Friday, November 12, 2010

My fantasy barn

Someday - hopefully sooner rather than later - we'll get around to building our barn. And while I wish I could have one of those beautiful places with 14x14 stalls, varnished wood doors, and wrought iron bars, that's really not how I keep the boys. Let's face it - what's best for horses is for them to be out 24/7, and if that's not possible, then at least they should get as much movement as possible. Keeping them bundled up in stalls isn't good for them, and it's sure a pain for me when it comes to mucking! Sure, I need a place so I can feed them separately and/or a way to keep them in if someone gets hurt, but otherwise, they really just need a place to get out of the weather in the winter and out of the sun and bugs in the summer.

So, I will end up with a glorified run-in shed with a tack room, hay storage, and a nice spot for grooming. But within that area... muahahaha.... I can go hog wild! I'm talking about things like a wood-paneled tackroom, a rubber-brick grooming pad, and... well, a horsey vacuum cleaner.

I know, you think I'm crazy for wanting a horsey vacuum. But the barn I boarded Cash at when we lived up in New York, Larkin' Hill Farm, had one and OMG it was awesome! You'd think the horses would be afraid of the noise, but after a brief introduction to Mr. Vacuum, all of them chilled right out. And most of them loved being groomed with it! Maybe it was like a massage, I don't know, but they would make the silliest faces when you ran the vacuum over them - most of them would really get into it.

And nothing, but nothing, makes winter grooming a fuzzy, unclipped horse easier. I don't care how much you hot towel, curry, or brush, there is no way to groom out the dirt that's deep down in the coat. With a vacuum, it's so easy it should be illegal.

At the encouragement of a "friend*" who was probably tired of listening to me whine about how hard it is to groom fuzzy horses, I checked out the local Craigslist ads for horse vacuums. I mean, really, what are the chances of someone listing a horse vacuum for sale, just when I decide to go shopping for one? Because really, I do not need a horse vacuum. I need to ride more. I need to finish the ceiling in the bathroom. But, because the stars were in alignment (or something), there it was on Craigslist - a nice, compact, Rapid-Groom vacuum for $75! SCORE!

So, I have the vacuum. I have dirty horses. Well, OK, now I have Very Clean Well-Vacuumed Horses - at least, until they roll. Now, all I need is the rest of the barn to put the vacuum in, and I'll be all set.

I know, I know. One step at a time. :)

* Thaaaanks, MC. Really.


  1. How in the world do you desensitize a horse to a vacuum cleaner? I introduced all the scary stuff I could think of when Lilly was little, so she's good about each of those things, but if it falls outside of her list of approved scary objects, she very openly lets me know it isn't allowed. I just know if I tried to touch Lilly with a VACUUM cleaner she would have a heart attack and fall dead at my feet.

  2. Lol, it really wasn't hard! However, I made sure to hold both Red and Saga and not tie them for the first encounter - just in case.

    Initially, I took the vacuum and rubbed the nozzle all over them while it was off. Next, I turned the vacuum on, but rubbed them with the back of the nozzle, telling them all the while what good boys they were. Finally, I turned the nozzle over so that the suction side was against the skin, starting at the shoulder - that seems to be the least sensitive part.

    Both of them are a little squiggy about their necks and chests being done, as well as their legs. I think the suction is just an odd sensation. Saga was great when I did his right side, but took a little longer to get comfortable with it on the left. I kept the first session short and focused on the barrel, and the second session has been longer and much more successful. Of course, both of my guys are pretty laid back, and I sort of approached the whole thing with the attitude that they'll get used to it sooner or later. I'm sure with a little effort your mare would be fine with it!

  3. Hmm... I figured the sucking sensation would be too much for her to tolerate. Perhaps I can find one to borrow and see if it's something I think she would get used to. It would be SO nice to have one of those in the winter when she's all fuzzy!

    She's great with clippers, so maybe she'll think it's a giant clipper!! :)