Sticky situation remedied with Downy by Bob Karolevitz Phyllis�s miniature horses without their manes look positively naked.
They got that way because they were shorn to get rid of the cockleburrs which matted their hair like unkempt Afros.
Cockleburrs � called �porcupine eggs� by the jokesters � will stick to anything, as Foxy and Mattie will attest. Just a little patch along the fenceline is all they needed to look like a pair of equine pincushions.
Needless to say, their manes have had to go. Gene Perk, the friendly farrier � who was called in just to trim their hooves � also had his electric clippers along, so he was quickly recruited as a barber. In no time at all, he had finished the haircuts, and the little guys were minus their flowing neck adornments.
It was a good thing, too, or Phyllis and daughter Jill (who had volunteered to help) would be picking out cockleburrs yet. As it was, Gene went zip, zip, zip, while the pint-sized horses just stood there to get their G.I. crewcuts.
�But what about their tails?� Jill wanted to know. They also were so full of burrs that Foxy and Mattie were almost pulled over backwards.
�What�ll we do?� Phyllis asked. �We can�t shear them because we don�t know where the tails are in all that mess.�
And so there ensued a council of war! (Or make that a council of cockleburrs.)
All sorts of remedies were advised (and rejected), until Jill offered:
�Why don�t we try Downy, the fabric softener? The label says it�s got superior absorbency, too.�
Phyllis nodded her approval, and Jill was dispatched to get a bucket of water and enough of the wash ingredient to make the proper solution.
But how much Downy should be used? After all, this could well have been the first time the product was utilized to soak horses� tails.
�Let�s use the same amount I use for wrinkle control,� Phyllis said � and so the experimental concoction was prepared.
It worked � but I wish I would have been there to watch as the two of them knelt astern of the beasts and dunked their tails into the pail. Meanwhile, the nonplussed horses just stood there, not knowing what was going on behind them.
But the cockleburrs came loose, and soon the tails took on the �silky softness� just like the label advertised.
Obviously, they had found a new use for Downy!
When Phyllis finally told me, I suggested that she should write to Proctor and Gamble and tell them about it.
�I�m sure they get lots of queries about what to do with miniature horse tails full of cockleburrs,� I giggled.
She swung at me and missed, but I could tell she wasn�t the least bit happy with my thoughtful (hee hee!) recommendation.
Probably because Molly, the burro, was taller and didn�t have excess hair to get entangled, she didn�t get more than a few cockleburrs. Had she gotten a tailful, though, I doubt if Phyllis and Jill could have given her the Downy treatment, no matter how good it worked.
� 2004 Robert F. Karolevitz