The show animals had the opportunity to enjoy their first bath while getting them ready for the fair. Just getting them used to the idea of spraying them with a hose is a daunting task when they don’t understand why a human would do that.
Trust is a main component. We first had to get the animals comfortable with a halter on their faces. Then be able to be tethered, and next to be able to walk side-by-side as we trained them to maneuver around the barn, through the gates and around the pasture.
We got them to the point where they would walk and not balk when walking through gates or the kittens as they skittered by. There were several nights when they were tethered through the night, all this before we got them into an enclosed frame called a ‘fitting chute’ where we could wash them without them or us getting hurt.
After the wet down, they get a soothing blow dry from a unit that looks like a canister vacuum that blows air instead of sucks it in.
Here at the farm, we are only preparing the animals for the fair and getting most of the farm goop off of their coats. Once at the fair, the whole show string will get a daily bath with several sessions of blow drying throughout the day to keep their hair fluffy and show ready.
The time it takes to wash the whole show string each day takes quite a chunk of time. I estimate 2 hours on the wash rack for me, and 2 hours for Mike who will be blow drying them back in the barn. You can imagine that everyone, including Mike and me taking a nap after all the washing activity is done for the day.