With the start of the clipping season not far away, now is the time to do your prep so when you start clipping you can avoid clipping lines on your horse.
Dirty Dull Clipper Blades
The first place to prepare to avoid clipping lines are your clipper blades. Dirty and dull blades will always give you a shabby finish. They will tug at the skin and coat and give the horse an unpleasant experience. When checking to see if your blades need sharpening, always look to see if a tooth has broken off. This leaves a ridge of un-clipped hair behind if the broken blade is used. Most clipper blades can be resharpened , but eventually they reach a point where they will not take a sharp edge and further resharpening is impossible. Any dull blades should be resharpened as a set; replacing only one blade of a set will not work.
Having a Super Clean Horse
If the weather permits, always bath your horse the night before, making sure you wash the roots of the hair and mane as these areas become excessively greasy or full of dandruff. These two elements will make your clipper blades dull and will add to the friction the clipper makes, creating more heat. Read here for why is best to bath your horse
Technique Uneven pressure and having the angle wrong will not help. the bulge at the back of the lower blade should glide easily over the skin with firm pressure, but you should not dig the edge of the blade into the skin or it will create welts. Keep the clippers moving directly against the direction of hair growth. Make long, slow strokes, keeping the lower blade evenly against the skin. Each stroke should overlap the last by 1/2" or so.
- When clipping rounded surfaces, you will have to keep rotating the clippers to keep the blades flat against the skin and cut hair evenly.
- On concave surfaces or loose skin, such as of the throat or the flank, you may have to stretch the skin flat with your other hand in order to have a smooth surface to clip.
Keeping your blades clean and oiled
One set of clipper blades can probably do several body clips if the horse is clean and the blades are kept clean and lubricated, but they will wear out on one clip if the horse is dirty, the tension is improperly adjusted or blade washing and oiling is neglected. Spraying the blades with Clipit Easi Oil, while the blades are running will help reduce friction. Clipit Ice Care Spray will help reduce the buildup of hair, scurf and grease between blades and keep the heat down.
The clipper is not correctly tensioned
A high-pitched, labouring noise indicates that the clipper blade is becoming clogged with hair as you work, or the motor may begin to run hot. If the blades do not cut efficiently, try tightening the tension a quarter turn at a time until you find the tension at which they produce a clean cut. New blades do not need much tension, but the tension screw will need to be tightened as they wear down. Over tightening the tension will cause the blades to heat up and wear down quicker. When the blades will no longer produce a clean cut even with the tension at its tightest, they are too dull to clip and need resharpening.
What to do if your horse has clipper lines
Try going over the area until it is clipped evenly.
Pop on a new set of blades.
Wait a few days for the lines to grow out.