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Clipping your Horse 101

Updated: Nov 20, 2021

Now that we are at the end of our lush, long, warm Summer days, our horses and ponies are now growing their long dense fur ready for the cold, wet winter months ahead.

It is also that time of year when our horses start to resemble sweaty teddy bears after exercise, so clipping your horse can be a useful option to help reduce excessive sweating allowing them to dry quicker.


De-sensitizing your Horse with Clippers

When clipping horses and ponies that haven't been clipped much or at all in their lifetime, ensure you always wear a Riding Hat for safety and spend time de-sensitizing your horse.

De-sensitizing can be a long process but it is imperative you do not rush it and do it at your horse's pace if you go straight in, it could result in you or your horse getting an injury and could make clipping harder for your horse to get used to in the future.


Clippers can be very scary objects with their unusual sound and feel, so here are a few steps to help desensitize your horse.

- First, start by letting your horse see the clippers turned off whilst doing daily grooming.

- Next, try turning them on and off so they can hear the sound of them working (allow a safe distance between you and your horse the first time you do this).

- After they are on and only when your horse is calm and relaxed, try holding them closer until you can touch the clipper (not the blade end) on your horse's shoulder and very slowly work your way towards the sensitive areas such as under the belly and head area.

- Finally, try a patch test on your horse.

We would advise going through this process on a calm day over a period of time, add positive reinforcement so your horse associates it with a good experience such as giving your horse a treat, using a Likit (these are also great for distraction), and just positive calm words.


Some horses require sedation for clipping so please treat each horse individually, for further advice please speak to a professional and consider getting a professional to clip for you.


What clip should my Horse have?

When it comes to choosing what style of clip would be suitable for your Horse, think about what workload your horse is doing, does he/she live in or out during the colder months, how you plan to rug your horse (click here to see our blog on 'What Rug to put on my Horse').


To make it easier for you to decide which clip to do, check out our quick clip guide below:


Heavy Work/Competing

The Full Clip

The Full Clip is where all the fur is removed including areas such as the legs, head, and ears, this clip is great for horses in heavy work or competing as it allows the horse to dry quickly and reduces sweating.

The Hunter Clip

This clip is where all fur is removed except for the legs and the area of which the saddle will sit, it is most popular for horses that go hunting as it gives extra warmth and protection to the horse's legs and allows the body to dry out quickly.

Medium Work

The Blanket Clip

The Blanket Clip is where the fur is left on the legs and where an exercise sheet would be placed on the horses back, this clip is great for medium work as it offers warmth and protection on the legs and main part of the horse's body whilst keeping the neck and underbelly cool.


Medium-Light Work

The Irish Clip

The Irish Clip is where the horse's fur has been clipped from the neck to behind the elbows, leaving fur on the legs and back for keeping warmth, a great clip for light/medium work.

The Trace Clip

The Trace Clip is where the fur is removed from the underside of the horse's neck, chest, and belly, another great clip for light/medium work.


Light Work

The Bib Clip

The Bib Clip is where fur is only clipped from the neck and chest area however some owners also clip where the girth area too, this is a really good clip for horses who are in light work and mostly living out as this clip still keeps most of the fur on the body and legs for warmth and protection.


5 Tips to Pre-Clipping your Horse

1- Check your clippers and kit are in good working order, there's nothing worse when you are mid-clip to find the clippers aren't working correctly, the battery isn't holding its charge, your blades are blunt or you have run out of chalk to draw your outline!


2- Rug at the ready! - If you are giving your horse a full clip or hunter clip it is worth remembering that your horse will feel the cold so always have a rug to hand to put on especially if the temperature starts to drop mid-clip.


3- Pick the right time - It is best to clip your horse when you are not having to rush back home and when the weather is calm/settled, you and your horse will be much more at ease when you arent clock watching and bad weather isn't due in - clipping your horse when he is is being a fidget always results in wonky lines!!


4- Hair Ties and Tail Bandages, to keep your horse's mane and tail from being accidentally clipped, wrap your horse's tail with a tail bandage to keep those flyaways down and braid your horse's mane to keep it out of the way too.


5- As we all know how much we wear our horse's fur during 'shedding season' Take a change of clothes or wear some overalls so you don't end up resembling your four-legged friend after you have finished.


Need new clippers or just some oil? don't panic we have got you covered click here to see our Clipper & Accessories page.


If you have any other tips or suggestions when clipping your horse please do comment below - Be safe and happy clipping!


Click here to visit our other blog posts.


This blog is for informational purposes only, please seek a professional for advice.


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