A horse's long natural coat serves him well when he lives a natural outdoor life, it can be a handicap to a working horse and a problem to the groom/owner. So what is the best suited clip for your horse?
The long winter coat is designed for warmth and insulation, not cooling. When a horse works hard, his long coat becomes soaked with sweat and is heavy, creating un-comfort. The heavy winter coat is difficult to groom, as the body brush does not penetrate thick winter hair well, and the dandy brush only brings more scurf and dandruff to the surface,
Clipping shortens the coat to a bit below its summer length. It permits quicker evaporation of sweat, more rapid drying and easier grooming, besides making the hose more comfortable while working and improving his appearance. While clipping will save some time and effort in grooming, it will require that you keep your horse blanketed according to the temperature, and clipping sometimes temporarily changes the coat colour.
Body clips range from the full clip or all over body clip usually done on show horses to partial clips that leave the horse with much of his natural cold weather protection but shorten the coat over the places that sweat the most. A hunter clip is used on hunters that are standing around a lot, the body and head are clipped but the long hair is left on the legs and the saddle patch in the shape of a saddle, which protects the skin on the back.
A trace clip may be extended to include part or all of the head and neck, or along the lower edge of the hindquarters. A high trace clip includes at least part of the neck and shoulder, and brings the line of the clip higher up on the belly.
For best appearance, and so that you will not have to repeat the clip again too soon, it is best to wait until October when the horse's coat is well established and the summer coat has shed. For tips and tricks for clipping your horse, click here.
If you start to clip earlier, you will probably need to clip every 6 weeks, although this varies from horse to horse and according to the climate. A full clip will usually grow out completely in about three months.