Posts Tagged ‘horse show grooming’

The L O N G ‘ish Saga of the Tack Trunk

WAY back in December I ordered a custom tack trunk. My first one ever. I was beyond excited. The retailer (Centerline Style, I’m not going to tag them because their customer service was horrible at the end and I don’t want to send them any business) was having a 20% off sale which included custom tack trunks and it was a deal I just could not refuse.

I emailed the store (which turns out was the owner) with my myriad questions before I placed my order. All my questions were answered quickly and succinctly so I felt “safe” in ordering the trunk. To make a very long story somewhat short, the great customer service lasted for a few weeks and then the customer service fell off the planet. I last received a response to my question about a delivery date in mid-January and it wasn’t an answer, it was a “here is a $40 store credit to thank you for your patience”, which frankly made no sense to me. I placed my order on December 17. The website stated a 6-8 week turnaround, which would have my trunk arriving somewhere between January 26 and February 9.

I had a show the first weekend in February and was REALLY hoping I would have it by then, which would have been towards the 6 week end of the timeframe. The days leading up to the show I emailed, called, online chatted and contacted the retailer online to no avail. No one answered the phone ever. No one returned my call. No one responded to my email. Needless to say I was getting angry and a bit worried.

The week after the show I called the trunk’s manufacturer. They were AMAZING! Turns out they hadn’t even gotten my order until January 2, so the 6-8 week window got pushed out two more weeks. Thanks Centerline Style. They gave me the current status of the trunk’s build and finish time and told me to expect it to be ready to ship in a week and a half. That timeframe had the trunk arriving  sometime between February 16 and 23. I had another show the last weekend and February and was super excited to have my trunk. Finally.

The week of the show arrived and I contacted Centerline again. Still no response. No one answered the phone. No one responded to my email. I was starting to get REALLY angry. I contacted the manufacturer again and got some really good and really awful news. My trunk had been done since February 14, but the retailer wasn’t responding to communication from the manufacturer so they couldn’t ship my trunk. Now I was furious. I left a 1 star Google review, contacted the Better Business Bureau, and lastly contacted my credit card that I had used to buy the trunk. You’ll never guess how this ends……….. within 24 hours of contacting my credit card I received this email from Centerline,

“I just wanted to let you know that your tack trunk finally shipped yesterday! Don’t hesitate to ask if you need anything at all, we can’t wait for it to arrive!

To be clear, the trunk actually shipped the day after I got this email. I don’t think the retailer was trying to pull a fast one on me, but I do think they are understaffed and have bitten off far more than they can chew. Retail in 2018 is tough. The Dovers and the SmartPaks of the world do a pretty good job of answering their phone and email in a timely manner, especially when you order something that costs more than $1,000. I’m sure many people have horror stories of the big equestrian retailers and I’m not here to start an argument, but to go over a month not responding to a customer’s requests for information on any order is unacceptable.

In happier news, here are my “unboxing” photos from when my trunk finally arrived last week. In March. 10 1/2 weeks after I ordered it. Boot City is highly entertained by online unboxing photos and videos, so these photos are dedicated to him.

The delivery vehicle. For some reason he didn’t want to drive up my driveway. Some people have no sense of adventure.

 

I had to finagle in out of the bed of the pickup to be careful to not drop it! It wasn’t crazy heavy, but it wasn’t light. That is Punky the goat in the background. She was very helpful.

 

My first glimpse….. of Styrofoam……..but I have to admit that it was very well packaged.

 

I had to lay the box on its side to slide the trunk out. I put cardboard under it to be sure to not scratch it at all.

 

Ta da!!!!!!!!!!! It is a beauty! But, of course, Centerline messed up the order. You see, my initials are “TNT”. The coolest initials you could possibly have, so I wanted it on my trunk as “TNT”. The way it is on the trunk now is the “correct” way, but not how I ordered it. I’m not going to send it back, because Lord knows how long it would take for them to fix that. But I will be bringing it to their attention…..(them being Centerline, I know the manufacturer just did what they were told)

 

Last, but not least, the inside. Murtagh approves, but I don’t think there will be room for him in there once it is filled with all my horsey goodies!

 

My advice is to shop at Centerline Style with extreme caution. Kelly at Hunky Hanoverian also had issues with customer service at Centerline and if you read their Google reviews, all of them in the past couple months are pretty terrible. I’m excited to have my trunk and am grateful for the discount, but I’m pretty sure the time I spent trying to wrangle my dang order cost more than I saved. We live and we learn!

How I do Stuff: Tail Maintenance

Here is a little secret.

Beautiful hunters lined up waiting to be pinned. Photo from Pinterest.

Beautiful hunters lined up waiting to be pinned. Photo from Pinterest.

Most of those beautiful tails are not real. All horse events at horse shows that I have ever shown in from AQHA to reining to hunter shows have all had a very longstanding trend of long and thick tails. When I was a kid showing Quarter Horses I would spend hours upon hours grooming my horse’s tail so that by show season it would be long and thick. Quite frankly I got to be quite the horse stylist! Until I started showing Jaguar, that is. His tail tended more towards the thin and wispy style. This was also at a time when fake tails were becoming more common than not. People were figuring out that rather than leaving tails braided and protected by tail bags or socks (yes, we used tube socks to protect our horse’s tails. My Dad thought it was beyond ridiculous) year round they could just braid or tie in a fake tail and call it a day. Jaguar’s tail was so pathetic that I succumbed to the trend and made my own fake tail to tie into his real tail at shows giving it some volume and a little bit of length.

Alas that trend continues today in the hunter world and I’m reverting back to my kid self with fierce determination that my horses are going to grow their own damn tails. This may be due partially to my desire to prove that I can do it and partially to the fact that I have a grey horse and their fake tails cost twice as much as one for a bay or chestnut because the colors have to match just right. Regardless, I’ve challenged myself to help Coco grow a respectable tail in time for her first horse show. I anticipate we have about a year for this endeavour. This post will be photographic evidence of what we started with.

Coco's tail. Not terrible, but also not show quality. Plus it appears she pulled out a large chunk of hair at the top.

Coco’s tail. Not terrible, but also not show quality. Plus it appears she pulled out a large chunk of hair at the top.

Based on interwebs research I’m going to use Shapley’s M-T-G to help Coco’s tail grow. I also subscribe to the philosophy of brushing the hair with a brush as little as possible, however I also need it to remain tangle free so if it gets caught on a tree branch or fence the hair won’t get pulled out because of a tangle. So I will pick it out with my fingers most of the time, but will brush it every once in a while. Plus she LOVES having her tail brushed.

The tools of the trade. A tail brush and some Shapley's M-T-G

The tools of the trade. A tail brush and some Shapley’s M-T-G

When I brush hair; mine or a horse’s; I always start at the very bottom and move slowly closer to the roots. This allows the tangles to get picked out without pulling out giant wads of hair.

Start brushing at the very bottom of the tail

Start brushing at the very bottom of the tail

Once the tail is fully brushed out I start applying the M-T-G at the very top of the tail by parting it horizontally like so:

IMG_6932Then squirting some M-T-G as close to the hairline as possible. M-T-G works at the root of the hair, not as a conditioner. It encourages hair growth.

IMG_6931I’ll do about three of these spots slowly working down the tailbone. After each application of M-T-G I work it into the roots of the hair to get it spread throughout. Once I get about 1/3 to 1/2 way down the tailbone I’ll part the hair vertically:

IMG_6934I’ll part it all the way to the end of the tail bone then apply a very liberal amount of M-T-G and work it into the roots of the hair. The goal here is to get as much on the tail as possible and as little on the floor as possible.

IMG_6933Once I’ve gotten the tailbone hair as saturated as possible without dripping I’ll put some on the length of the tail just to protect that hair. Plus it acts as a detangler.

IMG_6936One thing about M-T-G is that it smells absolutely horrible. Like a cross between animal lard and barbecue. It is terribly odd scent, but it is supposed to work really well. The bottle says to apply it once per week to encourage hair growth for manes and tails. We don’t really care about the mane, so we’ll only be applying it to Coco’s tail. The directions also state to not put it on a horse’s tail and then turn them out in the sunshine. M-T-G causes photo sensitivity. Good thing that during the summer months my horses get turned out at night! I’ll report back in a few months to see how Coco’s tail growth progress is going. I’ve been sporadically putting M-T-G in Sterling’s tail for about 6 months and his looks pretty good. I’ll add him to the weekly application program and maybe they will both have to die for tails by next summer!