How can you make clipping safe? (And I’m not just talking about creating a clip job that looks good so his paddock mates won’t make fun of him.) Clipping can involve more than just a sound sensitive horse paired with funny and loud vibrations.
Here are some tips for making the whole she-bang of horse clipping easier and safer.
FOR YOUR HORSE and FOR YOU:
Acclimatize your horse to the sound and feel of clippers over time, so his first clipping isn’t scary. Use baby steps weeks before to get your horse used to the sound and feel. Reward for relaxation and acceptance!
Distract your horse. If you are doing a marathon clipping session, perhaps a snack in a hay net will help him relax and stay patient.
Grab a buddy to help you. You may not need someone standing with you for the whole process, but for sensitive or ticklish areas it’s safer to have an extra set of hands. Your buddy can also help you unfold the skin layers behind elbows and such to get a good clip job.
Take lots of breaks, allowing your horse to go back to his stall for water or a bathroom break.
Make sure your horse is spotless. Dirt and dander on your horse can damage the clipper blades and subsequently pull, tug, or damage his skin.
Brush the freshly clipped coat often with a soft brush to alleviate the “itchies” that often follow a clipping and create a wiggling beast in the cross ties.
Work in a well lit and ventilated area. But not windy. Your lip balmed lips and your horse’s nose will thank you.
Clip in stages so you don’t get tired and your horse won’t be ridiculous if you need to stop until the next day. So, you may start with the left side. But if you do all of the left side and stop, how do you blanket that? Instead, do the top and leave the bottom for another day, or do the legs and neck one day and the barrel another. Or do a trace clip to try it out, and come back for more hair removal if necessary.
FOR YOUR EQUIPMENT:
Make sure you are working away from water.
Inspect the cord to your clippers for tears in the outer sheath that covers all of the really important stuff inside.
Don’t tangle your horse up with the cord! Avoid plugging in the clippers on the left side and crossing over or under your horse to do the right side. Turn your horse around or find another set of cross ties with the outlet on the other side.
No dull blades! This damages your horse’s coat and makes clipping take forever.
No hot blades! Work with at least two blades so that you can switch them out. (On of the best tips EVER on the proequinegrooms.com website suggests that you have some ice packs to toss the hot blades onto while you continue with a freshly cooled and lubricated blade!)
What clipping tips do you have??