Horses are clipped to avoid getting hot and sweaty and also cold and damp in the winter.  This may lead to the horse losing weight and condition.

Types of Clips:

BIB CLIP - Hair is removed from the breast, up the gullet and sometimes the throat/jaw area. For horses in light work.

BLANKET CLIP - Hair is removed from head, neck and breast, part of the shoulders, the belly and round the tops of all four legs. Mainly used for stabled horses in training.

CHASER CLIP / RACEHORSE CLIP - This is like a high trace clip with the line tapered up to behind the ears, the head is also clipped. This clip is useful for horses who may kick or who sweat more in front than behind. This is a popular alternative to the trace clip used for horses stabled at night.

FULL CLIP - All hair is clipped. For stabled horses in heavy work.

HUNTER CLIP - Hair is left on the legs and saddle patch. The coat left on the legs acts as protection against cold, mud, cracked heels and injury from thorns.  The saddle patch saves the back from sores.  Used for stabled hunters.

IRISH CLIP - Similar to a TRACE CLIP but with the hair left on round the tops of the hind legs.

TRACE CLIP - Hair is removed from the underside of the neck, the breast, belly and around the tops of all four legs. sometimes the cheek-bones are clipped out in line with the bridle cheek pieces.  This clip can be used for horses in semi-hard work, kept mostly  at grass.  It is also a common form of clip for harness horses.
















Points to take into consideration before clipping

  • Remember clipping is an unnatural experience for a horse. Show the horse the clippers and run them over his body before turning them on, then turn the clippers on and check your horse's reaction to the noise. Let him get used to the sound.
  • Let the horse get used to the vibration by putting your hand on his shoulder and the clippers onto your forearm. Run the clippers over his body before cutting any hair.
  • Use a fully adjustable head collar to avoid losing control of the horse.
  • Make sure that the horse is clean and dry and that there are no cuts or scabs that the clipper could nick.
  • Mark out the clip with chalk, saddle soap or a permanent marker (the ink should wear off after a couple of days). Drawing round a saddle cloth or numnah can be a good idea.
  • Putting a tail bandage on and plaiting the mane will help to keep the hair out of the way.
  • Drape a piece of weighted string over the horse to ensure both sides of a clip start in the same place.
  • With a very unwilling horse sedation by your vet may be required. (Sedation may cause sweating which may make clipping difficult).
  • Let a novice horse watch other horses being clipped.
  • The first clip of the season is usually made in October with the last clip before the 1st February.

Consider the following before clipping

  • Is your horse going to be doing enough work?
  • Have you enough rugs and the time to rug to keep him/her warm?
  • Will the horse be stabled at night?
  • What is the best type of clip for your horse?
  • Would it be better and cheaper to get someone else to do the clipping? 
  • Depending on breed and thickness of coat a horse may need to be clipped every six weeks, are you able to do that?

Maintence of clippers

  • Read the manufacturer's instruction book before you start to clip.
  • Keep your clippers in a dry place.
  • Remove hair from under the blades and oil any moving parts. Also remove the hair from the filters during use, this helps keep the clippers cool.
  • Remove the blades (keep them in pairs as they are manufactured in pairs) and clean and oil them.  Wash the filters in soapy water, but don't let the water near the clippers and make sure that the filters are dry before you put them back. When finished clipping get the blades sharpened so they are ready for the next time (the blades should last between 5-10 clips between sharpening).
  • Keep your blades sharp - Overheating creates more friction of clipper blade parts causing wear, and increases the chance of clipper burn.
  • Lubricate with clipper oil during use. Aerosols do not always lubricate the blades sufficiently.
  • Don't dip the clippers in an oil bath as the oil may drip into the motor and damage the clippers.
  • Don't over tighten the tension screw as you may increase the wear and overheat the blades. 
  • Once a year, or every 100 hours, remove the head from the clippers, clean out any hair and apply grease to the gears.
  • Check that the cable is not damaged.

Saftey way clipping your horses

  • With mains powered clippers always use a circuit breaker.
  • Where extensions are used make sure that that the lead is kept well away from the horses legs and any buckets of water.
  • Choose a well lit stable with a non-slip floor.
  • Remove all objects that your horse could stumble over, such as water buckets.
  • Ask a friend to hold the horse.
  • Avoid clipping outside if it is wet and windy. Choose a mild day and a quiet time on the yard.
  • Check your clippers for any exposed or loose wires.
  • If your horse has a tendency to kick pick up the legs to clip them, or get someone to hold up a foreleg.  Fastening an old rug the wrong way round the front of the chest and then buckle over the withers.  This will cushion any kicks from the forelegs.
  • Wear a hard hat and leather chaps if you think the horse may cause trouble. 

Items you will need:

  • One set of clippers.
  • One set of sharp blades.
  • A circuit breaker.
  • A dry, quiet, wind free, well lit area to work in which has a non-slip floor. Clip in a familiar place to avoid upsetting the horse.
  • A can of lubricant.
  • A helper for the awkward bits.
  • Protective clothing - the hair will get everywhere. Steel toe-capped boots may prove a good idea.
  • Keep a stable rug handy to cover the horse as you clip.
  • A body brush is useful to brush off any loose hair.

Tips on Clipping

  • Before you start talk to your horse and run the clippers so that the horse gets used to the noise.
  • Start clipping at the horse's shoulder as this is a less sensitive area. Place the clippers on top of your hand so the horse feels the vibrations through your hand.
  • Place your free hand flat on the horse while you work to help calm the horse.
  •  Overlap each stroke to avoid any "tram lines". While clipping the body, the clippers must run flat over the coat, don’t use too much pressure otherwise you will create lines known as ‘tram-lines’.  On the other hand, when clipping the legs and face you will need to clip against the hair as it is shorter than the rest of the hair on the horse’s body. 
  • Always clip against the direction that the hair grows in and if possible use long, continuous strokes with the blades flat against the skin. Work up the neck towards the head.
  • Clip an inverted "V" at the top of the front legs, the "V" should follow the line of the muscles at the top of the leg.
  • To neaten straight lines clip into it at a 90 degree angle with short strokes. Alternatively, turn the clippers "side-on" so that the blades neatly cut along the jagged edge.
  • Ask a friend to help you clip the awkward places such as behind the elbow.  Pull the skin taught to avoid nicking the skin.
  • Clip a line at the top of the hind legs to follow the muscles towards the stifle.
  • Use a tail bandage and plait the mane to ensure that the tail hairs don't get caught up.
  • Don't leave the head until last. Start clipping the head by working from the chin groove up to the throat. Us a bridle on the horse to line up the edge of the clip with the bridle cheek piece.
  • Don't clip the mane or go too close to the mane line.
  • Stop clipping if the blades are hot, it will upset the horse, pull the hair and may mean that the blades are too tight.
  • If your horse comes out in bumps after clipping he/she may be allergic to the clipper oil.
  • Take your time - a rushed job will show.
  • Use a smaller set of clippers for the head and hard to reach areas. Take care though as two different types of clippers on the same horse may result in an uneven finish.
  • Protect the horse's eyes.
  • Stand back and look at what you have done to make sure you are clipping straight.
  • Clip the front and back legs to the same level.

Taken From Horse Data

Pictures From New Rider

The Equine

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