How can I make clipping my horse an easier task?
Clipping may be right for your horse in the colder months. You will need to decide, based on a few factors, if clipping is something that you want to undertake. Consider the following: the weather where you live, your horse’s living conditions, and how much work your horse is in.
If you keep your horse fit and exercised in the winter months, I would suggest a clip that is appropriate for your climate. For example, I like a trace clip in parts of the country that get COLD. Clipping hair from the sweaty parts of your horse will help him be comfortable and dry quickly and safely after exercise. The remaining hair will also help to keep him naturally warmer and limit the need for massive blanketing.
Well oiled and sharp clipper blades are KEY!
In the southern areas of the country, where it’s typically warmer in the winter, a full body clip is appropriate if your horse is in full work during the winter. If your horse lives out all the time, or is stalled all the time, you may make some variations on these guidelines. So - you have decided on a clip - and you have clippers ready to go. Here are some practical clipping tips for you!
- Clip a squeaky clean and dry horse. Your blades, your horse, and the hair will thank you. Apply some Magic Sheen to your horse to make things go even smoother.
- Use clipper oil often and generously. Supplement with an aerosol cooling product. This will save your blades and also prevent the blades from heating up and harming your horse.
You can toss hot blades on an ice pack to cool them off. This is great if you have more than one blade, no time wasted!
- DO NOT apply any sort of lip balm during the clipping process. Trust me on this one.
- Wear protective clothing. You can use a trash bag, scrubs, or a hospital gown type of garment to prevent that wacky hair from flying and getting lodged everywhere. And I mean everywhere.
- Do take breaks. You horse may want to pee, grab some water, or just chill for a bit.
- You can clip over a few days, if time is tight. However - do either top then bottom or bottom then top so that your blanketing will be OK overnight until you can finish. If you do right side then left side, you have to figure out a blanket for a hairy right side and a naked left side.
- Take your time, and go over your “tracks”. This will prevent lines.
- Work against the grain of the hair or at a diagonal.
- If you want to leave a patch of hair for under the saddle, which I suggest, you can use a marker or crayon to draw the pattern on. You will clip it off, so no big deal.
- Teach your spouse to clip. This will come in handy. My husband mastered clipping before he figured out that this was a skill that would ultimately force him to help me out with this task.
- Don’t worry if your first attempts at a clip job stink. In a few days, you won’t be able to tell.
- Follow up with a conditioning treatment for your horse. Clipping takes off some of the shine as the blunt ends of cut hair are revealed, so plan on some "spa pampering".
Light oil is a great post clip conditioner.
What tips do you have??