Tuesday, June 1, 2010

How to Whiten a Tail and Have an Awesome Day

Memorial Day Weekend 2010

So I pretty much can't get over how much fun I had this past weekend. I'm still on Cloud 9 about Kiki's performance, obviously, but I was also really proud because I actually made a plan to do something special for myself and then followed through on it. It's been a pretty ragged quarter for a lot of my friends and myself, all for very different reasons, and I think we needed a bit of cheering up. So, after serving as my super groom all weekend, my friend Emily and I quickly changed clothes on Sunday afternoon, piled into her truck (which is, coincidentally, a much cleaner and classier doppleganger of my own Billie Jean), and headed down to Monterey for the rest of the day.

But more on that in a second. First, here's a little photo essay on the tail whitening odyssey that was also going on throughout the entire weekend. I started washing Kiki's tail on Wednesday afternoon, and I think by Sunday we had finally got a good system going. So, for those of you who are curious, here's how you fabricate a white tail on a piggy little grey mare.

So here's what we've got to work with:

(Not as bad as it's been in the past... but that's not saying much.)

And here are the first necessary materials:

(Bucket, shampoo, conditioner, Quic Silver, Oxi Clean, and Candy. Candy is BY FAR the most essential)


1. Wet tail with hot water and shampoo. Repeat as many times as you can handle.

(Many, many, many times)

2. Fill bucket with near-scalding water and add in way more than the recommended concentration of Oxi Clean. Mix until dissolved. Soak tail in this possibly (probably) toxic mixture for 45 minutes or until arm gets too tired/pony too annoyed to continue.

(Try to avoid burning, kicking, or any of the other pleasant things associated with spending long periods of time handling hot water near the back end of a horse in the meantime)

3. Simultaneously massage in large quantities of Quic Silver and conditioner (to whiten and restore moisture after stripping the hair down with the Oxi Clean)

(Kiki reminds everyone that the waiting period for the conditioner/Quic Silver mix is a perfect time for a Candy Break)

4. OK, so at this point you should have a kickass blinding white tail. But this isn't Hollywood, folks. Sometimes miracles don't happen. So it's time for a little movie magic. Grab your trusty bottle of baby powder and apply liberally to the more offensive regions of the tail.

5. Blend.

6. No, really. Go to town.

7. Voila! What a tail.

(Thanks to Em for becoming a baby powdering fiend by weekend's end)

(Kiki's post bath photo shows that her tail actually was quite white without the help of the powder... but the powder definitely didn't hurt!)

Ok so that's that. But after all our breakthroughs in baby powdering technology, Em and I decided we needed a brief break from horses and so we decided on a whim to head down to see the fishies at the Monterey Aquarium. Neither of us had been since we were very very young, but we remembered it fondly and so our hopes were high as were trundled through more than our fair share of memorial day traffic. And we weren't disappointed! The fish were gorgeous, of course, and something that I couldn't really appreciate as a small child was how carefully and methodically the entire complex was arranged to display the fish in the most harmonious and aesthetically pleasing way. It was really entrancing, and closing time came far too soon for both of us (we only had like 15 minutes with the jellies!! Such a bummer).

(The king)

(Egg yolk jelly, living up to its name)

(The awesome Outer Bay room, which had big yellowfin tuna, hammerhead sharks, manta rays, and this enormous school of fish)

(Gorgeous rainbow trout which, I won't lie, I definitely snuck a touch over the top of the tank; so slippery and wonderful)

(Anchovies like quick silver)

(I was totally in love with this shark)

After the aquarium closed, we started the long trek home. We were driving through Castroville (artichoke capitol of the world!) when suddenly Em spotted a sign on the side of the road, said, "I've been here before when we got a flat tire; we need to pull over," and before I knew it we were standing in the parking lot of a small artichoke farm, standing under a giant painting of the strange vegetable itself and eating french-fried artichoke hearts as the sun set. Let me tell you, french fried artichokes are AMAZING. I was a bit dubious at first, but they were so light and crisp that after one bite I was hooked. We tried to hit the road again after that but were quickly distracted by another produce stand that sold all of its fruits in big containers shaped like fruits themselves. So awesome!!

(YES YES YES - thank you Castroville!)

(Show stopper)

The sun was finally setting right as we drove through Moss Landing, which happens to have one of my favorite beaches on the outskirts of town. Even though the wind was rising and the temperature dropping, Em and I ventured out onto the sands to enjoy the spectacular sunset. It was definitely an evening to make you happy to be in California!

(Ahh Moss Landing, a truly wonderful place)

(Hello again, Lover)

The next few weeks are pretty low stress before the great cross country voyage. Ringo has been feeling a bit stiff but got going well after some transitions and active bending. Good man! Very excitingly, I entered Stuart today. Here's fingers crossing we get in!


Heidi said...

Congratulations on your success with Kiki! And I was just at the Monterey Bay Aquarium two weekends ago while on vacation. It is amazing! I loved the sea turtles the best, but those jellyfish are mesmerizing aren't they?

Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger said...

Oh lovely tail! Have u ever used Ivory soap? It gets white socks super bright white and I'm wondering if it works for tails?!

Sunshine said...

I had a completely white (well grey..) horse and the best way for her was to wash her tail with Quic Silver and Conditioner everyday for a week and a half or so before the competition. The Quic Silver by itself made it too dry so conditioner was essential :) Then, the day of the show, I would only have to do two normal Quic Silver washes and it would be perfect!

pennynicol said...

Ha ha ha you are a very good writer and I absolutely loved the tail whitening blog. Go you! Gonna give it a whirl on the white disaster here. :)

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