Beginner’s Guide: How to Body Clip Your Horse

               Clipping you horse’s coat comes with many benefits. Some of these benefits include keeping your horse from getting over heated, helps dissolve sweat faster for a horse that is being worked, as well as making it easier for you when it comes to daily grooming. Clipping is also a benefit when showing! By clipping your horse’s coat, it gives your horse a slick, clean-cut appearance that is sure to catch the judges’ eye. Horse clipping is most often done to horses that are huge competitors year round and are being heavily worked during the cold months. Here are a few easy steps that will help you learn how to give your horse a nice coat clip!

How to prepare your horse:

                1. Start with a good grooming – Clipping an un-groomed coat can lead to the clippers becoming dull. If your horse is not groomed before clipping, the clippers will run through all the dirt and debris that is nestled within your horse’s coat. This results in dulling your clippers and making it harder for you to clip your horse. Giving your horse a bath, the night before you plan on giving him a clip, is always a great thing to do! A horse bath helps to remove all the excess dirt and will help make sure your horse is ready for clipping.

                2. Trace the clipping areas on your horse – To help section off the clipping lines on your horse, use chalk or masking tape to outline the areas that will be clipped. You want to make sure that all your trace lines are straight and correct before you start shaving your horse’s coat. This will guarantee a clean cut line and will help make it easier for you when clipping! 

                3. Don’t spook your horse with the sound from the clippers – Before you start clipping your horse, slowly approach your horse with the clippers on. Let him hear the sound and see where the sound is coming from. Some horses can spook easily with things like this, so make sure that you introduce the clippers before you start shaving!

                4. Don’t spook your horse with the clippers vibrations – Some horses might get spooked once they feel the vibration from the clippers. Introduce your horse to the vibrations by placing the handle of the clippers against your horse and let him see how it feels before you start clipping.

How to prepare your clippers:

                1. Your Clippers selection – It is always a good idea to have a couple different pairs of clippers on hand and ready to go when clipping. In general, you should have shearing/bigger clippers for the big areas of shaving and a smaller clippers for the smaller/sensitive areas of shaving, such as the face. When clipping, you want to make sure that your clippers don’t get overheated! If your clippers are overheating, they won’t work as well and it can cause stress on the motor. Your clippers should always be around room temperature. If you notice them getting hot, turn them off and let them cool down before you begin to resume with clipping your horse.

                2. Sharpen your clipper blades – The sharper your clipper blades are, the more easily they will cut! With new clippers, the blades will already by sharp and you won’t have to worry about it. If you are clipping with an older pair of clippers, make sure you sharpen them before you begin shaving you horse’s coat. This will result in an easier clipping time for both you and your horse.

                3. Clean your clippers – Sometimes while clipping, you blades can get jammed with hair, dirt, and debris that is hidden in your horse’s coat. This can hinder the speed of the blades and make it harder to clip your horse’s coat. To avoid this, check your clippers every once in a while during the clipping process and make sure that they are not getting jammed with hair and dirt. Once you are finished with the clippers, clean the blades and coat them with some oil. Once you have oiled the blades, let the clippers run for about 10 to 20 seconds. This will allow the oil to access all the blade parts and help keep your clippers running smooth!

Let the clipping process begin! 

                1.  To begin clipping, start in an area that is not going to be a sensitive spot for you horse. A good area to start clipping would include your horse’s neck or his sides.

                2. How to start – Introduce the clippers to your horse so that he doesn’t get spooked once you start clipping his coat. When you start clipping, make sure that you go in one directions and that you are clipping in the opposite direction that the hair grows. You want to make sure that you are keeping your lines straight as possible. You also want to make sure that you are removing big patches at a time before you continue onto another section of your horse’s coat.

                3. Clip in strips – Clip out nice, even strips and make sure you overlap each new row that you clip. This will make sure that you get all the hair and will result in a clean finish.

                4. Mane and tail – When clipping around the mane and tail, you want to make sure that you move them out of the way so that you don’t accidentally clip the hair. Wrapping the tail is a great way to help keep it out of the way. You can also have a friend help you by holding the mane and tail. This helps to keep it out of the way of the clippers and making sure that there are no accidents!

                5. Save the face for last - If you decide to clip your horse’s face, wait until the end to do it. This helps to keep your horse calm and will result in less anxiety for him. Make sure that when you clip the face, you switch to the smaller clippers. Smaller clippers are made for sensitive areas and are easier to use when clipping smaller sections.

                6. Trim long hairs – Sometimes when you are not clipping the whole body, the coat that is not being clipped can be long. Just take a pair of shears/scissors and trim down any long hairs that need to be trimmed.

                7. Clean up – Make sure that you clean up after yourself once you are done with your horse’s clip! Take a broom and sweep up all the horse hair that is piled up on the ground. Horse hair does not decompose, so make sure that you throw it away and do not put it in a compost pile.

                8. Horse blanket – Once you have finished with your horse’s clip, make sure that you blanket your horse. This will make sure  that he doesn’t get chilled and keep him healthy. Horses rely on their coats for warmth and insulation. So once your horse is clipped, he is going to need a blanket to help keep him warm and insulated, especially in the winter!

                Clipping your horse’s coat is just like giving him a haircut. For horses that are heavily worked during the cold seasons, it helps them to not get over heated and makes it easier to groom them! Just remember, horses need their coats to keep them warm when it is cold outside. So if you give your horse a clip when it’s cold, make sure that you always blanket you horse. To check out our horse blankets, go to Saddleonline.com today!