From :

Wagon. A cranky contary female / an ugly female. She\'s some wagon eh?

wagon. wagon - an awful woman. than one is such a wagon!

wagon. a woman thats a bitch. dat ones a right wagon.

Wagon. A cantankerous old woman.. Yer wan's some wagon, I asked her could I feed the seagulls and she lifted me out of it!

wagon. car or other mode of transport. i'll drive my waggon.

Wanderly Wagon. A much loved Irish children's TV program which ran from 1968 to 1982

Thursday, 20 October 2011

To Rug or not to Rug

Normal Cereste winters are ideal for horses – very cold at night-time (-8 C and colder) and quite warm in the daytime (low teens and higher).  Add very low amounts of precipitation into the equation, and it’s perfect weather for keeping a hairy cob out of doors with no rug.

What horses don’t like is persistently wet, windy weather – the Irish winter climate, in other words.  They have a built-in ability to fluff up their hairs, trapping a layer of air which helps to further insulate them from the cold, but when they are soaking wet they can't do this.
What horses don't like

I've been determined to keep Flurry unrugged this winter in preparation for the trip to France.  This means I absolutely won't clip him, as he'll need all his hair to keep him warm at night when he gets to Cereste.

Anne, on the other hand, had no intention whatsoever of keeping GiGi unrugged.  GiGi grows a very light winter coat and will undoubtedly need a rug to see her through the cold nights in Cereste, and Anne intends to take it off her during the warmer hours of daytime.

So I've been praying for a dry Autumn, and in fairness it hasn't been too bad down here in the South.  However, I'd forgotten just how much horses love to roll!  And Flurry sure does love to roll - he finds the muckiest spot he can find in the field and plasters every inch of himself in a thick coating of mud.  This means that I’m facing a horse shaped creature with armadillo-like armour made of dried mud every morning.  By the time I finish scraping it off to ride him, I’m exhausted, coughing and caked in dust.
Armadillo Horse
 a closer look at the "armour"

Anne, meanwhile, started rugging GiGi ten days ago, and has been laughing at Denis and I as we spend hours scraping muck off our horses every day.

I cracked a couple of days ago and put Flurry's rug on him.  Life is too short to spend half an hour every single day chipping a horse out from the clay cast he's wrapped around himself.

I still have to clean this bit even when he's rugged!

But I was still determined not to clip him.  

Last week, the weather was very mild and he was sweating a lot when I rode him, but the forecast was for temperatures to drop by 8 to 10 degrees (C) this week, so I figured he'd appreciate his extra hair once the cold air hit.  I started feeding him an electrolyte supplement to make up for the salts he's losing in perspiration, but otherwise there wasn't much I could do about it.

The cold weather duly arrived this week - not quite freezing, but it's the first real taste of winter.

Flurry and I have had a busy week so far.  

Working on canter at home
I had a lesson in Skevanish with visiting trainer Andy FitzPatrick on Monday.  We did some trot work, with transitions and leg-yielding, and a fair bit of work in canter.   I'm close to cracking it.  Andy's advice was to keep asking Flurry to push more with his hind legs "Think Medium canter," he kept saying, and both Flurry and I worked really hard for the 45 minute lesson.

We both sweated up a lot after that one.

On Tuesday, Anne, Denis and I took the horses down to Ballinhassig village and back -  a distance of nearly 9 kilometers, with a steep uphill section on the way back.  We did a lot of walking, but trotted up most of the hilly sections.
It was cold and breezy, but I was nice and toasty with my coat on.  Poor Flurry sweated up a lot again - behind his ears, down his neck and chest, under the saddle, on his flanks and between his hind legs.

On Wednesday, we were back in Skevanish for our regular lesson with Frank.  It was another cold day, 8C according to my jeep's thermometer.  Despite the cold, Flurry once again sweated up hugely, and finished the lesson soaked from his ears to his haunches.

Enough is enough.  I had to put his welfare in our current environment ahead of his welfare in a future environment.  The hair had got to go.

I've not only cracked, I've done a complete 180.

He's now modeling a very stylish bib clip and wearing his rug.

We'll cope with the Cereste climate when we get there.  Chances are, Flurry will have grown all his hair back by then anyway.

Nearly there - just the lower half of his head and behind
his ears to do

All done, and enjoying a day off today!


  1. Its a womans progative...but did anybody ask what Flurry himself wanted!

  2. Decisions. decisions....Flurry seems to have a very thick coat, that and some heat from his clay bake coat to keep rain off for Irish winter = clever boy.

    He does not know of the delights of french winter:)

  3. Flurry's choice would be a nice field with friends and lots of of haylage for the winter... Unfortunately his Mum has PLANS....

  4. ...and so does his Aunt, Gigi is in on the secret too.