Welcome to Pony World

Ponies. Barns. Tack. Supplies. Visit often for musings on raising a horseback rider. We'll share experiences

and review tack, tools, and tricks of the trade.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Gray Pony Blues

Gray Pony Blues

I’ve always loved grays and palominos. The lovely, light shades of the coats are so pretty and a nice change to all the chestnuts and bays in the ring. Our pony is a gray. I love him. But every time we are show prepping I’d consider cutting off my left pinky toe if he were a chestnut or a bay. Getting gray tails clean is a challenge, and face it. Dark horses are just easier.

I have photographic proof:

Chestnut Pony Before & After:

Gray Pony Before & After

 OK- In full disclosure I admit my humor here is that is the same photo of Alibi's beautiful tail. But to make my point, that tail did not need special bathing or shampoo before the show. In fact, it wasn't washed at all! It looks awesome. Not so much on our gray pony!

Keeping a gray clean for shows is a never-ending and tedious job. In a pinch, the dark horses can be dusted off and paraded beautifully into the show ring and no one is the wiser. Maybe they need their legs hosed off or little white socks bathed. Boom. Done. Girls with pretty brown ponies get to bathe their horses for fun. Girls with gray ponies are doomed to a lifetime of bathing. (I am exaggerating a bit here- I know that brown horses are bathed for shows too! It’s just easier when your starting place is not… white). You know the reason we think carefully before buying and much less wearing white pants or jeans… same concept!

Gray ponies need full-on baths. All. The. Time. Everything shows up on a gray. Every little grass stain screams out “Look at me! I made your pony dirty!” Mud and dirt that can be brushed off a brown horse leave mocking yellow stains on a gray. Those gorgeous flowing white tails are usually yellowed (from all the you-know-what they need to expel from grazing all day…)

Gray Pony Cleaning Strategies:

1)   Purple Shampoo. Those readers of a certain age will know what the term “bluing” means in regard to old ladies with gray hair at beauty parlors. It is still alive and well in Gray Horse Land. There are special shampoos for gray and white horses. These shampoos are bright purple. They have cool names like “White-N-Brite” and  “Quicksilver”. They really do the job to make those pretty ponies glow and shine. But there are side effects for mom and girl: Purple fingernails- for 24-48 hours. We prefer White-N-Brite. For the really stained spots we apply the shampoo directly on the pony rather than diluting in water. The contrast of the bright purple on a white or gray pony is pretty dramatic. http://www.smartpakequine.com/vetrolin-white-n-brite-3506p.aspx . Oh, and don’t leave it on too long, or your pony will become lavender and look like an Easter Pony! Timing is important here, friends.
Our current favorite purple shampoo!
Purple nails last a couple of days!

2)   Fly sheets! This has been my favorite strategy this show season. I know I am slow to the game on this one, but the flysheet is my new best friend. It has earned us an extra hour of sleep on show mornings. That is like gold when a “late” start can be 6 am. With the sheet, we can bathe the afternoon before the show, then wrap that pony up like a present in his fly sheet. HE. STAYS. (mostly) CLEAN. I am in love with our flysheet. Get the neck attachment!! http://www.doversaddlery.com/amigo-mio-fly-sheet/p/X1-24089/?tid=froogle&eid=X1814001&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=PLA&zmam=1460880&zmas=1&zmac=114&zmap=0024089317810X1-24089&gclid=CJ3Liae9_LECFYao4AodpR4AGw

4)   Spot cleaner. “WowWhite”, “MTG Spot Cleaner”, etc. These are no-rinse products that when sprayed on and rubbed with a cloth remove (mostly) the inevitable grass stains on the areas not covered by the amazing flysheet. Cheeks, flanks, knees, hocks, etc. Ponies are heavy suckers, and when they hit the grass to sleep at night, they dig in. Deep. So, having spot cleaner is important. It also helps with the stains that come from the trailer poops on the way to the show.

5) Tail Wraps. We tried braiding. We tried panty hose. This season we bought a "Stretchies" tail wrap and love it. This thing stays on even when turned out all night. 11 year old Pony Girl can manage it all by herself (after a bit of practice). The Stretchie, oddly, did not come with instructions but we figured it out.
This is the Stretchie.

      We've had good luck with pantyhose too, but you just have to play around with it. The general idea is that you separate the tail into three sections, slip each section into the pantyhose or Stretchie, then braid the "slipcovered" tail. Tie it up with itself, or use pony tail elastics for extra hold. Pony Girl also washes that tail twice weekly during show season. This keeps the yellowing at bay. Mostly.

6)   Towels and rags. Simply have lots and lots and lots of them. Never throw away an old towel again. My husband bemoans the fact that my daughter and I have raided his car washing supply. I use “raided” conservatively. We’ve actually stolen his whole dang pile. Oh well. He can go to the car wash!

Look at that clean gray pony!

No comments:

Post a Comment