Patience is a Virtue: 6 Tips for Clipping Your Horse

Posted by Allie Layos

Clipping your horse takes a lot of time and patience, but with the proper technique, it doesn't have to be difficult.

We've all seen and cringed at a bad clipping job. Like a bad human haircut, it can make an otherwise beautiful creature look dreadful, and no one wants that for their beloved horse.

Unfortunately there are so many ways that the clipping process can go wrong, from temperamental clippers to uncooperative horses. Here are a few tips to make sure that doesn't happen to you and you come away with an awesome clipping job.

Start with a clean horse.

Clippers work best on a clean horse. So, if the weather allows, it is best to give the horse a body bath ahead of time to remove any dirt from the coat.

If this isn't possible, a thorough brushing will do.

Giving a horse a winter body clip at Sparsholt College, Hampshir
Flickr/Anguskirk

Take care of your clippers.

As you clip, you need to pay attention to the condition of your clippers. Continuously brush off excess hair from the blades, and be sure to keep the motor and blades well-oiled.

Horses don't like when the clippers get hot, so taking breaks and oiling them helps keep the clippers in good shape and keeps your horse more comfortable. And a comfortable horse means a better clipping job.

Keep safety in mind.

Some horses don't like the clipping process. If yours is particularly nervous about clippers, you may want to have a helper hold him or her instead of using the cross ties.

If you need to use a stool, use something that is stable and won't tip over, and don't let your horse chew or step on the clipper cord.

underjaw
Lost Spoken Ranch

Choose the right blade number.

When it comes to clippers, the higher the number the closer the cut. Most show horse people will utilize a #15 blade on their body clippers, and a #10 blade for the legs, face, and any place on the body that the body clippers can't reach. A #40 is often used for the ears, bridle path, and muzzle.

Clip against the hair.

Instead of clipping in the direction of the hair growth, clip against it, as this will take the hair down to the length for which the blade is set.

Use long, smooth strokes (about 8-10 inches) and overlap them as if you were mowing a lawn. Be sure to keep the blades flat against the horse.

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Pinterest/Betty Hirte/

Don't forget to blend.

An okay clip job can become a great one from a careful blending technique. If you've been using different number blades, or if you're only clipping a few areas on a horse (such as the legs in preparation for a show), be sure to blend the shorter and longer areas together gradually to present a smooth final picture.

If you follow these tips, you should still have a happy, beautiful horse when you're done ... just with much shorter hair.

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Patience is a Virtue: 6 Tips for Clipping Your Horse