Autumn brings change.
As Mother Nature releases her latest Fall collection (the same every year, but who’s complaining), my horse dons a retro look all his own … a big, fuzzy, seasonably fashionable, Fall coat.
Bear is, for better or worse, amongst the most ardent followers of Fall’s irreverently fluffy look.
Unlike his sleeker chic summer style, Bear’s cool-season wear is more provincial — thick, fuzzy, like … well … a bear! I run my hand through his hirsute coat rather than over it, my fingers buried in plush. He is suiting up for Winter.
The Fall season’s colour trend for this horse-about-country is a rich, dark bay … a mahogany melange of reds and browns and blacks — my favourite range in the equine colour palette. Naturally three white socks, white-starred forehead and the white snip on his muzzle distinguish him from others sporting the same outfit. Everyone needs their own personal statement.
A thicker, more luxurious coat of necessity requires a more intense grooming regimen. Designed to insulate and provide a certain amount of water-resistance the Fall coat is, indeed, prone to attracting all manner of dirt or, heaven forbid, mud when Bear is engaged in one of his more pleasurable outdoor pastimes — rolling in the dirt patch (bottom left of first image) in Poet’s Paddock.
In fact, no amount of elbow grease can release completely the layers of, dare I say, filth, which gather beneath the surface yet is plainly clear to the eye. A never ending cycle of currying and brushing and currying and brushing isn’t enough to remove all the detritus that lurks there.
Once unleashed from its hairy prison, dirt and dust fills the air around Bear like a menacing cloud. It settles on my clothes; gets up my nose; coats my face; invades my lungs. Sometimes the grit of it even gets inside my mouth (which, I suppose if looked at in a more positive light, does provide a bonus between-dental-appointments tooth polishing. 😉 )
Thus, in spite of my best efforts, there is always, hovering at the surface of his fluffy new Fall coat, a layer of dirt that makes it look as if I’ve put no effort into grooming him at all. I don’t know, perhaps it’s part of the equine Fall “look,” and I just don’t get it.
There are many things about fashion in general I just don’t understand.
And then imagine, if you will, Bear’s appearance after his workouts, his fuzzy coat randomly caked in sweat. Remove his saddle pad and voila! … as profound a case of a bad hair day as you’re ever likely to see — all sticky and matted and gross.
Fall’s fashion statement leaves something to be desired — it simply is not functional as active wear!
You see, before I can brush him out he must dry off. On cold days this requires the use of a “cooler” — a light fleece or wool blanket that wicks off moisture so he doesn’t catch a chill. With his coat as generous as it is now, this can take a long time. And while he, as the indulged might, enjoys the extra preening I do need to consider my other responsibilities. Not every day can be a spa day.
So, how to manage this Fall fashion faux pas?
In about a month (maybe sooner because he is really fuzzy) Bear will sport more urban chic Winter finery. His fluffy look will be clipped away completely so that all of which I’ve shared here is nothing but a passing unpleasant Fall non-fancy.
No more unpleasant, lingering sweatiness for him. No more dirt up my nose. No more floating surface dust cloud that renders him looking ill-used. Just a lovely ready-to-wear, high-season, shiny coat of seal grey/brown (also rather beautiful) — easy to clean and accented and protected by myriad high-quality warm blankies and accessories provided, at some cost, by yours truly.
He’ll model a carefully selected assortment of outerwear designed for equine comfort indoors and out. A stylish waterproof, wind-resistant rain sheet (unfortunately not horse play-proof but you can’t have everything); blue and green plaid day sheets to wear in the barn (pictured below); grey/blue/black plaid cozy “jammies” with a burgundy fleece lining for when the nights are colder; a green turnout shell for those days outside when it’s reasonably mild, and a heavier blue/black/cream checked outdoor blanket for those really cold days (to be worn over his day sheets for extra warmth). His undergarment a blanket buddy of pulverised parachute silk (I least I think that’s the fabric) to protect his broad shoulders from blanket rubs.
Not to mention his two stylish coolers for keeping the chill off immediately following a training session — a blue/green fleece for warmer days and a heavier black/burgundy number with gold trim for the deep winter months. (You might have noticed some colour coordination in my descriptions. I am a firm believer in this. More in another post.)
Bear will be toasty warm and clean. He can roll all he likes in the mud and the blankets will take the brunt of it. No more bad hair days for him. No more dust and dirt storming off his coat and clogging facial orifices for me.
His Fall/Winter wardrobe will be both functional and fashionable — no doubt what every mom wants for her child, even when it is the four-legged (fuzzy) kind.
Nurture what you love …
Copyright Aimwell CreativeWorks 2012