Every year, it’s the same. The reassuring seasonal patterns of the Big Shed.
In late February, regardless of climate or weather, Duncan dispenses with his outer guard hairs. These are the crisper hairs, the ones that protect best against snow and rain. Horsie Gore-tex.
He sheds ferociously for about ten days, and then that stage is over. And he’s an alpine breed, is Mr. Lipizzan. He’s still got plenty of coat left, if not as much protection from sloppy snow and rain.
We cruise for a while with random light shedding–and then in early April, the undercoat shed starts.
DO NOT APPLY CHAPSTICK BEFORE BARN TIME.
We spend a lot of quality time together in the spring. The hair comes off first at his neck and shoulder and hips, and then along his topline. The belly and legs are last, and it then weirdly comes off the inside of his gaskins in one fell belated swoop.
By the first of May, he’s still working at it–the finest of hairs remaining, and in certain spots, his summer coat gleaming through. But his silhouette has changed. Not slick yet, but no longer a white teddy bear. The strong bones of his face and legs come through; the arch of his neck catches the eye.
So whew. Here we are, almost done. Stout white pony, 90% uploaded into noble war horse.
Almost, I can visit the barn without “Peh! Phoo! Spit!”
All the same, I do love those hours together. Happy, quiet horse, sending out his pleased and pleasing waves of grooming endorphins.
Peh! Phoo! Spit!
Well. I did say ALMOST.
And this, I have found too late: horse, dog, and human hair is perfect for soaking up oil spills. My dogs have done most of their spring shedding and Duncan, likewise. But if you know someone with a grooming shop…
Meanwhile! Another sign of spring here on the land–pink evening primrose. They’re everywhere, like little carpets of luxury in the high desert. I’m watering this one…I’d like to see it next year, too!