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How to Clip and Trim your Horse's Legs

Updated: Jul 24, 2023

As with any where on your horse's body the hair should always be groomed and cleaned before you start to clip him, as wet, muddy or dirty hair is impossible to clip neatly. The clipper blades must be sharp or they will do a poor job.

Trimming the Legs To trim the legs, use medium blades - #10,#15

  1. Trim the excess hair from the lower legs by holding the clippers pointing down and running them down the leg, with the blades pointing in the direction of the hair growth. By pressing lightly and evenly, you will clip only the long outer hairs that stick out beyond the surface. Go over the surface of the leg several times, being careful to lift the blades gradually at the end of each stroke. Trimming this way thins the hairs and trims off the excess hair but does not change the colour of the trimmed area. If you press the blades down or take them off the leg abruptly, you will leave a noticeable line on the leg.

  2. Trim the fetlock by picking up the foot and running the clippers around and under the bulge of the fetlock joint. The ergot ( the small, horny growth at the back of the fetlock, similar to a dew claw of a dog) may have to be snipped off close to the skin with scissors to allow you to trim the fetlock hair closely. Trim downward and backward, in the direction of the hair growth.

  3. Reverse the clippers and trim the edge of the hair at the coronary band by clipping upward, making an even edge all around the foot.

  4. If the horse has long hair of feathers at the back of the knee or hock trim this by running the clippers downward, in the direction of hair growth. Blend carefully!

Booting up the legs

"Booting up" means clipping the hair of the legs closely, clipping against the hair growth instead of trimming by running the blades over the legs and downward. This makes the hair shorter and gives the legs a finer appearance, but may change the colour of the hair by exposing the undercoat, sometimes resulting in a raw "scalped" appearance. White legs are often booted up to shorten the hair so that it will not pick up ring dust. The clipped area must be carefully blended at the top, following the contours of the lower edge of booting up, fairly coarse blades should be used. Too finer blades will leave "clipper stripes" where the skin shows through and will leave the legs looking as though they have been shaved for surgery instead of trimmed for show!


  1. Spray Clipit Coat Care Oil into the coat and feathers before starting to attempt to clip. This will help the clipper blades run through the coat smoothly. Find out more by clicking here

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