Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fun With Clippers

I am not a professional horse groomer, nor do I play one on TV. And yet I decided to body shave Wally all on my own.

Just to keep the record straight, I can braid a hunter's mane and tail with the best of 'em. Truly. I can whip a wayward mane into 30 or 40 braids in less than an hour. I can even weave in a lucky charm, mid-mane, if desired. But I've never made any claims to being a body shaving genius. If you look closely at Wally's new haircut, you'd see why.

I could've just hired Casey, the local professional horse groomer. She's really not expensive. In fact, I've told her numerous times that she charges too little for her services. But I figured what the heck. My arm is doing better since the last surgery, and my sister has a pair of heavy-duty clippers that lie dormant year after year, so why not do it myself?

Well, after I paid $50 to have the clippers cleaned, the gears greased, and the blades sharpened, I was more than halfway to paying out what it would've cost me to hire Casey. Then I had to purchase clipper oil and a jug of blade wash to rinse the hair from the blades at regular intervals. Ka-ching! There went another dozen dollars.


I made sure I did the correct preparation. Wally got a sudsy bath and once he dried I saturated him with Show Sheen, so that the blades would glide through the hair. (Or so I'm told).

Then I began clipping. Immediately I discovered that Wally had his own "Don't Go There, Sister, with Those Big Clippers" zone. If I got within 10 inches of his head he'd begin to lurch back against the hitching post, threatening to bolt. Alrighty then. I grabbed the battery-operated smaller clippers, switched them to a comparable blade size (or so I thought) and clipped the Forbidden Zone. Unfortunately when I finished the entire Wally Project I could discern a definite line of demarcation between the two sets of clippers. Thanks to my clipper expertise, or lack thereof, I had a patchwork Paint gelding.

Double sigh.

At that point I comforted myself by saying, "Hey, look, he's not a show horse. He's a trail horse. Half the time when I'm riding I only encounter other riders at a distance. Who'll notice? And, in a week or two, it'll all even out. It is hair. It does grow."

That's when I stood back and realized that I had yet to clip Wally's ears and the area surrounding his poll. He looked like he was wearing a hair hat. But there wasn't any way that Wally was going to allow me to advance any set of clippers in that direction. So I did what any woman would do: I summoned my husband.

"Honey," I said plaintively, "will you come out here and just hold Wally while I clip his ears?"

You have to appreciate how I winsomely beckoned Ron. The poor guy was totally clueless as to what "holding Wally while I clip his ears" meant.

A few minutes later, Ron was holding the stud chain at arm's length while I stood on a stool attempting to clip a moving target. Most of the time I was successful, which meant that tufts of orange hair rained down on my husband. Add to that the fact that every time Wally tried to dance away I'd call out over the motor, "Honey, tug on the chain more. More! No, more!"

Several times Ron spat out horse hair and declared flatly, "This is fun."

Did I ever promise him "fun" when we moved here and brought a horse into our backyard? Perhaps he misunderstood me. At any rate, Wally is now body shaved, for better or worse. Just don't look at him too closely.
Have a body shaving story or any other comment? Just click on "comments" below or email me at:


Anonymous said...

don't worry, i'm sure no one will notice! today is the first day of snow here in MN! i was so bumbed, i was going to ride but the weather put a kabosh to that :(

Cindy Hale said...

Snow? It's still in the 80's here! But I have my parka ready... just in case.

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