Clipping in winter allows a horse to work in comfort

Horses - When to clip and how to safley

Clipping in winter allows a horse to work in comfort, the horses winter coat is designed for warmth and insulation, not cooling, so when a horse works hard this long coat becomes soaked with sweat, becoming heavy, uncomfortable and taking a very long time to dry out.

Clipping shortens the coat to a bit below its summer length, allowing quicker evaporation of seat, more rapid drying and easier grooming. So while clipping gives the horse and owner the freedom to continue their work minus the discomfort of long thick coats, it doesn't mean less work for their human partners!

Full on stabling, careful rugging, ensuring the horse is kept warm at all times, by warm we don't mean stuffy - it is so important that the horses coat can breathe, any rug that claims to trap heat or cause heating should be avoided for your horses health. Ideally pure cotton as the first layer, and then pure woollen rugs is not unusual to see freshly clipped horses standing around pre-comps waiting for their turn to compete whilst their human counterparts have layer upon layer on to keep out the winter chills! Clipping horses and after care has to also mean using a lot of common sense.

What style of clip

Not all of us need or want to do the full body clip, if you have no stable or your horse is not in full work there are variations of clipping patterns which will allow your horse to work in comfort and still stay warm in the paddock with the use of an extra rug or two, we strongly recommend that the clip you do suits what type of work and the conditions that you can supply for your horse.

For those riders that have limited time and may only ride a few times a week, one of the trace clips shown are more suited, the Strip Clip is ideal for those with agisted horses, and who cant regulate body tempeture by applying more or less rugs thru the day or week.

If you decide on one of the trace clips shown, drawing a chalk line of the pattern on the horse so it's even before you begin is an excellent idea.

When to clip

When to clip will depend on reason you need to clip, the show horse that is been prepared for a upcoming Royal will be given a full body clip just as their natural coat shows signs of shifting, other horses used for performance will be clipped as required, sometimes they even maybe clipped twice in the one season.

Once the decision is made, make sure the horse has been washed clean, and is fully dry before you begin. A clean horse is less likely to get those tell tale clip lines.

Make long strokes with the clippers, overlapping each stroke with the next, Always work against they lay of the hair, and use fairly firm, even pressure.

Clip tips

We prefer to use a freshly sharpened pair of blades for each horse this gives a better chance of a nice clean job.

When clipping near the mane, run the blades as near as possible to the base of the hair. To help safe guard from taking any mane with yo as you go, divide the mane into section and secure into pony tails that way you can just grab a section of mane as you go and hold it out of the way.

Keeping the blades on a slight angle means they will cut evenly, even though you may not be running them against the lay of the hair. For difficult spots, stretch the skin to remove any wrinkles, and have helper to stretch the legs forward.

Keeping the blades clean and cool through clipping will also ensure a far better end result

After Care of the horse

Personally when we used to clip, the horse would be given a nice warm bath after the job, (lucky to have the facilities of fully enclosed wash room) and then the horse was completely dried before been rugged up and into awaiting stable. If you have no fully enclosed washroom and the day is a winter's nightmare, then fully groom the horse - ensure you give him a good old fashion, lots of elbow grease with a soft brush groom. Then with a towel, pretend your drying him off, this will hopefully remove any residue and extra hair that's lying around.

Groom and groom ....okay so you have removed the winter woollies, grooming may  seem like a waste of time but if you want the new coat to be brilliant then don't spare the elbow grease.

Out and about ...there are some mornings or days that the weather is a real gem ...not.  Cold winds, brisk chills and rain but the horse still has to be worked, we have always used quarter sheets here - finding that apart from keeping the horses back dry and warm, they head off the chill and cold winds. For those interested Q-Sheets by Happy Horse Rugs have a excellent waterproof model that can be taken on and of without unsaddling.

Care of your clippers

Buying a set of clippers is an investment and with proper care a good set can last many years. During clipping, dip the blades of the clippers [only the tips of blades]  into an equal mixture of oil/kerosene while they are still running. Take them out and hold the upside down to allow any excess to run out, wipe the blades and then continue on with your job. When finished fully clean the clippers as shown, apart from this been a normal thing to do it will also ensure your clippers keep up in performance.  

Article: Eques