Whether you do it yourself, or hire a professional, clipping is an important and sometimes complicated process for horses in work during the cold months. We’ve got some facts, tips and tricks that even a seasoned clipper may not have thought of!
-Make sure you have a sturdy stool without a handle on top. If your horse starts getting agitated, the last thing you want is to get your foot caught during a “hasty dismount”!
-Nervous horses may prefer you to switch sides periodically, instead of clipping one complete side and then the other.
-The dreaded clipper lines can be caused by dull blades, too much pressure, uneven pressure or a dirty horse.
-Use a pieces of chalk to “map out” your clip beforehand. To get the lines even on both sides, you can use a piece of string or tape measure and measure down from the horse’s topline.
-If you can’t give your horse a full bath beforehand, spend a good chunk of time currying like hell! Spots that get the most dander build up are their rumps and foreheads.
-Beware the ticklish spots: behind their elbows, their belly around their stifles and in between their back legs.
-Dress the part: It might feel silly to be wearing a raincoat, rain pants and baseball cap inside, but clipped horse hairs are terribly “pokey” and almost impossible to get out of your clothes!
-Don’t be alone: even is your horse is totally used to clipping, make sure you’re clipping when there’s at least another person hanging around the barn, in case things go haywire (fingers crossed it doesn’t!).
If you’re bringing in a professional:
-The cleaner your horse is, the better the clip will look and the more the pro clipper will like you! See cleaning tips above.
-Yes, it’s very annoying to stand there for two hours, but unless your horse is the type to take a nap during clipping, it’s easier on everyone to have an extra pair of hands for holding and soothing your darling pony.
-Watch and learn: Clipping, when you get the hang of it, is a nice extension of grooming in terms of forming a stronger bond with your horse. Paying close attention to the pro when they’re clipping is valuable for learning to do it yourself. They may even be willing to “teach” you a bit!