the best shampoos (human and horse), leg whiteners and chalks, plus all the weird things like putting ketchup on a stained tail (whoever tried that out the first time was braver than me!). They have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the different types of lycra hoods and they somehow always manage to turn their horses out absolutely spotless. My personal experience is that no matter what I do Archie is always yellow somewhere come the following morning and even the covered bits managed to get stained. It probably doesn’t help that he is incredibly lazy and will find the one and only spot of wet straw in his stable to sleep in. No matter how many layers and wraps you put on, when you’ve got a 5am start and you need to get on the road pronto you can guarantee the stains will be gigantic.
The summer show season is replaced in the winter by endless battle against the mud. This winter I gave up trying to groom the copious amounts off on a daily basis, and after two weeks of eating dinner at 10pm having got back from the yard so late I decided we needed a turnout hood. The Snuggy Hoods Boxing Day sale was an fantastic excuse to purchase probably be best bit of kit I have ever bought! He still manages to get mud underneath it, but now it takes 5 minutes to remove rather than 50.
My best tactics for keeping Archie vaguely clean involve; combing through and conditioning his tail daily and then plaiting up, a turnout hood in the field and show hood in the stable the night before an event, and a new trick of wearing waterproof turnout rugs in the stable to stop the wee getting through! Most importantly and often the hardest thing to do is not stress about it on a normal day and instead save that for the days that really matter. Despite the awkward and time consuming colour, they really are a gorgeous bunch. Let me know any of your top tips, they are always gratefully received!
As it says on the tin, this is a personal blog about the journey Archie and I are taking in discovering the world of eventing. Archie is a 6 year old Irish gelding, and I am a 26 year old horse addict. I didn’t grow up in a family with horses, and Archie was the first horse I ever owned, having loaned for over 20 years. I hope that we can show other riders who perhaps don’t feel that they can achieve their dreams, that anything is possible!
Re-published by kind permission of Journey of an Amateur Eventer|Blog