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Tips and Tricks for clipping your horse

Updated: Nov 1, 2023

Clipping your horse can make a wonderful overall appearance in just a short while. Almost all competitive and amateur riders clip their horses, whether it’s a simple trace clip or an all over, completely bald look. Lots of people get a professional groom in to do the deadly deed, but with a bit of help and guidance you can do it yourself with our helpful tips and tricks for clipping your horse.

A woman clipping a hiary horse
Tips and Tricks for Clipping your Horse

Firstly, you need to purchase a good quality professional set off horse clippers, and that’s where Clipit Grooming can advise you on. Clipping your horse is a bit of an art, and getting a smooth even crisp finish with balanced lines is what you need to achieve. There is nothing better that having the feeling of achievement in clipping your horse, but here is some advice that is worth following...

Prepare the clipping area

Ideally choose an area that is undercover has good natural light and is near an electrical point if one is required. If you are using a main powered horse clipper, make sure you use a circuit breaker. This will help prevent a serious accident if the horse were to stand on the wire.

Preparing the horse for clipping

If you know you want to clip your horse the next day, it is advisable to groom or bath them the day before to make sure the coat is clean and free from dirt and mud which will quickly clog and blunt your clipper blades. Using a product like Equaderm, leaves oil in the coat, which helps your clipper run smoother, at the same time helps with not leaving lines.

Horse shampoo
Equaderm Horse Shampoo prevents lines left in the coat.

Leave your horse in the stable overnight and an hour before clipping take their rug off to allow the coat to breath.

If you horse is known to be fidgety then it may be advisable to stand them with a hay net to help keep them occupied. If you don’t feel confident clipping by eye, draw lines on your horse with a piece of white chalk to ensure the lines are even and balanced on both sides. If you are considering a hunter clip, draw around the saddle and it will give you shape.

Preparing your clippers

Set up your clippers in advance and test that they run OK. Clipper blades should always be clean and sharp and not left to corrode from the previous clipping season.

Check that the blades are correctly tensioned. Remember tensioning works better with less pressure than too much.

· Turn the tension nut clockwise until it feels tight and then loosen the tension nut back 2 ½ times.

· Try on the coat and if it is not cutting, turn a ¼ turn and then a further ¼ turn until the blades are cutting.

· If they are too tight they will wear out sooner and put pressure on your clipper motor.

Some clippers run on mains power, and others run from a handy battery pack.

How to clip your horse

With any horse it is always best to run the clippers first so the horse gets use to the noise. Place them on the shoulder so they get accustomed to the noise and vibration. Clip the neck and shoulder first as it’s the less sensitive area. Use long smooth strokes against the lie of the hair growth, and overlap each stroke slightly to achieve a smooth finish. When clipping between your horse’s legs and around the elbows it is always handy to have someone at hand to lift the leg so the skin is pulled tight. When clipping towards the horse’s mane push the mane to the other side to help prevent clipping into the mane hair and causing unsightly spikes.

Aftercare when clipping your horse

When you have finished clipping, give the horse a wipe down with a stable rubber wrung through with warm water to help remove the coat grease and sooth the skin. Stand back and look at what you have achieved. Should you have missed any stray hairs, this is when you should just run the clippers back over that area.

Help and advice with clipping your horse

If at any time while you are clipping your experience some problems with your equipment, always remember the following: My blades won’t cut

· The tension might be too slack.

· They may be blunt and need replacing with a sharp set.

My clippers won’t turn on

· Check to see if the fuse has blown.

· Check to see if the thermal cut out switch has popped out and needs resetting.

· Check the mains cable for damage.

My machine is getting too hot

· Check the blade tensioning, if they are too tight the blades will get hot and the heat will back up into the hand piece.

· Check the air vents are free from hair.

My blades are getting very hot

· Ensure your blades are properly oiled with Clipit Easi Oil. They should be oiled before, during and after clipping. You cannot over oil your blades!

· Check the tensioning on the clipper.

Looking after your horse clipping blades and clippers

Clippers and blades are expensive, so it’s important to look after them correctly. To clean and oil the blades you need to remove as much hair as possible with a good sturdy brush, such as a clipper brush. Use Clipit Ice Care Spray to sterilise, de-odorise and sanitise your equipment. Clipper blades should always be oiled with Clipit Easi Oil Spray, which is a micro-fine lubricant for easy use. It is quick to apply, providing fast lubrication to keep clipper blades cool and to help prevent rusting. The spray is designed to help lengthen the period between sharpening.

A woman clipping a horse wearing a Clipit Suit.
Protect your skin with a Clipit Suit


Clipping your horse is a skill that can be learnt quickly and by anyone. With helpful tips and tricks, you can make the experience a pleasant one for both you and your horse. Always remember to prepare the area, your equipment and the aftercare of both your horse and clippers.


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