Hair down to there

My haflinger’s tail draws sighs of admiration wherever she goes. How do you keep it so clean? How did you get it so long? So thick? Do you braid it to get those waves? It’s so silky and luxurious and gorgeous. Sigh.

Ellie's tail, with just a little Gleam on it. Hasn't been washed in a couple of weeks, either.

Ellie’s tail, with just a little Gleam on it. Hasn’t been washed in a couple of weeks, either.

As you can see from the picture, it is just like the tail Barbie’s horse would have.

Every girl, young and old, wants to play with it.

Ellie has good Haflinger genes and grows hair at an amazing rate. This is a good thing, because sometimes she rubs her tail and I only have to wait a few weeks and it looks great again. The bad thing is that her mane grows just as fast, necessitating continual pulling if I want to keep it at braiding length.  How we suffer for our art.

When you have this much hair to maintain, there are a couple of products that are de rigueur:

1) the right shampoo. For white hair, I recommend Quiksilver shampoo (widely available, for example:®-quic-silver-whitening-shampoo/p/X1-22105/). There are other good products, but this does a nice job of cleaning without over drying, and it whitens and brightens, too. Now I sound like a Tide commercial (“little Ellie’s tail got all splashed with arena mud, but Quiksilver whitened it right up!”) I can also use it to clean my black horse’s tail, so I don’t have to keep two kinds of shampoo. Yep, Quiksilver is not just for white horses.

2) the right detangler. There are many out there and I’ve tried a number of them, and in my experience, NONE works as well as GLEAM. Put about a dime size amount on your palm, rub palms together, and comb through forelock and tail. Maybe a little more if the hair is really tangled. That’s it. Your hands will not be slippery, they will simply smell lovely (rather like Laura Ashley stores used to smell – remember that perfume they had? It smells just like that and takes me right back to London in the 70’s and 80’s). The hair will easily brush through and will continue to brush out easily for about a week. It will have a nice shine and your horse will smell delicious and look fabulous. Available at my local tackstore, online at some retailers, and here at the website:

3) Finally, remember to use your fingers to detangle, and only go to the brush after you’ve added the Gleam and things are pretty well detangled. We do not want to pull a lot of hair out with that brush! Hold the tail and brush gently below where you are holding it, so that hair is not pulled out. Preserve the tail! And the forelock. Voila: Hair down to there.

Alfredo Hernadez Piaffe Clinic 3: And now we Passage! Baby Steps

After the Piaffe, Alfredo asked, “do you want to try Passage?” What the heck, why not? So he gets the long, light weight bamboo pole and has me line up by the rail. We stop, and Alfredo stands by Finn’s shoulder. He looks me straight in the eye and says,

“Do not let the horse pass my shoulder. Now: what did I just say?”

“Uh…do not let the horse pass your shoulder. O.k., I won’t let him pass your shoulder.”

“O.k.! Now make him to trot! Slowly, but with energy! Trot! But don’t pass my shoulder!”

Believe me, this is not so easy. Maintain a very collected trot, keep the energy, don’t let him walk, don’t let him get above the bit, and DON’T pass Alfredo! Meanwhile, he puts the pole in front of the horse and the horse taps it with his front legs. Very strange, but I think Finn actually found it to be a bit of a game, and almost immediately, we get some big bouncy steps of passage. A few steps, and it was, “Very good! Free walk and rest.” A little walk break, and we did it again.

And that was our introduction to Passage. A little passage, a little free walk, and do it again. Good times! I look forward to building up more strength in Finn and more ability to collect, and then coming back in a few months and trying it again and seeing how much better we are.

Video here – camera work a bit shaky, but you get the idea.