Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Show Grooming the English Angora
Show grooming is different from your maintenance grooming routine. At a show, you may take license to actually use your brushes on the coat more than you would at home. You are risking a little more coat breakage by doing so, but that is why you try to avoid unnecessary grooming at home. Also this method assumes that you are on top of your maintenance grooming, so that you will not be removing any matts or webbing, because that should be prevented or taken care of during maintenance grooming sessions. Most of your focus will be on the underside of the rabbit. Put the rabbit on your lap, underside up in whatever manner is most comfortable to you. Use your soft slicker brush to brush the wool around the butt, the feet and the belly. You want the bottom to look “pretty “ when you are done. If there are any wet spots or messy areas around the tail, either clip off or use corn starch or baby powder with white vinegar if it is in wool that needs to stay on. If you have a wet spot and have to use the corn starch or baby power, you will have to continually brush and blow that spot until dry – this may take awhile, so it is best to check those that are prone to doing this when you first get to the show. Some rabbits are messy, and others aren’t, I often use this as a consideration when breeding, as messy mothers often produce messy daughters. Typically, I go through and do the bottoms of all of my show rabbits before I do the tops because the bottom is the most time consuming.
The next step is to do the top. If you have done a good job on your maintenance grooming, this should not take long. If the rabbit is under four and a half months old, I do not blow it, just use a steel tooth comb behind the ears and through the furnishings. For anyone over that age, the younger they are the shorter of time that I blow. Put the rabbit on the grooming stand and use the steel tooth comb behind the ears, and cheeks and furnishings. Then I feel the wool to make sure that no wool has clumped or webbed – if so, I will blow that spot, then pull apart with my fingers and repeat until finished – if you do your maintenance grooming you should not have a problem. I then take a bottle of pure water and lightly mist the rabbit – this is a trick used by normal fur breeders to make the coat more fresh prior to showing. You need to do this very lightly, just one light spray or so, enough that it will be dry after just a second or two of blowing.
Next start blowing with your blower, just blowing in each spot and if there is no webbing move on. When you are done, a rabbit with a longer coat will often have little pills on the end The best way to get this off is to use a flea comb to target the small little pill, however, you can use a soft slicker if you are in a hurry. Also, groom any ends that look stringy in the same fashion, however, use a normal size steel comb for this, and try to avoid using the slicker as it will cause breakage. Sometimes on the later coats, only the slicker will do.
When doing this grooming of the ends, only do it on a spot that needs it, hold the base of the wool, and try to get it in as few strokes as possible. A coat that is about a year old will take a long time during this step to make the coat look good, younger, fresher long coats may only need a spot or two, and then you are done. It is nice to do the blowing step as close to when you show as possible and then to leave the rabbit out of the cage. I often have a few grooming tables, so that I can have my longest coated rabbits sit out prior to going to the show table – you don’t want all of your efforts to be wasted prior to going to the table. Now that you are done, your English Angora should look like a round ball of fluff when placed on the grooming table.