Clipping = the art of removing hair from your horse’s body and transferring it to your own!
It’s that time of year again when the leaves start to fall and the air feels a little fresher. The wind picks up a bit and you feel yourself reaching for an extra layer or two. Then you look up from faffing about on the yard to find that you need to turn on the lights of an evening. That’s right…..Autumn is well and truly upon us and, dare we say it, those cold winter nights will soon be drawing in! Boo hiss!
Another lovely feature of this time of year is that your horse begins to look a little fluffy with their lovely sleek, shiny summer coat beginning to disappear before your eyes. You get back from a ride and notice it’s taking them a little longer to dry off than before. Uh oh, time to dig out those clippers and give your beloved pony a little hair cut!
Love it or loathe it, clipping is an essential part of most horse owners’ winter regime. But never fear, we are here to help with some top tips!
Why do we clip our horses?
Just like us, when horses exercise, their temperature rises and they break out into a sweat to cool themselves down. Their thick winter coats can cause them to sweat profusely, which saturates their coat. We then need to wash them down after exercise to ensure that bacteria does not build up in the coat and cause sores and irritation. However, the winter coat will retain moisture for longer and can cause the horse to catch a chill.
Therefore, we clip to prevent the excess sweating and also to allow the coat to dry quicker after exercise.
Equitogs Top Clipping Tips:
Before tackling your yeti, here are some things to consider:
When to clip?
The horse’s winter coat will probably start to grow towards the end of August, but this can vary depending on the horse and the type of Summer we have had.
Most people tend to start clipping towards the end of September/beginning of October. The second clip then follows around November and the third around late December to January. Remember that your horse’s summer coat can start to grow as early as late January and so, clipping after this point may interfere with the new coat growth; however, it really does depend on the individual.
- Is your horse stabled at night? This can affect the type of clip you decide to do as you may need to leave some of the coat for insulation against the elements.
- How much work is your horse in? Generally, the more work your horse is doing, the more coat needs to come off.
- How much does your horse sweat? If your horse is getting drenched during every ride, then you need to take more coat off.
- Does your horse feel the cold? As the weather gets colder, horses in the wild would naturally lose weight. However, we don’t want our domestic horses to lose too much condition over the winter as we have a workload for them to cope with. Therefore, we need to ensure they can regulate their own temperature effectively by ensuring they have access to good quality forage and that they are rugged as appropriate.
- Is your horse clean? Never clip a dirty horse! Grease and dirt built up in the coat will clog the clipper blades, blunting them and causing them to overheat and pull on the hair.
- Do you have everything you need? Never start clipping unless you are properly prepared, to ensure that you are able to finish the job in one go. Have your clippers been serviced? Have you had your blades sharpened? Do you have spare blades available? Have you stocked up on clipping oil?
- Is your horse nervous? Lots of horses are nervous of being clipped. Remain calm and allow the horse to get used to the sound and feel of the clippers before actually removing any hair. It may be best to start a nervous horse off with just a bib clip initially. Try to give them a positive clipping experience by keeping it short and sweet, giving them food to distract them and having a calm assistant to help reassure them. Sometimes changing sides can calm a horse who is getting a bit twitchy. If your horse really won’t settle, it may be worth considering sedation. This can be obtained via your vet, or alternatively we stock several very effective calmers in store:
- Global Herbs - Supercalm sachets, works within 1-2 hours from feeding.
- Equine America – Super So Kalm syringe, works instantly
- NAF – Magic Calmer syringe, works instantly
- Horse First – RelaxMeNow syringe, works instantly
How to clip:
- Begin with a bib clip (an area on the horse’s chest and underside of the neck) and build the clip up from there. Clip evenly and methodically on both sides of the horse, in case something happens to your clippers during the clip. It’s never a good look to have one half of the horse clipped, whilst the other is still hairy!
- Use long, continuous strokes working up the neck towards the head. Hold the weight of the clippers and do not let yourself press down hard. This will create streaky lines and can upset the horse.
- The clipper must run flat over the coat and against the direction that the hair grows. Overlap each stroke to avoid unsightly lines.
- At the top of the legs clip an inverted "V" following the line of the muscles.
- Always watch the corner of the blades as you may either catch the horse by accident or clip more off than you intended.
- When clipping the face, try using a bridle if only doing half a head to line up the edges with the bridle check pieces. It’s a good idea to use a small clipper for more refined areas such as the head or ears.
- Beware of the clippers getting too hot as it will upset the horse. If the clippers are pulling the hair, it may mean the blades are too tight. Be sure to oil the blades every 10 minutes or so.
- Frequently brush the horse with a soft body brush, to remove fine hair that is left. Once you have finished clipping, give your horse a really good brush to remove all the clipped hair to avoid irritation.
- A great way to get a polished finish on your clip is to wipe the horse over with a hot damp cloth to pick up any dust. Using a body wash really helps to lift the grease from clipping.
- Once you have finished, take a good look over the horse from different angles to make sure all the lines are equal. If your horse comes out in bumps after clipping they may be allergic to the clipper oil
Here at Equitogs, we stock the Clipperman range of clippers and trimmers because we feel they are good value for money, whilst being very effective and efficient clippers. We have something to cover all your clipping bases and below is all you need to know about the range:
Dual speed, wireless battery-operated trimmer, featuring a digital display and a boost button. This is the smallest trimmer in the range and is perfect if you need to do a speedy tidy up of heads, legs and delicate areas.
This super lightweight trimmer is great for nervous horses as it makes less noise and has a lower vibration level than the Jewel. The Jester comes with two rechargeable batteries to allow for continuous use.
This is a meatier trimmer than the Jewel and Jester, it has low noise levels and vibrations making it quiet to use for nervous or young horses. The battery pack is cable free which allows complete freedom whilst clipping. This trimmer is great for trimming and tidying, but would allow you to do a short/quick clip on a normal to fine coated horse.
This is a mains powered trimmer/small clipper, which has two blades; one fine and one wide. Fantastic for clipping horses’ legs and will even tackle the dog, should you so wish!
This is a mains powered 150w clipper set. Very lightweight and easy to hold, these clippers are dual speed, allowing you to reduce the vibrations/noise for clipping sensitive areas as necessary.
One of the most powerful on the market, this battery powered 12v clipper is comparable with a 150w mains clipper set. It comes with two batteries, which are completely cable free, allowing for ease of use and total freedom when clipping.
Very powerful 380w clippers that are mains powered. They are very heavy duty and are just what you need if you have a whole yard to clip.
Clipper Maintenance - this is an essential part of the clipping regime. You must ensure your clippers are serviced regularly so that you can be sure they are in good working order. You can pop into store and we will organise this for you. We can also arrange for your clipper blades to be sharpened.
So, it just remains for us to wish you happy clipping. Here’s hoping you manage to de-hair yourself before spring-time! Embrace it!