June 10, 2010

Complete ear clipping success!

Yesterday I finished taking my exam. I was exhausted and my brain was pretty much numb.  As soon as it was over I couldn't wait to get back home to go see Rose. It was a rainy (typical) Wednesday and I had an hour drive ahead of me, so I turned on the radio and settled into my drive. By the time I pulled in the barn it was completely quiet, Wednesday being the barn's day off. Tracie's sweet yellow lab greeted me as I opened my car door. I gave her a scratch and sauntered toward Rose's stall. After a few blinks and a bit of recognition she called out to say hello and gave me a snuggle. She can be such a sweetie sometimes and it just warms my heart. It was definitely the greeting I needed after two lonely days in a hotel room and such an exhausting exam.

I took Rose out of her stall and decided to let her stretch her legs in the indoor arena. After hand walking a bit we began working on trotting our triangle pattern for the Oldenburg inspection in August. She did very well. Ever since she's been under saddle she's begun focusing much more on the task at hand and respecting the human "bubble" much more. As a reward I took her for some hand grazing until the rain picked up again.

Since Rose was being calm and quiet I decided to work with her on clipping her ears some more. Given our mild success last time, and body clipping success this past winter, I was hopeful that perhaps we could go the "full Monty" this time. I grabbed a stool from the tack room, put some tunes on the loud speakers, and put her in the cross ties. Starting with the clippers vibrating on her forehead, I moved them up and clipped her bridle path. She put her head down and held perfectly still. "Awesome" I thought, and then moved onto her right ear. I rubbed it up and down with the handle of the clippers vibrating along her ear. No reaction. I quickly turned the clipper and ran it along the outside edges of the ear. She held mostly still and didn't pull her trademark giraffe maneuver. What a good girl! I moved my stool to her left side and gave that ear a go. Again she stood still, and we ended up with two nicely trimmed ears!

I am so pleased that at long last Rose will let me trim her ears. It has been a dream and a goal since November. Although I've had to resort to it many times in the past, I hate having to twitch a horse to do their ears. It is so rewarding to know that with just a few months of patient persistence she is now letting me clip them without any help, drugs or devices. On a side note, you can see in the photo that her ears are trimmed but not gutted. I don't like to trim the hair on the interior of the ears unless it is absolutely necessary for a show, but I do like to clean up the outside of ears on a regular basis. The fact that I can now easily do this is just such a great feeling!


  1. I know this post is really old, but I have to comment. I was SO happy and relieved that I was able to get my horse to let me clip his ears without a twitch. I got him as a 16.2 hand three year old, and the owner very honestly told me that she had never once clipped his ears, because he didn't like having his ears handled. It took a few months of daily ear handling, and teaching him to drop his head with a verbal "down" but we were finally able to clip his ears, and never had to resort to a twitch. I hate having to use one too.

  2. Hi Chelsea. It's never to late to comment! It's great to know that there other horse owners out there believe in doing things the long, patient, and rewarding way. Rose is about to get all trimmed and beautified on Saturday for our show on Sunday. Every time I trim her ears I think about this post and how rewarding that first time was. Congrats on your accomplishment with your boy...I definitely know how it feels!



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