By Nancy Addie
Every now and then I get this lightbulb that shines bright in my dim thinking. You know, things that don’t make any sense to a normal person. For example, “Let’s give the outdoor farm animals a bath!” After all, Laci, Sparky and Dunkay seemed a bit dirty because every time I petted them, a cloud of thick dust would float up into the air like an exploding nuclear bomb. Thus, on one slow, boring day this past summer, I came to the conclusion that I was tired of having dirty animals. I decided they would feel much better if they got an old-fashioned scrub down. I bought my horse shampoo, brushes and towels, and picked a nice warm day so they wouldn’t catch a cold and cost extra money in vet bills.
I tricked the three of them to the fence with the promise of tasty goat grain and quickly tied them up in a row. I was ready! I started with Laci since she moves and stands like her nick name … Tank. I hosed her down with ice-cold well water, which made her perk up, doing a slight trot dance as the other two sidestepped away as far as they could from the splashing water. I thought to myself, ‘Heck this isn’t so bad, I should do this once a week.’
I rubbed, washed, scrubbed, rinsed and sweet talked Laci until she sparkled. I set her free, and she stood there, not moving. Great, I traumatized the horse. I gave her a push, she still didn’t move. I shrugged my shoulders and yelled, “NEXT!” The other two now understood what ‘next’ means and tried to wiggle themselves out of their harness. I baby talked Dunkay, letting him know that baths are “Fun and good for you … see how happy Laci is?” Of course, Laci continued to stand there comatose.
Dunkay wasn’t buying it, neither was Sparky. At that point, I started to get a bit agitated, so I firmly let him know that ‘I rule, he drools’ as I sprayed him with the ice-cold water. He kicked up his back legs and let out an extremely loud HEEHAW! He settled down after the soap and soaking subdued him. I washed that donkey as fast as I could. Dunkay had enough of me and soap and ran to the back pasture. Two down, one to go.
Laci was still standing there, and by that time I started to wonder if she was in shock. I decided to revive her by turning to Sparky with sudsy bottle and hose in hand. We then made eye contact. She glared at me so I told her the same story I told Dunkay about having fun by getting clean! She squinted at me more and turned her butt toward me as if to let me know that one more step I better expect hoof marks on my legs. I refused to let a mini-horse intimidate me so I stepped toward her. Yep, she kicked at me and, fortunately for her, she missed. I did the ‘let’s try to get close to the horse’ dance for about 5 minutes when I gave up and sprayed her down from a distance to get some of the dirt off. Finally, I was able to set her free, and she galloped to Dunkay who responded by rolling over on his back in a mound of dirt.
And then there was Laci as she was still standing next to me with a blank stare. I took my hand and waved it front of her eyes, she didn’t blink or even look at me. I gathered my stuff, walked out the gate and threw all my horse shampoo, brushes and hopes for clean animals into the trash can. The executive farm lady decision was made – there would be no more baths for the remaining life span of all the outdoor animals on this farm. That was my one and only attempt this past summer to bathe large animals. I thought about doing the llamas for a split second, but decided that the horses were way too much fun, why spoil it?
Working with Mules
You’ll want to find a place on the homestead for a hardy and efficient mule.
Should You Teach Your Horse How to Drive?
Teach your horse to drive with these tips. There are several benefits to teaching your horse to pull a cart, it is also a great way to have fun!
Talking Horses? Reading Horse Facial Expressions
Build a better understanding of what your horse is saying. Insights into horse facial expressions give clues as to what your equine friend is telling you.