Friday, November 6, 2009

Workshop with Max Corcoran: Mad Max RULES!

We were really lucky in that Karen brought her long-time groom, Max Corcoran, who is an absolutely AMAZING horse woman. I wish I could do the Vulcan Mind Meld with her! She and my friend from the “Training Three Day by 2010” list, Stacey Curwood, wrote an excellent article about Max’s experience winning the Three Day Event at Wardeca in 2006 with David’s horse Walk On The Moon.

Today she was teaching us about grooming for the three day event. She’s old school, in that she pulls the horse’s tail—just on the sides, and to about two inches below the crest of the butt. She suggests latex gloves, because they protect your fingers and help with the pulling.

I was lamenting the fact that Paycheck’s tail simply doesn’t grow, and she told me a lot of eventers have that problem: even David’s famous horse Custom Made had a fake tail in competitions. She explained how to attach one (though we didn’t have one to look at). Makes me feel better about PC, about whom Whit Watkins said “tail extensions were invented for this horse!”

She showed us how to do quarter marks: you need a short, stiff bristle brush, and you need to use something relatively sticky like oil based fly spray. She showed us how to make shark’s teeth on the flank, plus how to make checkerboards with the cut off end of a $.49 plastic comb. She also showed us how they made a “USA” quarter mark for the Olympics.

If using a stencil, you simply brush down, put the stencil on, then brush up.

She showed us how to braid using waxed thread:
  1. Braid the length of mane
  2. Sew the end through the bottom of the braid
  3. Make a loop, folding the end over on itself
  4. Roll the loop up to the horse’s neck
  5. Sew through it, loop around to the left, loop around to the right
  6. Tie it off and cut off the end of the thread

The forelock was the same, only you begin by French braiding the top.

She didn’t have quikbraid, but she showed us how spit works, too!

Max provided a wealth of tips that only an insider would know/think about. We complained that the round numbers that must be on a halter get shredded, and she showed us a re-usable one she’d bought. She also said she takes light colored duct tape and wraps it around the halter, writing the number on it.

If a horse gets dusty/dirty at an event, she sprays on some witch hazel and towels the horse off.

When trimming feet and under the face, go WITH the hair.

She trips around the hoof (like a bowel cut). If the horse has white stockings, you can trim the hair to make it whiter, but it also gives them less protection against fungus, etc. She likes Ivory liquid on white legs.

A quick poop remover on white horses: I capful of quicksilver into a spray bottle of rubbing alcohol (for non-white horses, you can use any soap). Spray on, wipe off!

Make sure you use a coat moisturizer after clipping.

Buy some kids no more tangles type sprays for tails. Someone in the audience suggested Afro Sheen, too. Show sheen should ONLY go on tails; NEVER on coats.

You can use witch hazel or Listerine on itchy fungus, rain rot, etc.

Feeding garlic does help keep flies away.

She’s a fan of MTG and Lona’s Linament, a local concoction. Lona made an appearance herself the following day, so I bought some! I asked her if she uses poultice, and she says she hates it. She’ll put Lona’s linament on the legs, then sprinkle baby powder on them and wrap the legs. Not only does it make a paste which stays, it smells good!

She cleans tack with hot water, glycerin soap, and then Lexol. She has used olive oil, too, which I find absolutely cool.

I asked her what was the best part of being a groom for the O’Connors, and she said the travel. She’s been to Greece, to Australia, to England, to Hong Kong! How great is that! Plus, she loves the horses, and Karen is wonderful to work with. No argument there.

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