I was talking to a client earlier this week and we were discussing clipping, and the joys of getting the lines even and symmetrical. I spend ages trying to get the lines level, and ensuring that when you look from the front and behind the horse looks symmetrical. Once I feel happy with the lines I have to remind myself not to look too closely as I will over analyse every single curve or angle.
The clip I dread doing is the chaser clip. You can look from one side and it looks brilliant; smooth and flattering to the horse`s conformation. The other side looks just as good. And then you climb aboard. And shock horror! The right side is significantly higher than the left!
It happened once to me after I`d clipped and hogged a riding school horse. The next time I rode him I nearly died in horror when I saw the difference in the curves of each line of his side, accentuated by the hogged mane.
Either I refused to ride him until the clip had grown out, or I insisted on clipping him again sharpish.
Now I try to check any horses I clip by standing above them to check the view from the rider`s perspective.
The client I was talking to about this clipping then went on to say how she could just about pull manes. Another topic that I have several stories about!
The first, which I told her at the time, was when my teenage friend began pulling her pony`s mane yet only got the first couple of inches done before she went on holiday. She left her friend with instructions to continue pulling the mane until it was four inches long – about half it`s initial length. This friend continued from the bottom of the neck up, towards the poll. Unfortunately, by the time she got to the poll the mane was only one and a half inches long! So this friend called in the help of another friend, who did an emergency repair job.
I don`t think the owner of the pony was very impressed when she returned from her holidays to find her pony sporting a Mohican!
The other story that is usually brushed under the mat involves me.
My Mum always used to trim the wispy pieces at the base of my pony`s mane with scissors. Which one day, I decided to do too. However, I always wanted to be a hairdresser and had previous convictions of cutting my brother`s fringe and my own hair, so I got carried away and cut my pony`s mane into a beautifully ruler-straight line.
With great panic, I and my little friend called one of the older girls on the yard and begged her for help. With great skill, she managed to soften the edge, but it still didn`t look like it had been pulled properly.
A week or so later I was leading my pony in from the field and my instructor said to me “Partner`s mane looks very straight.”
“I used a solo comb.” I parroted, the line fed to me by my saviour mane-tidying-upper friend!