A woolly winter coat might be a necessary survival tool in the wild, but it's often more of a hindrance for domesticated horses. Here are 16 great tips to help you achieve the perfect clip.
Clipping your horse will keep him keep cool when he's working as excess sweat can lead to discomfort, loss of condition and an increased risk of him catching a chill. Always keep in mind a horse that is not clipped will take longer to dry.
Top Clipping Tips
1. Make sure your clipper blades are sharp and clean before you start. Dirty blades will heat up quickly and will not cut effectively. It's always a good idea to have a spare set as a back up plan.
2. If it's warm enough bath him the previous day. If the weather is too cold for a bath consider using the Clipit Clipping Oil
3. Choose to clip on a bright day and in a well-lit area. Start early, so you finish in good day light. If you're clipping in a stable, rake back the bedding so it's easier to tidy up the clipped hair when you are finished. Rubber mats on the floor will also help to insulate in the event of an electrical fault.
4. Wear a pair of overalls such as the Clipit suit, as clipped hair is very difficult to remove from fabric, particularly fleece. Take off rings and other jewellery to save them from getting covered in clipper oil and hair.
5. Fit a circuit breaker just in case there is an electric fault. If the clipper cable is damaged a circuit breaker will protect you and your horse from potentially a dangerous shock. If you are using an extension lead, roll it out fully so that it doesn't overheat.
6. If you haven't clipped your horse before, take time to let him become accustomed to the clippers. While he is standing in his stable, leave the clippers running so he gets use to the sound.
7. If your horse gets restless or tense give him a hay net to distract him while you're working.
8. Use dressmakers chalk to mark out the edges of your clip if you are doing a blanket or trace clip.
9. The clipper blades will get hot as you work, particularly if the blades are blunt, your horse has a dirty coat or you don't regularly oil the blades as you go. If you can't touch the blades with the back of your hand, then you need to allow the blades to cool down, otherwise you're at risk of burning your horse.
10. Use a step to help you achieve a correct clip along your horse's top line, particularly if he is tall.
11. To get an even clip in the folds of your horse's elbow ask someone to hold his foreleg forwards.
12. If you're taking off a lot of hair, cover your horse with an old cotton sheet to keep him warm. Avoid using a new rug or a fleece, as it will get covered in clipped hair.
13. Consider switching to small trimmers to clip the face and legs. These are quieter and less intrusive than the heavy duty clippers. Our recommendation is the Andis 2 Speed Clipper.
14. Hot cloth your horse when you're done so to remove loose hair clippings and dead skin. Bath him with an antiseptic shampoo will also achieve this if the weather is warm enough and the shampoo will disinfect any nicks or cuts from the blades.
15. When you have finished clipping make sure your clipper blades and clippers are free from hair. Clean and oil your blades before storing them in an airtight container. This means they are ready to use next time you come to clip.
16. You can clip as many times as you need throughout the year to keep your horse comfortable. If you are clipping during the summer month's always protect your horse's skin with a fly rug.
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