I don't clip my horse in the winter. How can I make him more "presentable" while keeping his natural winter coat?
Winter coats on horses are functional and really cute. But sometimes, they are "too cute" with those wacky, extra long, winters hairs they can get. Like around the cheeks and the chestnuts and coronary bands. Here's a quick touch up routine that can spiff up your wooly mammoth. Lickety split. Before people go nuts on anti-clipper this and that, be warned that this article is for cosmetic purposes only. No one is saying you have to do this to your horse, it's simply a way for you to tidy up your horse's winter coat. Great for people who attend clinics, have lessons, show in the winter, are annoyed by the "yak" look.
First order of business - bridle path. Usually, the bridle path is trimmed regularly, so this should be easy to knock out. I prefer to keep a bridle path clipped on horses with wide and thick manes. The excess hair may create a bump on the top of his noggin, which won't allow his bridle to rest evenly and flat against him. It also looks nice - bonus!
Miguel's mane is almost two inches wide - and super thick. His bridle doesn't fit properly without a bridle path, so I trim it up regularly.
While you are up there, let’s address the wacky ear hair that pokes out...it may not be show season where you are, so the ear hair probably has had some time to grow out. I prefer to keep the inner hair exactly where it has grown, but the wispy strands that poke out to the sides make me bonkers. Fold the ear and buzz your clippers down the ear where the sides meet. Your horse will still have lots of ear protection, but his stray hairs are gone.
Ears fold up like a taco! This makes clipping the edge easy.
Winter is the time for those crazy long “elephant” or “goat” hairs to sprout on your horse. Everywhere. Use the clippers in the SAME direction as the hair to buzz them off. You should apply very little pressure. A common location to trim is on the underside, between the cheeks. This trimming will give your horse’s head a more refined look, even if it’s a winter coat. I find the long hairs on the underside of my horse's head can get snagged in the bridle, so I trim them away.
The long hairs under your horse's jaw can get snagged in some bridles. Trim them if you want!
Now work your way down to the elbows, knees, and fetlocks with your clippers. These areas are totally crazy with stray hairs. Use the same technique of light pressure in the same direction of the hair to trim up the legs. As with all things hair, it does grow back, so it's fine if you leave a clipper mark.
Trimmed legs, fuzzies removed. None of the winter hair is removed, it just looks tidy!
If your horse stands in the rain or weather, you may want to keep the tail ends of the fetlock hair there, it's believed to help channel water away from the heel bulbs.
For the coronary band, you can use scissors to create a clean edge along the hoof. I use scissors for more control, but if your horse is wiggly, keep the scissors far away and use clippers instead. (No stabbings, please!) This also helps you inspect his coronary band during your daily grooming routine. This can save you some major dollars and heartache by catching hoof cracks early!
And ta-dah!! A quick spruce up for winter.