In Which Jane Does a Little Mowing, and Hudson Runs Away From Home

I printed out this visual aide and took it with me to the barn.

Left to my care-free, easy-going, eyeball-it devices, Hudson could easily have been clipped into a Standard Poodle finish.

I Googled clipping to brush up on body clipping, after 20 years off.  A horse-sized stick of white chalk to mark out my ‘lines’? Seriously? Who has giant white chalk?

Genius strikes. I hit up the tool shed, and score a roll of masking tape. Press on to apply, then peel off in the direction of the hair. Totally painless. Chalk-shmalk.  It won’t smear!

Hudson is One With The Clippers.  He Zens out as soon as he hears the whir:  tension drains out of his muscles, he yawns, his ears get loose, his eye glazes, his lids begin to drop.

While I uncoil cord, pour blade wash into a pan, oil blades and turn clippers on and off, I  see  Zzzzz’s beginning to form in the air above his ears. He’s supremely content.

Seeing him happy and soft makes the tension drain out of my muscles. I riiiiip out the first length of masking tape, utterly relaxed. H paid no attention to the ripping.

Zzzzzzzzzz. Riiiiip.  Zzzzzzz. Riiiiiip. Zzzzzzzz. Press.


Hudson is now forty feet tall. It’s ON him?! He snorts.

“I like the tape?”, I say, conversationally, as if he has a choice, “It makes it easy…Cut Line Here. See?” I poke him,  to point out tape is a sensible alternative. (No, I never  learn.)

My pressing the tape on his body creeped him out, in that crime-scene, she’s marking-where-the-bodies-fell sort of way. The moment I laid masking tape along his belly, he stopped sleeping and began scowling:

Hudson fully expected to wake up with something manly on  his butt, like a star, or a steer head, and a full body clip. Instead, it looks like I knocked him out, rolled him over, and mowed his stomach.

It looks like a Brazilian wax job done by a ‘technician’ that advertised their prices in crayon on a cardboard sign.

Still, I was ridiculously pleased I got the line this clean.

I took him out of the cross ties, and he, uh, stretched out his neck. I immediately squished his head back down.  His throat latch looked like it was cut by gleeful kindergartners with  stubby little-kid scissors.

His belly was surprisingly good.  But then, we have to turn upside down to make any comments about the belly clipping, which gives most people a headache: far easier to say “great job on the belly” without looking.

When I finished, I warm toweled all the loose hairs off, brushed thoroughly, blanketed, and put him away, automatically checking the gate locks.

You see, he and Dinero had a jailbreak. It was my fault: I either didn’t clip the chain right, or (gulp) I forgot to chain the gate shut.  I was completely paranoid about opening the gates for weeks.

They got off the ranch.

Luckily, both follow their stomachs, and ran UP the driveway to the racing barn, and were happily chowing down in their hay shed. Thank God Alice woke up thinking, “Hooves…?  I shouldn’t be hearing hooves outside my window at 1 am.” She woke Bella and they hunted down and caught the boys.

There is something terribly wrong about being the people needing to catch the loose horses, on a work night, near a busy road, when you aren’t the one who left the gate open.  (They were both extremely generous with me about my mind loss.)

This is why, after clipping, I check all the gates twice, even those I haven’t used. I slip out through the bars so I don’t have to unlock anything.

45 minutes later, at home, my text bings. It’s Lily:

Did you know the horses are out? BM found and is putting them back. It’s ok, they’re in barn area.


I know Hudson is the culprit. A few years back, Bella woke up to the sound of the chain banging on the gate: she ran outside pulling muck boots on over her pj’s.  Hudson had managed to work the chain up out of the slot and back out the little hole TWICE (because it’s locked twice) and let himself out.

It seems obvious to me that Hudson is mortified by his trace clip. He’s running away from home, and taking Dinero with him.

Maybe I can mollify him with a press-apply tattoo? Before he packs all his belongings in a haynet and slings it over his shoulder? How to keep him from running away?

(I bought a horse-proof U clip for the gate. So far, so good.)

21 thoughts on “In Which Jane Does a Little Mowing, and Hudson Runs Away From Home

  1. I think he looks totally dapper. Show him the pictures of Tucker COMPLETELY BALD on my blog and perhaps he will rethink his protest. Glad you figured out a way to keep him in. Some boys are just too smart for their own good!

  2. Wait… he wore hearts all last winter and he’s mortified by a trace clip?

    Tell him it’s not too late to get the clippers back out and do this.

    With hearts. Or flowers. Or both.

    1. I know!
      You’d think he’d prefer the trace clip. But no. Now I’m hearing how even the hearts were a better alternative, because at least they show an attempt to be attractive. Which he believes the trace clip does not. I keep telling him, but you’re WARM. He will grudgingly give me that one. (He doesn’t know his heavy blanket is repaired.)

  3. We’re having weird weather here in Georgia too. It jumps from the low 20s to the 80s, and everywhere in between. This time last year I was hauling water from the house as it was COLD. Ok, not cold by my Alaskan standards. I was still in a tshirt wandering around outside. The temps were in the mid-20s. The difference with this winter so far is that it is much more windy, making it feel colder than it is.

  4. OMG. I’m so glad I wasn’t drinking coffee when I read the Brazilian Wax Job phrase. I’d be out one laptop! I have used tape in the past and it does give you a nice clean line. Mostly I’m too lazy and just clip until it looks good. Remember, people can only see one side of your horse at a time so if the two sides are a bit different? Not a big deal!

  5. I used to have to padlock my gate. It was on a fairly busy road and I didn’t want people to open it at all unless it was me. There was no house or buildings attached to the paddock, just a big fenced space next to a graveyard, so there was nobody nearby to keep an eye on the horses all the time. Also, kids love to open gates and ride on them as they swing putting both the gate and the post it’s hinged on out of wack. I just kept the key in my grooming kit, as that would accompany me every time I went to the paddock.

    On a different note, I think your clipping job is very good. The masking tape is an interesting experiment, though.

  6. Last Saturday, I arrived at the barn and found Hudson and Dinero happily grazing by the upper arena. To their credit, both boys let me halter them and put them home without fuss. They did have a “no really – we’re supposed to be out here, it’s cool” look on their faces 🙂

    1. The barn manager told me this morning that it was you who saved the day, not her. Thank you!! Green grass everywhere is kissing your boots for letting it live another day. 😉 I can totally see them looking at you with “But she LET us out” expressions.

      Glad they had manners, and glad it was Auntie Laurie that spotted them.

  7. Gotta love a smart horse! I don’t think it’s the clip he’s running away from…he’s probably thinking of the hay barn he wants to run TO! 😉

  8. Even with the visual aid, it seems like you missed the under-jaw section-thereby leaving the throatlatch all wonky.
    And what about the BUTT GRAPHICS?? No hearts? No four-leaf clovers? Not even a little checkerboard? Poor Hudson.
    As far a gate latches go, I back up all of my chain latches with a 1 1/2 inch spring clip (think uncool, plain oval carabiner). They’re a pain right now with cold-weather gloves, but really good insurance!

    1. Yup. I totally missed the ENTIRE throat latch area, except where the clippers angled into it here and there, giving it the kindergarten chop. I figure I’ll fix it this weekend. I was kind of afraid I’d try to fix ALL of the clip this weekend, and end up with a body clip, something I don’t want. I know I know. I’m disappointed about the butt graphics. 😦

      But if I had that much trouble with relatively straight lines, I thought trying to clip a pattern while leaving on his butt hair would end up looking like the same pack of gleeful kindergartners attacked his hair with blunt scissors.

  9. OMG I snorted my tea when I read about the wax job. BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

    For escape artists, I highly recommend padlocks.One of my crew can undo bull snaps and slide latches. The only solution was a padlock. I do recommend one with four numbers instead of just three, and um, be sure not to tell Hudson the combination.

    1. I got U clip he can’t undo. Sort of like a carabiner. I had padlocks on all gates with Mr. Chips. I occasionally wonder if he’s egging Hudson on: “You know, Jane really likes it when you open things…let me tell you about this thing called a ‘refrigerator’…it’s a vault built just for carrots. Give me ten seconds, and I’ll get you in the house….”

  10. Tape? What? You mean you just don’t freehand it so it looks like a tall-ish goat nibbled away at your horse’s lower body for a while, as I may or may not have done?

      1. It still looks like the wild turkeys reached up and pecked the hair off, so I think despite the masking tape, we’re in the same school….

  11. Good thing it wasn’t Dec. 24th. No one would think twice about hearing hooves outside the window at night. 🙂

    1. We’re having unseasonably warm, clear weather. 30’s at night, and 60’s during the day. In December. Very pretty, and no, I’m not complaining (that was for the Weather Elves).

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