Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Buzzy Buzz

I have very specific standards for horsekeeping. Of paramount importance, in my opinion, is bodyclipping through the winter months if you're going to keep a horse in any amount of work. Note I emphasized that last little point because obviously horses grow winter coats for a reason - protection from the elements - but horses in their natural state and horses in domestication and performance are almost two different animals. What it comes down to, basically, is a critical physiological function: the ability to regulate body temperature. Horses, like humans, sweat as a primary means of maintaining their temps. Unlike humans, however, they're also highly susceptible to anhidrosis, or a reduction/complete shutdown of the cooling system. Anhidrosis exists in varying degrees but, as someone who has had a horse shut down and thereby catapulted me into the world of anhidrosis management, I do everything I can to make it easy for the surface of their skin to evaporate sweat easily. And what that comes down to is clipping. After all, we don't go for a jog in a full-length mink jacket, do we? (Mariah Carey not included.)

With that said, this season has been a slight comedy of errors where my clippers are concerned. Since I clip for hire (and will travel, just fyi!), I have 4 different pairs of body clippers. My clippers of choice are my Double K's, pictured here. The motor is in the case, and the gear cable drives the blades which greatly reduces friction or vibration from clipper to horse's skin. They take both Andis and Oster snap on blades, and run very quiet. The final bonus is that, unlike my big Osters or even my big Andis, the independent motor excludes the heavy fan which blows hair all over the place, meaning I can listen to my iPod if I'm alone and leave the barn relatively devoid of horse hair in my teeth and eyes. Last weekend the hinge on the Double K's broke while clipping Jane's horse Tenby (pictured), both of my big Oster clippers are jacked and need doctoring, and my big Andis are 4 hours away. I had to finish Tenby's body from about where Jane's leg is in this picture all the way up to his poll (by his ears for the non-horsey folks who are still reading this ... please wipe drool and blink to avoid red eyes) with my A5 clippers. This is akin to mowing your lawn with a pair of scissors.

Needless to say, part for Double K was ordered first thing yesterday morning, and as soon as my hands get around the rest of my clippers they're all going to the hospital for servicing, and my blades are going into an inventory system. Adding to my list of "Life is Too Short For ..." is "limited options whilst clipping," and thusly I am committed to regaining my vast expanse of high-performing tools. It's part of the course if we're going to have high performance horses, right?

p.s. Carol Ann, if you're reading this, holler if you want me to come buzz the ponies!

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