What are some tips about clipping faces and legs?
Well, I like to clip legs (usually) year round from the knees and hocks down. This makes them easier to clean, and it looks nice if you show. The down side is that bugs can bite easier, so your horse's living conditions play a role. You will need to be extra diligent about fly control.
I like to clip faces on bays, blacks, and chestnuts when I body clip for winter due to the color change of clipped hairs. My gray looks the same color clipped and long, so for him I blend the hairs on the cheeks when I body clip. Some horses are clipped for show year round, in which case their faces are generally clipped as well.
Be smart about safety when you are clipping. Always touch your horse, keep your knees off the ground, and use cross ties. Cordless clippers are great for legs and faces to avoid tangles.
Clipped legs are wonderfully easy to clean. Downsides include sun and bug sensitivity - so this may not be right for your horse's living environment!
For legs, once you get the swing, it's pretty easy to clip them. If I'm pressed for time, I'll just do the coronary band to fetlock and do the rest later. It's important to remember that most horses are a totally different color when clipped, and the longer you can leave the hair, the easier it is to blend around the knees and hocks. Pick a clipper that leaves a little bit of hair for coverage, no need to prep for surgery. You can refer to this article to learn about clipper blades and what size to pick.
When clipping, it's best to go against the direction of hair growth, until you get close to the areas you need to blend. Then, go with the direction of hair growth. For the tendon areas, you can pull the skin to the left and right to get the hairs that grow in between.
You don't have to clip all the way down on the legs, sometimes it's just fine to trim up the fetlocks. (Video below)
Clip a clean and dry horse, and use super sharp clippers! This minimizes tugging and skipping of the clippers. Oil and cool often for your horse's comfort. If you are worried about major color change, start with clipper blades that leave the hair a bit longer. You can always go back again with another blade to make the hair shorter. Be warned that a super short clip on "chrome" legs can leave your buddy open to sunburn on the legs, face, ears, etc.
Gobelin is taking a break from body clipping! Next to clip is his face, to match his body's new color.
Hudson's face is clipped, except for the sensitive skin around his eyes. The hair is quite short there anyway, so no need to risk a wayward clipper mark.
On the face, your best bet is to use a small clipper and small blade, such as the ones that are good for ears. I like these clippers because they are super quiet. Go nice and slow and lots of positive reward. You can see from the photo above how different clipped and non clipped hair can be, so for darker horses it's likely you need to clip the face if you do a full body clip.
What are your tips for clipping legs and faces?