Do I need to use clipper guards when clipping my horse?
Need, no, but you may want to. The (often heated) discussion of clipping a horse vs. letting it be a wooly mammoth has a huge range of in between clipping possibilities. You can opt for a partial clip, a custom air conditioning creation, or even using guards to leave the hair a bit longer. You can trim up the out of control areas, you can only clip the chrome for ease of cleaning. There is no right or wrong - except to keep your horse comfortable through all of the seasons in his own coat.
Clipper guards come in many sizes, leaving different lengths of hair on your horse.
So while you are on the way to designing the best clip pattern for your horse, you might find that having some tools around will help you execute your plan better.
- Clipper guards - these handy snap on attachments let you leave longer lengths of hair on your horse. Clipper blades can leave anywhere from .8 mm to 2.8 mm of hair, but perhaps this isn’t long enough. Adding a guard let’s you leave even more. The higher the number on the guard, the more hair is left.
- Some sort of pen - it’s perfectly fine to mark your horse’s boundaries when you clip. It’s crazy difficult to clip a pattern freehand, so drawing on the pattern is just fine. This doesn’t always work with super long hair, but you can at least have some sort of guide. And you will clip away the pen marks, so no worries there.
- Remember the prep - clipping prep is like painting a room. You spend the most time on getting set up. Start with a clean horse and sharp blades, use clipper oil, and don’t forget to clean your clippers when you are done!
Even the smallest of clippers for cheeks and ears can have a guard.
So why use clipper guards?
- These guys are great when you want an even finish while keeping hair longer. For example, down the back of legs. This area can be out of control furry, the guards keep hair for protection and eliminate the guesswork.
- For blending. In the summer, it’s not unusual for the show horse to have his lower legs clipped for ease of cleaning and presentation. Use guards to help you blend the lower leg into the upper leg. You can also blend a little where the mane meets your horse’s neck.
- For over the top fuzzy horses. Fir horses that have an inappropriately long winter coat, you can use guards to remove some of the coat and still leave enough hair for a winter coat. I have seen this several times with Cushing’s horses, the coats are just too much, even in a cold winter.
- Clipper guards are also helpful around cheeks and jawlines. These areas are prone to the “goat hairs” which can be easily chopped with clippers and a guard. This tidies up your horse’s profile, and stops those wacky long hairs from being caught in bridles and halters.
Have fun with clipping and play around with using clipper guards!