|Roxy cleans up so well.|
If I rode Roxy without grooming her, she could easily develop nasty sores where her saddle and bridle rub against her. Horses, despite their size and power, are fairly delicate creatures in some respects.
At Touchstone Farm, riding students groom horses before and after every ride. As a beginner, I was little stunned to realize that I had to go over Dusty’s coat – head to tail, legs and feet too – THREE times with THREE different brushes.
Then there’s the other crucial task of grooming: picking the horse’s hooves to remove packed dirt, manure, and stones. I wince just thinking about how painful it would be for Roxy to have a stone digging into her hoof while she carried me.
(A little horse trivia here, courtesy of Denise Hopkins, Equine Manager at the farm: wild horses don’t have much trouble with impacted material in their hooves. Unshod, the bottoms of their feet are relatively flat. They don’t have the pronounced frog that can trap debris.)
|Not as easy as you might think|
At some stables, you don’t groom or even tack up your lesson horse. Since riders aren’t born knowing how to do these things correctly – and more important, safely – this seems like a mistake to me. Learning to groom also helps a beginner like me get comfortable in such close contact with horses. And it helps my horse get comfortable with ME.
I’ve come to love grooming Roxy. I think of riding as something Roxy does for me. Grooming is one modest way I can repay her for that.
|Relaxing after another job well done.|
(Please note Roxy's gleaming coat.)
“Thank you,” I say. “You’re the best.”
“I know,” I imagine Roxy replying. “Got any treats?”
See you around the farm.
Rider and Volunteer at Touchstone Farm