Friday, April 8, 2016

*** Curry Some Favor ***

" The sunshine's golden gleam is thrown
On sorrel,chestnut, bay and roan;
The horses prance and paw and neigh,
Fillies and colts like kittens play,
And dance and toss their rippled manes
Shining and soft as silken skeins. "

- Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., " How The Old Horse Won The Bet"

 One of life's greatest joys is the act of grooming a horse. I don't care who you are, or who you think you are, the simple and honest act of currying a horse will soothe your very soul. 

Every little girl alive wants to curry a pony. Hasbro cashed in on that in a big way with My Pretty Ponies. Why didn't I think of THAT! My two girls had all of the My Pretty Pony dolls, even though they had REAL ponies to brush! 

The expression " Curry Favor " sounds like it would directly link to the act of grooming your horse. And though this post is actually about grooming your horse, I thought you might be interested in the origins of the phrase. 

~If not~ skip ahead~ 

The word ~CURRY ~ is a derivative of the French word "Conraier" which means " put into order ". To curry a horse, means to put his coat in order.

Seems to be keeping with the theme...

The last part~ FAVOR~ comes from a different French word and a 1310 poem by a French Royal Clerk named Gervais du Bus.
'Roman de Fauvel' or 'Romance of Fauvel' was a morality play about a vain and greedy Stallion named Fauvel who corrupts Government and Church Officials. The word FAUVEL in English means 'veiled lie' or it could mean a Chestnut horse. So it was a play on words as well! 
In the poem the rich and powerful people humble themselves by bowing down and stroking Fauvel~
Currying Fauvel. 
Over the years the word has been changed to Favor.


You may begin to read about grooming once more. 

 Currying your horse is a very important part of horse management. 

Obviously brushing the dirt and grime from your horses coat before you slap on a saddle is important. A horse with a 'burr under the saddle' isn't going to be a happy camper. 

Sweat and dirt combined can  cause galling at the cinch. Dirt and rain along with nasty bacteria can cause rainrot.

 A rock in a tender frog will spoil a ride in a hurry, and don't get me started on scratches,mud fever or mud balls on fetlocks.  

 The act of going over every inch of your equine partner may seems tedious, but it helps you to memorize your horse. 

Is that swelling new? 
Was that cut there yesterday? 
Is that pigeon fever or a tick bite?
 Is his coat normally this greasy? 
Why does THIS smell so bad?

As I groom, I constantly add to my data base of knowledge; not only about this horse, but horses in general. 

Currying and grooming also have a long lasting effect on the partnership everyone wants to develop with their horse. 
Think about how good it feels when you let someone else brush your hair or rub your neck and back. Don't you just feel like telling ALL your secrets to your hairdresser?  The act of grooming is universally an act of trust and, ultimately, understanding. We are connecting in a way that is caring. 

I like a few certain tools when I groom, even though there is a plethora ( Do I get extra points for using the word plethora in a sentence?) of tools to choose from. 

BTW~ I am getting no outside contributions for recommending these few items~ I just like em!

My go-to groomer is the 'Jelly Scrubber'. It is a soft pliable piece of rubber with soft knobs on one side and bigger knobs on the other. It whisks the dead hair and grit from the horses coat, and with a simple flex of my fingers, the mat of hair falls to the ground to be swept up at a later time. 
They wrap around your hand and can reach those delicate places such as under the elbows, under the belly near the ticklish sheath area, between the back cheeks, and around the back of the pasterns. 

I also like the hard black rubber curry. They are usually as ugly as hell and everyone seems to have several in their tack boxes. They come in two sizes. 

I have found these colorful ones and can't wait to buy a few! I like these to loosen dried-on sweat marks, or remove crusty stall-yuck that my precious darling likes to roll in. I find them great for pulling the old dead hair off in the spring too. 

Speaking of which- these blocks are the best at removing shedding hair! I will go through one a day! Good thing they are cheap. I seldom use them any other time though, just because they are a little rough on the show coat of my horse. 

I do NOT use this kind of curry comb- EVER. Too rough!

I stay away from the shed-blade for the same reason. A lot of people use them- but for ME and PRECIOUS it is a non starter. The sharp steel on the coat of a show pony is ((shudder)) harsh.

Of course a sturdy well made hoof pick is a must have item. Keep your fold away, fancy horse headed picks or picks made of anything except IRON. My farrier made mine and I treasure it! 

Hard brushes. Buy them. Use them. Love them.

Soft brushes. Buy the best ones you can afford. The hair ones impart a very nice shine on the coat! 

What are you waiting for?

Mommy in Spurs and Bar Hoppin Bob.

Go curry favor with your horse!