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JAGold
May. 1, 2002, 08:15 AM
A spin-off from the Wet Rolex thread: favorite grooming tricks and tips for 3-day events. Actually, one of my favorite things about grooming at the big events is learning cool things from other grooms. But here are some of my thoughts:

Know the rules!! Know what medicines/topical medicines you can and cannot use. Get used to Corona ointment, because you can't use furazone. Make sure your poultice is not medicated, because that is not allowed. Uptite is safe, as are some other brands.

Make sure to turn in the horse's passport and rider's armband to the office. Then remember to collect the armband before XC and the passport before leaving the show.

At 3-days, horses must have a number on at all times when out of the stall. Most events will provide two numbers. Keep one separate for use in the show-ring only. Use the other for leading and hacking the horse. Also, while horses have to have a number, it does not have to be the the white cardboard the show provides. Take a piece of duct tape, write the horse's number in permenant marker, and tape it around the halter. That way, you can't forget the number when leading.

Turnout tricks: learn to make quartermarks. The "real" way involves a one-inch section of a small fine-toothed comb (think the 6-inch long black men's combs sold at drugstores). You can also use a stencil (a checkerboard pattern is most common, but you can make stencils with things like the Canadian Mapleleaf by cutting the design out of stiff cardboard). Get the horse's butt very clean. Hold the stencil in place, use a very clean brush dipped in water to brush the hair UP. Then spray with hairspray or Quik-Braid. Another way to do quartermarks is to make sharkstooth marks, freehand, with a damp brush.

I'm going to skip braiding because it's the same as at a horse trials. But recognize that you will do a lot of it -- for the first jog, again for dressage, and for the final jog/stadium. So resist the temptation to trim any flyaway hairs from the mane after the first braid job, because it will make the others much harder. Also, undo the mane as soon as possible and wet it down to straighten it, because braiding a curly mane is no fun. At three-days, almost all horses will have pulled (or clipped) and banged tails. Use a tail-wrap to get everything smoothed down. (Ace bandages make great tail wraps.) Don't forget to take the tailwrap off before the horse goes!

Use hoof-oil, at least for the jog. If it is dusty, put it on, then rub with a towel. (Yes, you will pretty much ruin the towel. Get used to it, you will ruin a lot of towels!) That way, not as much dust will stick. Or apply the oil at the last minute. You can also use Tuff Stuff instead of hoof oil; it dries and doesn't attract dust.

Use baby oil around the horse's eyes and nose. Makes them pretty. Clean out the insides of the ears with baby oil the night before, then just wipe them out before the jog. Make sure to wipe off or wash off baby oil if it's really sunny or your horse has white markings, because it can cause blistering.

Be as organized as possible. The ammount of equiptment at a 3-day is unbelievable. Pack in the order things will be used, group schooling gear, dressage gear, XC stuff, and stadium stuff. Have an extra, light-weight plastic trunk that you can use in the 10-min box. Clean everything (tack) as soon as it is used and put it away. Old pillow-cases (with small hanging-holes cut in the top seam) make great cheap bridle covers. With your rider, work out a schedule -- find out when she wants to mount, and work backwards. Wear a watch! One with a stopwatch will be especially useful in the box.

If you absolutely have to use new gear, like new boots, at a 3-day, make sure in advance that they fit and don't cause rubs, ect. If you are using Porter boots, know how to put them on, and make sure they are cut so that the horse can bend his legs to jump! If the horse is prone to boot rubs, use nylons under the boots.

For XC day: again, be prepared and know the rules. Pack your gear for the 10-min box the night before. Have a separate set of stuff for the C-hold assistance area, or a very good plan for getting things from the C-hold to the box. Find out from the rider when she wants hay removed from the horse's stall. Feed grain very early! Before you need to tack up the horse on XC day, go to the 10-min box and C-hold to set up your gear. Pay attention to where the horses will be coming in, where they will jog for the vets, and where the finish is. My favorite place to set up is right on the boarder between the 10-min box and the D-box (the finish area). That way, not as much has to be carried from one place to another.

I'll get to what to bring to the box in just a minute. One the rider goes out on A, be prepared to meet her in the assistance area after steeplechase. This is usually just about a 30 meter zone where grooms can tell the riders whether they have lost a shoe, fix any essential tack, and offer the rider a drink. In that area, carry with you a spare set of reins (WITH rein stops, if your horse wears a running martingale), a spare girth, a bottle of water for the rider, a towel (to dry off reins if necessary, or whatever else might come up), and the spare shoes. This will be really quick, many riders don't even stop but just trot through so that a groom can confirm all shoes are there. If a shoe is missing and the ground is good, the rider may opt to walk the beginning of C and have the shoe reset in the hold. Let the farriers know ASAP so that they are ready!

Next is the C-hold. Depending on the temperature, this can be 5 or 10 minutes. It's part-way through phase C, and no matter when riders arive, they must stay in the mandatory hold for the designated time. There is no jog there, but a vet will be available to take TPR if you want. I always request at least a temp, so that I know what kind of shape the horse will be in and how much I'll need to do in the box. In the C-hold, have an irish knit, a wool cooler, a halter/lead WITH NUMBER (as soon as the rider dismounts, her pinny is no longer on the horse), 4-6 buckets with sponges for washing the horse, a bucket of clean drinking water for the horse, a small sponge or syringe for wetting the mouth if the horse won't drink, spare bridle in case any parts have broken, spare girth, spare stirrup leather and stirrup, chair and jacket and drink for rider. Lay the buckets out so that they form a lane. You'll need at least two people in this area. Before the rider arives, let the vet know you'd like a temp. When the rider arives, she will probably trot up so that you can confirm the horse is sound. As soon as she comes into the hold, she will dismount. One person should put a halter over the horse's bridle. The other should run up stirrups and loosen the girth (but not so much that the saddle slips!). Depending on the weather, get a cooler on the horse, at least over it's hindquarters. Begin walking the horse as soon as the vet gets a thermometer in. Walk through the bucket lane, and have helpers sponge from either side, then immediately scrape the horse dry. Depending on the weather, get the neck, chest, insides of hind legs. Do not dump ice water on the large-muscle groups! If it is really warm, you may want to put ice or rubbing alcohol in some of the buckets to facilitate cooling. Time keepers will be assigned to each horse. I like to be told at the half-way point, and again when I have 3 minutes left. Depending on how fast you are, re-set the saddle at 3 or 2 minutes remaining. Tighten the girth, get the stirrups back down, dry off the reins. At about 1:30 or 1 remaining, leg the rider up. Head off to the 10-min box! If you had any problems, such as a particularly hot horse or a shoe that needs to be reset, inform the farriers immediately so that they can meet you in the 10-min box.

In the 10-min box, you will need the same water (and possibly ice/alcohol) set-up. Meet the horse, halter, loosen girth and run-up stirrups. Cool as before. You should have replaced any broken tack in the C-hold (and there isn't likely to be any new damage, since the horse has just been trotting.) The vets will immediately do a TPR. Timers will follow you. Pay attention to them! The most important thing is to keep the horse walking to prevent him from getting stiff. Someone (the head groom, the person who knows the horse best) should be designated to stay at his head, walking and holding. Someone should offer the horse some water (3-5 swallows only, cool but not icy water). If he will not drink, use a wet sponge or large syringe to at least moisten the mouth. At about 5 minutes remaining, re-set the tack and prepare to jog the horse for the vet. Jog with the halter over the bridle. You will jog away from and back towards the vet. Make sure the horse is paying attention and goes FORWARD. Keep the lead loose, stay at the horse's shoulder. After the vet gives the ok, do any last minute cooling, check tack, and give the rider a leg up at about 3-min remaining. After the rider is on, someone should put rubber gloves on and apply Burghley cream ("grease") to the fronts of the horse's legs. Go all the way up to the chest in front, and cover the stifles behind. Be liberal! Make sure to keep the reins clean, and wipe them off since they are dry. The rider may want to canter around before heading into the start box.

Gear for 10-min box: 4-6 buckets, 4 large body sponges, at least 2 sweat scrapers. Irish knit, wool cooler. Halter, lead. Small drink bucket, small clean sponge or oral syringe. Spare shoes (same ones as in C-hold -- did I mention to have the same studs as the horse is wearing already in the spare shoes?), stud kit (in case of changes in footing), spare bridle and girth from C-hold. Spare whip, saddle tite if rider likes it, several dry towels. Chair, drink, and jacket for rider. Rubber gloves and Burghley cream (some of the alternatives are much harder to get off, I really do like the original Burghley cream in the white tub with the red cover.) Vet wrap, duct tape, electrical tape. You can solve all emergencies with those three.

While the rider starts, move coolers, water, halter over to the finish area. In the finish, immediately take the saddle off. Put an Irish knit over the horse if it is cool. Use the same walking through the lane of buckets drill to cool the horse off. Use a separate sponge and dish detergent to get the grease off of the legs. Use water first on the neck, chest, and insides of hind legs. Don't soak the butt with icy water, and don't get the large muscle groups til the horse has cooled somewhat. Take the bidle off and put a halter with a number on, and keep the horse walking. Vets will monitor and tell you when you can leave the finish (or D-box). One person should take the horse home, the other should pack up gear.

Back at the barn, the work is just beginning. Give the horse a chance to go to the bathroom and drink (by this point, as much as he wants) in his stall. Then, wash him off and start icing legs. I ice at least twice and usually three or more times, for 20 minutes at a time. I prefer whirlpool boots or ice-water filled muck tubs to the iceboots with pockets, but if you do use the pocket boots, fill them and then soak them with water (on the insides). Let the rider (and vet, if necessary) look over the horse before you poultice. I poultice all around, and I do feet too if the horse is at all foot-sore. But I often save feet for that evening, because...the horse has to be walked MANY times after XC. That's really the most important thing, to keep him from getting stiff. If you use a magnetic blanket, you should have used about an hour before XC, and use again an hour or more after. Keep the horse warm but not hot (Jimmy Wofford says they should be a bit steamy...). Some riders run fluids before XC, some do fluids after. Re-hydrating really helps with muscle soreness.

Sunday morning, get up early and hand-walk the horse for around an hour to loosen him up. Wash or curry off the poultice before walking (since it's probably dry already). Some riders hack horses lightly to loosen them before the last jog. Braid, walk again. After the jog, it's all downhill. Tack for stadium, cross fingers for a clear round, pack up to go home, wrap the horse, and you are home free.

I'm running out of steam, but this is a start. What does everyone else like to do? What are your tricks for keeping the tack room looking like the huricane was at least a week ago? --Jess

JAGold
May. 1, 2002, 08:15 AM
A spin-off from the Wet Rolex thread: favorite grooming tricks and tips for 3-day events. Actually, one of my favorite things about grooming at the big events is learning cool things from other grooms. But here are some of my thoughts:

Know the rules!! Know what medicines/topical medicines you can and cannot use. Get used to Corona ointment, because you can't use furazone. Make sure your poultice is not medicated, because that is not allowed. Uptite is safe, as are some other brands.

Make sure to turn in the horse's passport and rider's armband to the office. Then remember to collect the armband before XC and the passport before leaving the show.

At 3-days, horses must have a number on at all times when out of the stall. Most events will provide two numbers. Keep one separate for use in the show-ring only. Use the other for leading and hacking the horse. Also, while horses have to have a number, it does not have to be the the white cardboard the show provides. Take a piece of duct tape, write the horse's number in permenant marker, and tape it around the halter. That way, you can't forget the number when leading.

Turnout tricks: learn to make quartermarks. The "real" way involves a one-inch section of a small fine-toothed comb (think the 6-inch long black men's combs sold at drugstores). You can also use a stencil (a checkerboard pattern is most common, but you can make stencils with things like the Canadian Mapleleaf by cutting the design out of stiff cardboard). Get the horse's butt very clean. Hold the stencil in place, use a very clean brush dipped in water to brush the hair UP. Then spray with hairspray or Quik-Braid. Another way to do quartermarks is to make sharkstooth marks, freehand, with a damp brush.

I'm going to skip braiding because it's the same as at a horse trials. But recognize that you will do a lot of it -- for the first jog, again for dressage, and for the final jog/stadium. So resist the temptation to trim any flyaway hairs from the mane after the first braid job, because it will make the others much harder. Also, undo the mane as soon as possible and wet it down to straighten it, because braiding a curly mane is no fun. At three-days, almost all horses will have pulled (or clipped) and banged tails. Use a tail-wrap to get everything smoothed down. (Ace bandages make great tail wraps.) Don't forget to take the tailwrap off before the horse goes!

Use hoof-oil, at least for the jog. If it is dusty, put it on, then rub with a towel. (Yes, you will pretty much ruin the towel. Get used to it, you will ruin a lot of towels!) That way, not as much dust will stick. Or apply the oil at the last minute. You can also use Tuff Stuff instead of hoof oil; it dries and doesn't attract dust.

Use baby oil around the horse's eyes and nose. Makes them pretty. Clean out the insides of the ears with baby oil the night before, then just wipe them out before the jog. Make sure to wipe off or wash off baby oil if it's really sunny or your horse has white markings, because it can cause blistering.

Be as organized as possible. The ammount of equiptment at a 3-day is unbelievable. Pack in the order things will be used, group schooling gear, dressage gear, XC stuff, and stadium stuff. Have an extra, light-weight plastic trunk that you can use in the 10-min box. Clean everything (tack) as soon as it is used and put it away. Old pillow-cases (with small hanging-holes cut in the top seam) make great cheap bridle covers. With your rider, work out a schedule -- find out when she wants to mount, and work backwards. Wear a watch! One with a stopwatch will be especially useful in the box.

If you absolutely have to use new gear, like new boots, at a 3-day, make sure in advance that they fit and don't cause rubs, ect. If you are using Porter boots, know how to put them on, and make sure they are cut so that the horse can bend his legs to jump! If the horse is prone to boot rubs, use nylons under the boots.

For XC day: again, be prepared and know the rules. Pack your gear for the 10-min box the night before. Have a separate set of stuff for the C-hold assistance area, or a very good plan for getting things from the C-hold to the box. Find out from the rider when she wants hay removed from the horse's stall. Feed grain very early! Before you need to tack up the horse on XC day, go to the 10-min box and C-hold to set up your gear. Pay attention to where the horses will be coming in, where they will jog for the vets, and where the finish is. My favorite place to set up is right on the boarder between the 10-min box and the D-box (the finish area). That way, not as much has to be carried from one place to another.

I'll get to what to bring to the box in just a minute. One the rider goes out on A, be prepared to meet her in the assistance area after steeplechase. This is usually just about a 30 meter zone where grooms can tell the riders whether they have lost a shoe, fix any essential tack, and offer the rider a drink. In that area, carry with you a spare set of reins (WITH rein stops, if your horse wears a running martingale), a spare girth, a bottle of water for the rider, a towel (to dry off reins if necessary, or whatever else might come up), and the spare shoes. This will be really quick, many riders don't even stop but just trot through so that a groom can confirm all shoes are there. If a shoe is missing and the ground is good, the rider may opt to walk the beginning of C and have the shoe reset in the hold. Let the farriers know ASAP so that they are ready!

Next is the C-hold. Depending on the temperature, this can be 5 or 10 minutes. It's part-way through phase C, and no matter when riders arive, they must stay in the mandatory hold for the designated time. There is no jog there, but a vet will be available to take TPR if you want. I always request at least a temp, so that I know what kind of shape the horse will be in and how much I'll need to do in the box. In the C-hold, have an irish knit, a wool cooler, a halter/lead WITH NUMBER (as soon as the rider dismounts, her pinny is no longer on the horse), 4-6 buckets with sponges for washing the horse, a bucket of clean drinking water for the horse, a small sponge or syringe for wetting the mouth if the horse won't drink, spare bridle in case any parts have broken, spare girth, spare stirrup leather and stirrup, chair and jacket and drink for rider. Lay the buckets out so that they form a lane. You'll need at least two people in this area. Before the rider arives, let the vet know you'd like a temp. When the rider arives, she will probably trot up so that you can confirm the horse is sound. As soon as she comes into the hold, she will dismount. One person should put a halter over the horse's bridle. The other should run up stirrups and loosen the girth (but not so much that the saddle slips!). Depending on the weather, get a cooler on the horse, at least over it's hindquarters. Begin walking the horse as soon as the vet gets a thermometer in. Walk through the bucket lane, and have helpers sponge from either side, then immediately scrape the horse dry. Depending on the weather, get the neck, chest, insides of hind legs. Do not dump ice water on the large-muscle groups! If it is really warm, you may want to put ice or rubbing alcohol in some of the buckets to facilitate cooling. Time keepers will be assigned to each horse. I like to be told at the half-way point, and again when I have 3 minutes left. Depending on how fast you are, re-set the saddle at 3 or 2 minutes remaining. Tighten the girth, get the stirrups back down, dry off the reins. At about 1:30 or 1 remaining, leg the rider up. Head off to the 10-min box! If you had any problems, such as a particularly hot horse or a shoe that needs to be reset, inform the farriers immediately so that they can meet you in the 10-min box.

In the 10-min box, you will need the same water (and possibly ice/alcohol) set-up. Meet the horse, halter, loosen girth and run-up stirrups. Cool as before. You should have replaced any broken tack in the C-hold (and there isn't likely to be any new damage, since the horse has just been trotting.) The vets will immediately do a TPR. Timers will follow you. Pay attention to them! The most important thing is to keep the horse walking to prevent him from getting stiff. Someone (the head groom, the person who knows the horse best) should be designated to stay at his head, walking and holding. Someone should offer the horse some water (3-5 swallows only, cool but not icy water). If he will not drink, use a wet sponge or large syringe to at least moisten the mouth. At about 5 minutes remaining, re-set the tack and prepare to jog the horse for the vet. Jog with the halter over the bridle. You will jog away from and back towards the vet. Make sure the horse is paying attention and goes FORWARD. Keep the lead loose, stay at the horse's shoulder. After the vet gives the ok, do any last minute cooling, check tack, and give the rider a leg up at about 3-min remaining. After the rider is on, someone should put rubber gloves on and apply Burghley cream ("grease") to the fronts of the horse's legs. Go all the way up to the chest in front, and cover the stifles behind. Be liberal! Make sure to keep the reins clean, and wipe them off since they are dry. The rider may want to canter around before heading into the start box.

Gear for 10-min box: 4-6 buckets, 4 large body sponges, at least 2 sweat scrapers. Irish knit, wool cooler. Halter, lead. Small drink bucket, small clean sponge or oral syringe. Spare shoes (same ones as in C-hold -- did I mention to have the same studs as the horse is wearing already in the spare shoes?), stud kit (in case of changes in footing), spare bridle and girth from C-hold. Spare whip, saddle tite if rider likes it, several dry towels. Chair, drink, and jacket for rider. Rubber gloves and Burghley cream (some of the alternatives are much harder to get off, I really do like the original Burghley cream in the white tub with the red cover.) Vet wrap, duct tape, electrical tape. You can solve all emergencies with those three.

While the rider starts, move coolers, water, halter over to the finish area. In the finish, immediately take the saddle off. Put an Irish knit over the horse if it is cool. Use the same walking through the lane of buckets drill to cool the horse off. Use a separate sponge and dish detergent to get the grease off of the legs. Use water first on the neck, chest, and insides of hind legs. Don't soak the butt with icy water, and don't get the large muscle groups til the horse has cooled somewhat. Take the bidle off and put a halter with a number on, and keep the horse walking. Vets will monitor and tell you when you can leave the finish (or D-box). One person should take the horse home, the other should pack up gear.

Back at the barn, the work is just beginning. Give the horse a chance to go to the bathroom and drink (by this point, as much as he wants) in his stall. Then, wash him off and start icing legs. I ice at least twice and usually three or more times, for 20 minutes at a time. I prefer whirlpool boots or ice-water filled muck tubs to the iceboots with pockets, but if you do use the pocket boots, fill them and then soak them with water (on the insides). Let the rider (and vet, if necessary) look over the horse before you poultice. I poultice all around, and I do feet too if the horse is at all foot-sore. But I often save feet for that evening, because...the horse has to be walked MANY times after XC. That's really the most important thing, to keep him from getting stiff. If you use a magnetic blanket, you should have used about an hour before XC, and use again an hour or more after. Keep the horse warm but not hot (Jimmy Wofford says they should be a bit steamy...). Some riders run fluids before XC, some do fluids after. Re-hydrating really helps with muscle soreness.

Sunday morning, get up early and hand-walk the horse for around an hour to loosen him up. Wash or curry off the poultice before walking (since it's probably dry already). Some riders hack horses lightly to loosen them before the last jog. Braid, walk again. After the jog, it's all downhill. Tack for stadium, cross fingers for a clear round, pack up to go home, wrap the horse, and you are home free.

I'm running out of steam, but this is a start. What does everyone else like to do? What are your tricks for keeping the tack room looking like the huricane was at least a week ago? --Jess

GotSpots
May. 1, 2002, 08:50 AM
Great post Jess!

I think one thing is absolutely critical: You are there to help your rider and his/her horse(s). As much as you want to watch other folks compete, your team has to come first, because your rider will be relying on you.

Other things that I've thrown into my kit which make a difference: 3x5 cards, indelible markers, and tape (to tape times onto rider's arm). Extra batteries for x-c watch (sometimes even an extra stopwatch). A duplicate copy of all of the horse's paperwork, including his record of flu vacinations if required, and all relevant phone numbers. About four pairs of bell boots. The rulebook. More towels than you ever can imagine going through, plus two. Extra hoofpicks to replace the one you'll leave in the 10 minute box.

-GotSpots

Lisamarie8
May. 1, 2002, 09:09 AM
That was great! Seems to me in comparison grooming for an "A" show would look like a walk in the park /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_cool.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif

let the games begin

-- Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.

Janeway
May. 1, 2002, 09:41 AM
That was brilliant. You have answered many of the questions I always wondered about.

If you have the time to write a little bit more /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif I'd like to know how you go about poulticing and what you use on both their legs and in the hooves.

I have never heard of using the magnetic blanket before the horse goes. That is interesting. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Pixie Dust
May. 1, 2002, 09:44 AM
I groomed once for a 3 day and I found it very helpful to have a meeting where we mapped everything out so everyone knew exactly where everyone is to be and when....also, I think it is helpful to everyone, but especially the rider if you can stay calm and cool. It helps (IMO) to have a "head groom" who can call the shots. You don't want people bickering or have any negative energy wafting about.

Superheroes of the universe, unite!

http://hometown.aol.com/bgoosewood/index.html

JAGold
May. 1, 2002, 09:56 AM
Jane, I'm always happy to write about horses instead of welfare reform /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

I don't poultice until about two to three hours after cross country, and after I've done several rounds of icing. I dry all four legs carefully with a towel and check for any nicks. Getting poultice in even very small scratches will make them blow up, so I cover those with vasaline or Corona ointment.

Then, I tie the horse's tail up, so it doesn't get in the poultice! I lay out everything I'll need: four quilts, four wraps, Scott heavy duty papertowels (the thick, blue ones) or brown paper bags cut to form wraps, soaked in water, poultice, and rubber gloves.

I apply poultice to all four legs first. Some people only poultice the tendons and not the fronts of the cannon bones; I do both. It can't hurt. I apply the poultice from right below the knee to the top of the fetlock, making sure to get the whole ankle, and to always apply downward, with the hair. I spread it pretty thick, about a quarter of an inch. Then, take the gloves off, and wrap the leg first with the wet towel or brown paper bag (you can also use newspaper, folded). This helps to keep the poultice wet, and only wet poultice draws out inflamation. Apply this layer just like a regular wrap. The put the quilt and bandage over as usual.

If I am going to poultice feel, I do them first, before the legs. I use either regular poultice (I like Uptite) or a "slurry" of epsom salts and betadine (about 1 cup of epsom salts and enough bedadine to get it mushy per foot). Again, prepare first. I rip 7-10 8 inch pieces of duct tape, and get out a roll of vet wrap and a diaper. Pick out the foot, hold it up, and either cover the whole sole with poultice, or mix the epsom salts and bedadine in the diaper, then fasten the diaper tightly over the bottom of the foot. I use the side closures on either side of the foot. Then, wrap around the foot/diaper with the vetwrap. I use a sort of a figure-8, making sure to cover the whole foot including the toe but not to go above the cornet band. I usually go ahead and use the whole roll of vetwrap, though you can do it with less. Then, still not putting the foot down, I place strips of tape. I start with one strip running down the center of the bottom of the foot, from heel to toe, and then place other strips on each side, making sure to overlap sufficiently. I finish with one strip at the toe, perpendicular to the others and covering the ends, and one strip similarly placed at the heel.

(Of course, there are many variations on the poulticing theme. This is just the way I go about it.)

As for the magnetic blankets, I use the medium setting for a half-hour before the horse goes (I put it on an hour before the rider wants to mount, to allow for grooming and tacking up afterwards), and the low setting after the ride. If it's cool, I put a cooler or blanket over the magnetic blanket. --Jess

DizzyMagic
May. 1, 2002, 01:19 PM
Wow, JAGold, what a thorough description of grooming at a three-day!!! I�ve groomed at several 1, 2, and 3 stars, but I�ve never groomed at Rolex. This trip to Rolex was both my first trip to KHP and my first time at a three-day not as a groom. Since I actually had time to spectate, I thought I would watch lots of xc rounds, but I found myself at the ten-minute box instead, watching how the grooming teams set up their areas and cooled the horses. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

A couple of things to add about xc day:

1) We use Crisco instead of Burghley cream. We put it on with a glove, from the top of the leg (not the chest) down over the boots to the coronet band. And then we take a towel (one of the many towels that will be ruined on the weekend!) and wipe our hands thoroughly before touching anything else. If you use Crisco, a bottle of Dawn in the kit is essential to get the grease out of the horse�s legs after xc.
2) We make especially sure to dry the horse�s side where the rider�s leg will be, the rider�s boot and sole, and of course, the reins, though I�m not sure what good any of that does in the rain!
3) We make sure to check the horse�s shoes and studs asap after he gets into the vet box in order to maximize the time you have to fix anything if it�s wrong.
4) We always assign one person on the groom team to time the horse in the box with a stopwatch. My rider usually tries to get into the box a couple of minutes early and always wants to know how long she�s been in the box. Also, sometimes the timer can be wrong or get distracted and it is the rider�s responsibility to be at the start box on time. Apparently it is the groom�s responsibility too!
5) A halter and an irish knit and/or rainsheet when appropriate go to every stopping point in case there is a problem and the horse has to be walked home from there.
6) This is interesting to me, my rider has never had us put water in the horse�s mouth, she says it can be annoying to them and doesn�t cool them that much. Also, we allow the horse to drink as much non-iced water as it wants whenever it wants. And, we sponge with ice-water everywhere, especially if it is very hot and/or humid out. The horses I�ve worked with have always cooled very well and not had muscle problems, so I wonder if this is just preference among individual horse people??
7) One thing I�ve noticed is that if the weather is very hot, we do a lot more ice-water and a lot less walking. When the weather is cooler, the horse still comes into the box hot and we do the ice-water, but just interspersed with more walking. If it�s very cold, there will be not much sponging and lots of walking under an irish knit.

Oh, and my number one three-day grooming tip: You can never pack too many towels for the barn or too many socks for yourself!!

Emily

The best way to predict the future is to create it!

JAGold
May. 1, 2002, 01:35 PM
Everyone, great additions -- especially the hoofpick.

Re: how much, and how cold, water to use. Emily, you may be right about it being individual; I think it depends more on the horses than on the riders. Also, I'll use ice water on legs even on a day when I think it's too cold for their bodies. As for weting their mouths, that again depends upon the horse. If the horse is really bothered, then I just skip it, but as a rider, I do notice the difference in the feel of the horse's mouth in when it is moist and when it is dry. We have several horses who won't drink at all in the box, so we get about 180 ccs into them using the syringe (yes, most of it just drips out, but at least they are moistened!) Also, I make sure to do a ton of scraping, because it is the evaporation that really cools the horse. But depending on the weather, I'll often be putting ice water on one end (the front -- neck and chest) and a wool cooler or quarter sheet on the back end!

Assessing any potential repairs/problems is definately the first priority! With the C-hold, any problems should really be identified before the horse shows up in the 10-min box (further problems are unlikely between the hold and the box, since the horse is only trotting). That way, the rider can either deal with them at that point and make up time on the second half of C, or plan to arive in the box early and have extra time to deal with the problem there (and have the farrier or any other needed personel there waiting).

As for timing, I do start a watch when the rider comes in, but I've found the timers to be pretty reliable. I ask them to tell me at 8, 6, 4, and 2 minutes remaining. Whomever pointed out the need for one person to be in charge, yes!! We always designate one person to "run the box" and keep an eye on time and what needs to be finished. That person is usually the one who leads and jogs the horse and stays relatively dry and grease-free and able to give the rider a leg up.

Another thing that I sometimes do for XC, depending on rider preference, is braid in the bridle. It's not as exciting as it sounds, just brush the front of the mane forward and braid that and the forelock together over the browband, so that if the rider falls, she is not able to pull the bridle off of the horse.

As for the spare socks, Emily, we could definately work together, we think alike! I packed (and wore) a dozen pairs of socks at Rolex /infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif --Jess

DizzyMagic
May. 1, 2002, 02:07 PM
Good point about the scraping! We scrape obsessively too, I just forgot to mention it.

It makes sense that wetting the mouth would be refreshing to the horse, and it seems like it would make them softer in the mouth on course. I wonder why we've never done that.

It's amazing how many things become "unnecessary" when the horse won't tolerate them! I was grooming for a too-fit mare one year at Radnor and almost everything I had learned as "essential" went by the wayside. We got ONE temp on her the entire day and that was in the c hold. By the time she got to the vet box, she refused to stand for pulse and respiration check, and she wouldn't hear of a thermometer coming anywhere near her back end. The vets said, well if she were in distress she wouldn't be bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and standing on her hind legs.

We didn't even loosen her girth in the ten-minute box, which is something I always thought was very important!!

It was a warm day and I really wanted to get more water on her than she let me. She would only stand for a couple of seconds before demanding to walk on. If we tried to make her stand, she reared. High. I managed to do some sponging and scraping while in motion, but not nearly as much as I wanted.

Horse was not even tired in the finish box and we put the halter on over her bridle rather than risk losing her in that moment of switching from bridle to halter. She let us get the tack off of her with difficulty and we got a bit of sponging and scraping in. She refused the attentions of the vet altogether and was so rowdy that they told us to go back to the barn to cool her, and left the temping to us!!!

And, this is a sweet-tempered, well-trained, wonderful mare. She was just WAY too fit and wound up like an eight-day clock! Once we got her back to the stall, she reverted to her well-behaved self, and let us do anything we wanted to her. She did look slightly smug about the whole thing though.

Ok, that was a random story, maybe we need a "what kind of weird three-day experiences have you had" thread.

Emily

The best way to predict the future is to create it!

jreventer
May. 1, 2002, 02:23 PM
Well, I have only groomed at a couple of one stars but some things I noticed that were different then the horse trials:

Make sure the people in the vet box know the horse. The horses, especially at their first three day will act different than at regular horse trials. Our friend's mare will kick in the vet box if you aren't careful with the ice water so only two people are allowed near her.
The rider will also be different! Some people will be more tense and will say things they harshly even though they aren't that way.

Before you haul your horse to the three day, jog it on asphalt-sounds wierd but we hauled my sister's horse to kentucky to find out he had bruised. Had we jogged him prior he likely would have been sore on the pavement. It was a fun trip watching everyone else but something to be learned.

"There are times when you can trust a horse, time when you can't, and times when you have to."

www.boo.riana.com (http://www.boo.riana.com)

subk
May. 1, 2002, 06:39 PM
Quick additions:
* I like to take a dry erase marker board to hang in the tack room. We put our individual schedules so everyones on the same page as well as run a tally of water consumption.

* Take an old bridle number and bend it backward and write your number on the flip side. This way we can save the nice new ones for the jogs and actual competing.

* Take some vaseline to the Vet Box for the vet to dip the themometer in before they put it in a possibly dehydrated rectum. We kicked the vet at our first one star (of course this was the second dry insertion)

* Personnally I find Burghley cream MUCH surperior to Crisco. It's water soluable so it washes off without detergent as well as interfers less with sweating.

Question Jess-- I've started seeing people use a elastic tube (like an ace bandage but one piece) on their horses legs. Saw them both at Rolex and North Ga. this year for the first time. In two situations they used them to stuff ice down and hold it there and in one they were on a horse that was cooling out at the end of D but with no ice. I didn't know if this was to prevent swelling or something? You ever used them? How do they work as ice boots? Would be a great cheap boot if it works!

EventerAJ
May. 1, 2002, 08:10 PM
OK, where was this wonderful info before I groomed at Radnor last year?! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif Great review!

I might add that 3-day grooms need to be FIT! I'm a pretty fit person anyways, gym class in school helps in addition to my regular riding/horse care. Of course everyone concentrates on getting the HORSE (and nowadays even RIDER) fit for three-days... don't forget the groom!
/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif
Week One:
-carry two full water buckets 100 ft three times daily.
-practice tail wraps. over and over and over...
-braiding and wrapping. you can never be too good! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif
-start running, push ups and pull ups (upper body strength necessary to hold hot, fit, excited animals!)
-muck out stalls...refine your wheelbarrow skills

Week Two:
-increase water-carrying distance to 200 ft (hoses aren't always convenient /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif
-increase running distance; add small weights (ie, buckets of grain or miscellanious equipment)
-develop necessary finger muscles for scrubbing and polishing tack (brass!)
-Take cold showers, get used to being wet /infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif
-Stay up late, learn to love caffeine

Week Three:
-Keep slugging water buckets. By now you will have mastered the technique of contorting your arms to keep your feet dry /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif
-You should be comfortable carrying, pushing, and/or pulling heavy, unbalanced masses of equipment, feed, and waste material
-Run short distances carrying sacks of grain piggy-back
-Set your alarm to go off no later than 4 am; earlier if you're a "morning person" /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif
-Decrease your daily rations; you will *not* get three square meals a day, get used to it! /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Get to the event. Work your @$$ off, enjoy every minute of it! (well, almost!) /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif Have fun! Make new friends! Monday...CRASH! (lol)

DizzyMagic
May. 1, 2002, 08:40 PM
EventerAJ, I am rolling!

The best way to predict the future is to create it!

Robby Johnson
May. 2, 2002, 04:06 AM
I have only groomed at a 2* and a 1*, but I will echo the Burghley Cream over Crisco route any day! Much easier when you get back to the barn.

We do up the legs for XC in Porters and VetRap, with the stocking-net tubes underneath (subk, this is the stuff they use before applying a cast, but may be different than what you're talking about). This, to me, is the best option for a three-day, because you throw away the VetRap and stocking-net afterward, and scrubbing a Porter isn't too hard!

The other thing, too, is that while you need to be prepared, it's usually unlikely that your rider is going to come into the box with a broken saddle tree, requiring a new saddle. That was my big fear before I ever groomed, that we'd have all of this drama. You need to be prepared for it, but 2 times out of 2, my horses have come back in with the shoes and tack I sent them out with.

I do one button braid in the mane on XC day, with an extra long thread, that I then sew under the crownpiece of the bridle. I would never braid the mane to the forelock because, if you did rip the bridle off, I'm quite sure that would pull out chunks of forelock and I think that would be painful to the pony.

As a groom, you need to practice jogging the horse as you'll likely be the one who does that in the vet box at D.

For a three-day, in any weather conditions (with the exception of hot-as-hell), I love a bucket heater. You can bathe the gray pony's legs daily and he will appreciate the warm water, and I prefer warm water for cleaning tack too.

If no one mentioned this, as I'm just remembering it, when you go to the vet box(es), your extra shoes should already have your studs screwed in. This means you need to take a stud box too, of course, in the event your rider comes off of steeplechase missing a shoe, and then says, "we need to change studs" based on conditions, or something. My favorite new tool is that stud wrench that fits any size stud. Buy one. You will love it! A word on studs, too. Always do the studs on the inside of the foot first. You'll have a free-er radius for turning your wrench, eliminating (somewhat) Bloody Knuckle Syndrome, so common amongst grooms.

Robby

[This message was edited by Robby Johnson on May. 02, 2002 at 09:05 AM.]

Hilary
May. 2, 2002, 07:07 AM
Thank you all for posting this! I hope to do a * star one day and I would love to ride at Radnor (which means I'll have to raise my goals to a **)

I have only groomed for a 3-day once, and it was years ago when they had the minimum weight requirement. I was an accessory groom, rather than the head honcho, and the one job that has burned itself into my memory was carrying my (tiny) rider's tack to the weigh station, which seemed to be across the county (it was Radnor, and it probably wasn't that far away). I thought I would never make it due to the weight pad filled with lead bars. She had to carry probably 40lbs of lead and it was just awful.

She later worked with Carol Kozlowski to prove that lead weight was far more taxing to the horse than a big heavy person and got the requirement lifted.

Grooming seems to be a bit more high-tech now with the magnets and lasers etc, but the basics are still the same - water in many forms, and lots of elbow grease and attention to detail.

So do you need 12 buckets? 6 for the C-hold and 6 more for the vet box? I guess it's easier than carrying them - how do you keep all your stuff out of the way of the other teams?

LAZ
May. 2, 2002, 07:30 AM
Another helpful thing in the vet box is water scoops made from 1 gallon jugs (milk/water/whatever--just be sure to clean them thoroughly). Cut the bottoms off to make scoops, leave the tops on, you can scoop water from the buckets up in them & walk along beside the horse sponging. Cuts down on the bending over and splashing and you can get more water on/off the horse.

Robby Johnson
May. 2, 2002, 07:41 AM
I will try those milk jug scoops! Great idea!

Robby

JAGold
May. 2, 2002, 07:41 AM
Robby, I agree completely about the bucket heater! We forgot one this past weekend (they called me from Foxhall to ask for FANS, of all things, but not a bucket heater...what a difference a week makes!) and couldn't find one anywhere in the entire trade fair. A friend flying up for the weekend had to import one from VA for us, and she claims that she got quite a going-over trying to carry it on the airplane.

Interesting take on braiding the bridle. Wouldn't a good fall break the yarn and defeat the purpose? I've actually never had a rider almost pull a bridle off, so I don't really know how effective (or risky to the mane) the braid would be. For what it's worth, I don't use much hair at all.

Subk, the elastic tubes work pretty well for holding ice directly against legs; as far as I know, they do not provide sufficient support to prevent swelling any more than any other ice arangement. They are much easier to fill than ice boots with pockets (like Professional's Choice), but since any arangement that uses ice cubes has some gaps between the ice and the leg, I still prefer whirlpool boots (though I don't set up the whirlpool element), or muck buckets with ice water. I really feel that the water helps cool and reduce swellling better than just ice boots.

Heather, I really do use 10-12 buckets in the various boxes at a 3-day. I fill them in advance so I don't have to worry about that while the horse is on his way. I think every 3-day I've groomed at has supplied ice, and many give away Cosequin buckets...we usually leave with more than we started with. --Jess

JAGold
May. 2, 2002, 07:43 AM
Oooh, I like the milk-jug idea too! Along those lines, if you do use iceboots with pockets, you can cut scoops out of rubbing alcohol bottles -- they are exactly the right size to fill those little pockets in Pro Choice and similar pocket-style ice boots, and save frozen fingers. --Jess

Robby Johnson
May. 2, 2002, 08:00 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by JAGold:

Interesting take on braiding the bridle. Wouldn't a good fall break the yarn and defeat the purpose? I've actually never had a rider almost pull a bridle off, so I don't really know how effective (or risky to the mane) the braid would be. For what it's worth, I don't use much hair at all.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I've never had one fall either (but have only had the pleasure of doing this twice!), but everything I've read has said to do the button braid and then sew the bridle to the braid. I figure if that happens, regardless, I've got more to be worried about anyway!!!! FTR, I do use waxed thread, and it's a bitch to break. Particularly when I sew it in with multiple threads.

Robby

Pixie Dust
May. 2, 2002, 09:08 AM
We didn't use water buckets, but muck buckets (well we used water buckes for drinking water) but hrmmmmm, something just struck me....I'm sure it's obvious for you all, but my horse doesn't like to drink out of a white utility bucket. He prefers a nice fortiflex type bucket. Don't ask me why; he's goofy. And the horse I was working with at Radnor was kind of fussy about water and he hates people messing with his head/mouth. I wonder if it would have been better to use a real water bucket for his drinking water (we just used one of those white utililty buckets) But at one point, he was so thirsty, he would have drunk out of anything.

Superheroes of the universe, unite!

http://hometown.aol.com/bgoosewood/index.html

FairWeather
May. 2, 2002, 10:16 AM
That post was unreal! I learned more from that than in my entire time here! I'm going to print it out so i can post it in my barn! --More as a reminder of "this is what you COULD be doing, now clean that stall!"
excellent, excellent post. thanks!

Always,
FairWeather
"Just call me mint jelly cuz i'm on the lamb!--Grandpa
http://www.fairweather-farm.com

Pixie Dust
May. 2, 2002, 10:31 AM
Talking about this made me think about this cute picture at Radnor (I'm on the opposite side w/black tennies). Stan says "I am a good boy!" I groomed for a friend, an amatuer rider from MN and if hopefully we'll be back again this fall. It was a great learning experience for me. As you can see, we are quite professional....it appears no one is holding the horse!!

Superheroes of the universe, unite!

http://hometown.aol.com/bgoosewood/index.html

[This message was edited by bgoosewood on May. 02, 2002 at 04:04 PM.]

Mudroom
May. 2, 2002, 04:23 PM
I would be curious what type of stud arrangmeent the afternoon Rolex riders used. Anyone know?

Sannois
May. 2, 2002, 04:26 PM
The event grooms handbook!!! WOW. Years ago I groomed on the A circuit, and took care of Conformation hunters and Grand Prix jumpers, That was Nothing compared to 3 day grooms. I always knew that, but your post had me right in the 10 min box at Rolex! As a matter of fact the last time I went to Rolex 2000.. I spent a bit of time near the Finish, cause that was very fascinating to watch. I know I am WAY too old to groom anymore, But Wow I bet that would get you in shape in no time! Thanks for the wonderful post!

"Those who would give up
essential Liberty, to
purchase a little temporary
Safety, deserve neither
Liberty nor Safety" Benjamin
Franklin, 1755

Robby Johnson
May. 2, 2002, 07:20 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Mudroom:
I would be curious what type of stud arrangmeent the afternoon Rolex riders used. Anyone know?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Kim said, when she came of steeplechase on Vennie, that they were considering taking out the studs if they would've run him XC.

I would suspect everyone else did big bullets for mud.

Robby

LAZ
May. 2, 2002, 08:19 PM
Natural sponges (or good imitations) are vastly preferable to the car washing type. The natural sponges fill quickly and empty quickly, other types you have to squeeze to fill, wastes lots of valuable time & makes your (cold, sore) hands work harder.

JAGold
May. 6, 2002, 07:06 AM
Hey guys -- I've been out of town and almost missed the question about studs. Robby guessed right, once it started raining, we went to large bullets behind, with medium roads on the inside front and grass tips on the outside front. We pulled the Equithane out of shoes to prevent more slipping. --Jess

subk
May. 6, 2002, 12:12 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by JAGold:
What are your tricks for keeping the tack room looking like the huricane was at least a week ago? --Jess<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I keep my tack room neat by using plastic shelving that can be put up and taken down very easily. I bought it at Home Depot for about $35 dollars. When it is dismantled it's a rectangle that's a little smaller than a bale of hay. It can be put together in about 2-3 minutes and it has 5 levels!

Question: I see you use diapers to poultice the bottom of the foot--I know Dougie does too--BUT diapers are SO incredibly absorbant doesn't it rob the poultice mixture of it's moisture? Wouldn't this render the poultice less effective since the moisture is what pulls the heat out?

tle
May. 6, 2002, 12:32 PM
Instead of diapers, which can be incredibly expensive, i use the generic "bed pads". They come in something like 3'x3' with a bit of cotton material with a plastic backing. Easy to cut to size, the plastic keeps everything inside, and not too absorbent. And TONS cheaper!! I bought a package of about 6 pads last year and still have 1 or 2 left after soaking numerous feet issues. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

************
If Dressage is a Symphony... Eventing is Rock & Roll!

Survivor thoughts -- Episode 11... Why the tears? I think it's "Message from Home" time... Neleh or Robert gets the axe.

GO RED WINGS!!!

JAGold
May. 6, 2002, 12:44 PM
Subk, interesting point about diapers soaking up the moisture. We use them because some sort of absorbent material is necessary to hold everything in place, and the plastic outer layer keeps things from dripping. I usually find things to still be moist when I unwrap the foot. Mostly, they are convenient -- about the right size, fasten on easily, easy to find and buy. I've also packed feet using sheet cotton (about a 6x6 square) but found that alone, too much leaks out. So I've used sheet cotton and a plastic bag (grocery sack), and I do like that arangement if I'm using a soak boot for several days, obviously at home not at an event).

I LOVE tle's idea about bed pads, though. Where can you buy such things? About how much do they cost? Any special tricks to using them, or is it pretty self explanatory? This could be a great discovery!

And, subk, I think I might give collapsable shelving a try. It might not be worthwhile at a horse trials, but at a 3-day, with all the added gear and extra days, it could help. Otherwise, I rely on tupperware, a place for everything and everything in its place, but the tack room still looked like a disaster zone by Sunday. We had more wet gear than not to pack up. --Jess

subk
May. 6, 2002, 01:47 PM
The great thing about shelving is that it allows you to expand UP instead of out! I've not used it at H.T. but if your stall was situated in the right place (like an end stall) or you had mulitple stalls I think it could work. But with out a doubt it's been THE best money spent to improve organization.

Yea, the diaper would still have the moisture in it when you pull it off--but it would have transfered it AWAY from the surface of the foot. I make a square using strips of duck tape, put the poultice on the bottom of the foot, slap the duct tape square over it, set the foot down, use scissors to cut away excess duct tape then use more duck tape around hoof wall, then wrap around half on the hoof wall and half on the bottom of the hoof. This holds up much better if you have to hand walk. It's pretty moisture tight as well.

I'll have to think about the bed pads. Jess if you want to try them out you can find what I think tle is refering to in a baby store or even in a Target in the baby dept. tle does what your talking about like water proofing with a cotton felt like material on each side?