Why do we clip our horses?
As we all know as soon as Autumn arrives our horses turn into woolly teddy bears, they grow a thicker winter coat. This is perfect for horses that live outside without any rugs, their winter coat will protect them from the elements. That said if your horse is in regular work a winter coat can cause havoc, making him sweat heavily and then cooling off and drying off can become problematic. The last thing you want is for your horse to catch a chill from sweating heavily and then not being able to dry and regulate his temperature.
Horse Clipping minimises sweating and will enable your horse to dry and cool off more effectively. Horse clipping will prevent your horse from catching a chill and it will also cut down on grooming time.
If your horse is living out all winter, it is advisable not to clip and ensure that he has suitable shelter from the elements, such as a field shelter. You may still want to rug up to protect your horse from rain scald, mud and when it gets really cold. Most hardy types have winter coats designed to protect them from the elements, but do keep an eye on how your horse is coping in the weather.
Top Tips for Clipping
Always switch your clippers on away from your horse before calmly walking towards him.
Always start at the shoulder and use long, overlapping strokes that go against the direction of the hair growth.
Always pull the skin tight with your spare hand around folds or wrinkled skin.
Change the angle or direction of your clippers when you come across whirls / whorls.
Check your blades are not getting too hot by testing them on the back of your hand.
Oil and brush your clippers every 10 minutes to help them stay cool and work at their best.
Always have a spare set of blades, do not force blunt blades through the coat.
Sometimes it might be ideal to use a trimmer for areas such as the head and ears, it will be easier for you and more comfortable for your horse.
Never get angry or frustrated with your horse, use your hand over his eye like a blinker when clipping his head or ask your helper / handler to feed him some nuts to keep the horse occupied and settled.
When you have finished brush away any loose hairs, once you are happy you haven’t missed any areas give him a final wipe down with a cloth and hot water to remove any grease.
Remember to rug your horse according to the weather and how much he feels the cold.