Horse Clipping

Horse Clipping – Which Clip Is Right For Your Horse?

Horse Clipping

So you’re thinking about clipping your horse? It’s important that you plan ahead and decide how much hair you need to remove. Your horse’s hair is an important tool that helps them to regulate their temperature but it can become a nuisance to horses that are regularly exercised. If your horse has lots of hair they are more likely to sweat when worked and this can become a bigger issue in winter as you don’t want to run the risk of them catching a chill. This is why people clip their horses, to reduce the chance of their horse sweating. This blog is here to offer advice on horse clipping and the different types of clip so you can select the best one for your horse.


The Types Of Clip:

For horses in light work:

You’ll want to remove as little hair as possible as and only target the particular areas that get sweaty. Common areas for sweating are the chest, between the front legs and the girth area. If your horse isn’t going to be doing anything too strenuous or if they won’t be working regularly you may want to consider one of the clips below. If you take very little hair off then you can opt for lighter weight rugs throughout winter.


Horse Clipping
Bib Clip – Just the lower neck, chest & between the front legs is removed.


Horse Clipping
Strip/Neck & Belly Clip – Hair is removed from the lower neck, chest and the belly.


For horses in medium work:

The above clips may not be enough. Often the neck can get sweaty so it is a good idea to remove hair from that area. Below are some of the options you could go for. The more work they do the more hair you may want to remove. These clips allow you to leave hair on areas that aren’t particularly prone to sweating for additional warmth when needed. With these clips, it’s optional if you want to keep their head unclipped, clip half of the head following the line where the bridle would sit, or even remove all hair from the head. It is advised not to remove your horses whiskers as these help your horse with spatial awareness though some show horses have them trimmed.

Horse Clipping
Irish Clip – Half of the neck, the shoulders and the belly is removed in a diagonal line.
Horse Clipping
Trace Clip – Hair is removed from half of the neck, the shoulders, the belly and a section of the hind quarters.
Horse Clipping
Blanket Clip – The entire neck is clipped along with the shoulders, belly and part of the hind quarters.

For horses in heavy work:

If your horse works hard and regularly you will want to remove the majority of hair. Again, it is up to you if you want to clip the head or leave some hair on. You may want to leave hair on the legs to offer protection when turned out or if you have a traditional cob with lots of feather. If you are doing one of the below clips you should leave a small triangle at the top of the tail to avoid removing any essential tail hair.

Hunter Clip – All body hair is removed bar a saddle-shaped patch. Traditionally legs are left unclipped.
Full Clip – All body hair is removed.


Horse Clipping Top Tips:

Unsure when to clip your horse?

Some horses who compete to a high level are clipped all year round. Traditionally, horses are clipped over the colder seasons and then their summer coats are left untouched. People often first clip their horses around the end of September or in October when their winter coats have come through. It is best not to get too caught up on the exact dates and to clip your horse when needed. Some horses will need re-clipping often throughout winter while others may only need doing twice. If you aren’t clipping your horse year-round then you should try not to clip after the end of February so as not to damage your horse’s summer coat.


Horse Clipping - Always clip a clean horseAlways clip a clean horse!

Clipping a dirty horse can be tough on your clippers and can make blades blunt. A clean horse will also have less blade lines left in their coat. Before clipping also make sure your blades are sharp by either sending them off to be sharpened or buying a new set.


Be sure to wear sensible clothes.

Trust us, unless you want to end the day looking like a hairy monster we’d recommend not wearing fleece! You will get hair on you, that’s pretty much guaranteed, so wear clothes you don’t mind getting messy. Overalls are a great idea for horse clipping. The addition of a scarf or snood can prevent unwanted hair getting down the back of your neck.


The area you clip in is very important.

It needs to be light and your horse needs to feel comfortable. You might want to give them a haynet so there should be somewhere to tie this. You’ll need to be able to move around the space easily and not have any wires getting in the way as trip hazards.


Horse Clipping - Use small trimmers for tricky areasUse small clippers for tricky areas.

Having a set of small clippers to use on difficult areas are on the head  is a good idea. They are often quieter than big clippers and so are less intrusive around the face. They are also a lot easier to manoeuvre around fiddle areas.


Ask someone to help.

A helper can make clipping a lot easier even if you’re a seasoned professional. They can hold manoeuvre your horse and hold legs for you. The can also help to calm the horse if it gets a little nervy.


Keep your blades cool.

It is really important that you don’t let your clippers overheat. Be sure to have regular breaks and to oil your clippers on each on. You also want to make sure the blades aren’t too hot against your horse’s skin. If they feel hot when you hold them against the skin on the back of your hand wait for them to cool before continuing.


Horse Clipping - brush your horse after clipping to remove hairWhat to do after clipping.

Once you’ve finished clipping, be sure to brush off any loose hair. Just think, if you don’t want it under your clothes getting itchy, your horse won’t want prickly hair under their rug. It’s a good idea to use a cloth and some warm water to wipe them down to remove any of the last hair or any grease from the coat. Once you’ve finished put your horse’s rug on straight away. Then it’s time to clean your clippers and put them away ready to use again next time.



Images of the clip types are from Absorbine, you can shop Absorbine products by clicking here. The clipping images are from Clipperman, you can shop Clipperman products by clicking here.

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