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How to clip your horses' head.

Updated: Jul 24, 2023

To achieve the best results when clipping your horse's head you would be best using a set of small dog grooming clippers with a #10 clipper blade, something like the Clipit Quattro Cordless Clipper. These clippers are by far the easiest way of getting a good job done, however a fair result can be obtained with scissors and a comb and a lot of patience.

The Clipit Quattro Cordless Clipper
A #10 Clipper Blade is Recommended.

Don't try to trim your horse with ordinary scissors alone; first, it isn't safe - you can poke the sharp points into the horse easily if he moves or jumps - and secondly, you will have an uneven, amateurish-looking job when you finish.

If you must use scissors, use a comb to lift the hair and snip it off; this will give a smoother surface and protects the horse from an accidental jab.

When clipping the head, a good head collar which unsnaps at the throat lash is helpful. The horse should be groomed and cleaned before you start to trim him, as wet, muddy or dirty hair is impossible to trim neatly. The clipper blades must also be sharp or they will do a poor job.

How to Clip a Horse's Head

  1. With the #10 blade, trim the hair from the sides and underside of the lower jaw. Work in the direction of the hair growth, with the blades held in the "trimming" position. You may also hold the blades in the "brushing" position (see picture) to trim the hair around the tendons and indentations of the lower face and jaw. Turn the blades around into the "clipping" position and clip closely along the bottom edge and between the bones of the jaw, clipping upward, against the direction of the hair growth.

  2. To clip the ears, hold the ear in one hand and clip along the outer edges. You will have to clip downward on the upper part of the ear and upward along the lower curve of the ear. Do not clip the tips of the ear, leave a natural point.

  1. If you plan to clip the inside of the ear clean, first place a large piece of cotton wool in the ear to deaden the noise of the clippers to keep hair from falling down inside the ear.

Clip the bridle path by clipping forward, from the starting point of the bridle path, to just behind the bump of the poll. The basic bridle path is no more than 1". Clipping forward helps prevent the bridle path from getting longer each time it is trimmed.

How much of the head should you clip?

Depending on what you do with your horse and how he lives will impact on how much hair you should take off the head. Horses living outside should not have their heads clipped, unless a full, insulated hood is worn.

Clipping the face you should pop on a #10 blade (finer blades will remove too much hair, giving the face a bald, scalped appearance) Clipping against the direction of hair growth, clip the sides of the lower face up to the check bone.

Clipping whiskers has now been outlawed by the FEI from July 2021. The new rule, part of the Veterinary Regulations covers sports horses competing internationally under the FEI rules for all disciplines.

Carefully work down the face towards the eye, taking note of the direction of hair growth. Be extra careful at the eye sockets. the horse has a pocket above each eye that you will need to be careful in scooping out. When clipping near the eye, put your thumb over the eye, gently holding it closed. This protects the eyeball from the clippers and stretches the skin so it is smoother and easier to clip.

Never clip the eyelashes or the hair inside the nostrils!

Take note of whorls and the way in which the hair grows. You will need to clip into the centre whorl from each direction.

To discover more on how to clip your horse, please click here

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