The Reality of Grey Pony Show Preparation

Worth the cleaning effort in the end!
Worth the cleaning effort in the end!

Bay / Chestnut / Dun Pony

Evening Before the show:
– clean tack
Morning of the show:

– pick out feet
– Groom
– Put on travel gear
Grey Pony

The evening before the show:
• Arrive at yard pleasantly surprised that pony is not quite as dirty as you expected. Pony turns around. Sadly realise that in fact all of the dirt is on the other side and is a mix of brown/green/yellow – basically every colour except white

• Gather washing kit together which has more hair products in it than an x factor judge’s dressing room.

• Fill and boil kettle. Stand waiting and wonder how it can take so long to boil water.

• Tie pony up beside hose.
• Present bucket of feed to stop pony driving you insane by pawing the ground.

• Add boiling water, cold water and washing up liquid and hibiscrub to bucket. Put on rubber gloves

• Scrub mixture into pony’s legs and elbows with sponge and rubber curry comb. Ignore wide eyed ‘oh my god your washing me in this weather you evil human’ looks while growling that its warm water and trying to avoid the attack of the swishing tail.

Not even a grey leg in sight!
Not even a grey leg in sight!

• Take off rubber gloves which you have now spilled a load of water and suds down and resign yourself to having wet cold hands.
• Attempt to hold pony by lead rope while scrubbing legs at the same time to avoid pony river dancing on the spot.
• Watch pony delightedly kick over bucket of warm water and decide feck it cold water it is

• Use hose to remove lather and dirt of first wash attempt.
• Stick finger over the end of hose to create power hose effect and remove filthy looking suds and water from pony’s coat
• Realise that ‘power hose effect’ has in fact led to far more water on you than on the pony
• Retrieve bottle of really expensive horse shampoo for the bits that are still yellowy looking.
• Ponder the sanity of spending 15 euro on a bottle of horse shampoo when you wash your own hair in whatever is on 3 for 2 in Boots. Contemplate washing your own hair while you are at it, sure its soaked anyway.

pony washing distraction techniques
pony washing distraction techniques

• Lather rinse repeat
• Dunk tail into bucket of suddy water. Scrub vigorously
• Realise that the middle of the tail is still dry and dirty. Curse Connemara ponies and tails that are 8 inches thick.
• Dunk, scrub, rinse

• Apply conditioner to wire wool tail and rinse.
• Narrowly avoid being hit by soaking wet tail.

• Helicopter spin to dry tail, again ending up with more water on you than on the pony.

• Apply chalk powder to damp legs.

• Inevitably rub hands off your trousers or jacket and end up smeared in white patches

• Attempt to wash chalk off hands ending up with a white chalky mess that gets on the cuffs of your jacket and top and will not wash off

• Discover that white legs, belly and tail only highlight yellowy mane.

• Dampen mane, apply chalk powder and hope for the best

• Look at pony’s face only to see that water + coloured head collar = running dye and a multi coloured head

• Fetch stable bandages and padding.

• Apply padding to leg, hold in place with one hand and begin to bandage with the other.

• Scream as pony finds opportune moment to suddenly lift leg up leading to you dropping the end of the bandage

• Watch in dismay as dry clean bandage unrolls across dirty wet yard.

• Roll up and begin again.

• Realise what time of the evening it is and consider driving to the nearest chemist and picking up several boxes of ‘glossy brunette’ hair dye to turn pony bay

• Apply rugs and neck cover.

• Tie up and bandage tail

• Ensure no more than a few inches of pony skin are devoid of bandages rugs or neck cover.

• Remove head collar and clean face with sponge while pony makes tortured faces at you.

• Muck out stable and put pony to bed looking like a demented super hero.

• Bribe to stay clean with treats

• Leave the yard looking like you were dragged through a wet hedge backwards and rolled in chalk
The morning of the show

• Leave house an hour early hoping to god the pony hasn’t pooped and then somehow rolled in it

• Check that the pony is actually still clean

• Begin emergency procedures on any dirty bits – damp sponge, stain remover, baby wipes and chalk powder

• Frantically wipe over tack as you were too tired and cold to do the night before.

• Realise tack has now got white marks thanks to chalky hands

• Scrub hands and rub tack again telling yourself the pony is so clean no one will notice the tack is less than perfect

• Bandage the back bar of the horse box to stop pony rubbing tail and bum off it

• Apply tail bandage and tail guard and hope to arrive clean!

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