Since Old Man Winter has arrived time spent outdoors with my girls has waned. By the time I get home from work it is dark and temperatures have dipped into the teens here in Central Pennsylvania the last few weeks. So, when the weather isn't bitterly cold I spend a couple of hours at the barn on a Sunday afternoon. I call it our "Sunday Spa Day". Both mama and baby get an extra vigorous grooming session. We start with a curry comb, followed by a medium stiff brush, and finally a soft brush. Then their manes, tails, and forelocks are sprayed with a conditioner and combed until all the knots are gone. Their "piggies" are picked and removed of any caked on dirt and mud. I clip their bridle paths, under their chins, and Tia's muzzle hairs are clipped. Both of their outer ears are clipped as well. This past spa day Rio even had her mane braided. I left it in for about a week. I'm going to have a hard time shortening it for this year's halter classes. I may actually leave her mane long and braid it instead. However, I'm not sure if that will hurt our placings or not. Typically halter and pleasure horses have their manes short and banded but Rio's mane is becoming more flaxen and beautiful every day so I'd really like to keep it long. Guess I'll just have to give it a try and see how it goes. I usually go to the barn every day after work and they get a quick brushing and I work with Rio in the barn aisle on setting up square and leading. Her mama is dead broke when it comes to showmanship so I will have to remember that Rio is just learning and I'll need to be patient. Tia has me spoiled! I'm looking forward to springtime but I also enjoy these quiet moments with my girls...even if it is 40 below!!