This being my first article for Page Brook Farms, I figured I would write about the constant reoccerence of my grooming the foals. This is one of the most mundane and yet important things one must do in order to get a foal to slowly mold into a sport horse any rider would want to work with; seeing as ground manners make for both an easy and safe horse.
The work is slow; it is boring; there is no excitement; and it is boring. As much as I may find myself thinking about the million other things is the world I could be doing, it is tromped by two feelings:
1). I can hardly believe how far you’ve come in your manners
2). You are just too cute.
When working on the ground with a foal, you are building the base for, what you hope will become, a high quality sport horse. This does not escape you in this work. The foals I, and my partner-in-crime, Katie Dolan, work with are very smart and this allows for a form of instant gratification. We put slow and mundane hours into getting the foals to realize all is well and being held still in the middle of a concrete aisle is where they will constantly be finding themselves as they grow older. The foals come out bug-eyed and snorting at first, but quickly realize we mean no harm and, quite frankly, curry combs are like a massage, and hoof picks keep their feet from aching.
Lynx was not a particular fan of being taken out to be groomed. When we first began work, picking out her back feet was quite the mission, and were it not for my father, Terry Schrubb, for working Lynx into the routine of picking up her feet and standing still to be brushed, I would not be able to have worked with Lynx to the point of being able to blanket her.
Leila, on the other hand, loved the attention; right from the get-go. She had a baby doll face, and you couldn’t keep from playing with her. My father, again, helped Leila into the routine, and made it increasingly easy for me to take the foals and teach them new things. The blanket was not an issue for baby Leila, affectionately called “Munchkin”; “Munch” for short. She simply stayed still and realized it was to be her job to stand like a champ.
My personal favorite part is when they start to get it right. When they stand in the aisle and keep still as we blanket and unblanket; picked up hoof after hoof after hoof… they look like a little girl wearing Mommy’s high heels. They begin to childishly assume their job as a polite little horse and it is the most darling sight.
“Chest out, head high, ears forward… this is my job, as a little horse, and I intend to do it right.”