Despite the wet weather we have managed to get some riding done and it’s been great to welcome everyone back for term two. Plus it’s been great to see so many new faces joining the volunteer crew. We have managed to fit a few training sessions in when riders have been absent, or weather inclement. So important to keep refreshing our skills.
While this is more of our Horse Manager Kate’s Department than mine, I know a few of our Volunteers and Riders have been wondering why two of our horses have returned from their holidays with unusual haircuts, and as I am the one responsible for these, I thought I would give an explanation.
Horses change coats twice a year. This is not in response to the temperature but is triggered by the change in daylight hours. So the change to their winter woollies starts as soon as the longest day passes.
The length and thickness of a horse’s winter coat varies, some breeds are much hairier than others, and also some medical conditions can have an impact. A horse controls their body temperature by sweating, and evaporation, but when they are hairy, and get hot and sweaty, then cool down, but are still wet, they get cold. It’s a bit like going for a run in your winter jacket and then sitting in a wet coat in the wind.
So… we remove some, or all of the hair, and then replace it with a cover for when they are not working. They don’t get too hot when exercising but are still snug and warm in their pyjamas. So, why the different patterns? Eddie is sporting a version of a “Trace clip”, so named from the olden days when the hair was removed below the line of the “traces” on the carts. This clip leaves the hair over the back but removes it from the chest and belly. That’s enough to allow airflow and stop him from overheating, as his coat doesn’t grow too thick, and he is not doing strenuous exercise.
Judith Finch, Coach