In the autumn horses start to get their winter coats coming through in varying degrees of thickness according to the individual horse.
Horses who continue to work may need to be clipped to allow them to do so without the worry of them catching a chill and to improve their overall appearance.
There are many different types of clip available and it will depend on the type of work to be done and whether your horse will be living in or wintering out.
If you are to clip your horse you must ensure that you can suitably keep your horse warm by supplying rugs.
Always have plenty of spare rugs available just in case one goes off to be repaired, or is still wet from the day before. If you have spare rugs you can also layer them up when the weather turns cold.
What You Will Need
- Stable that is well lit with a non slip floor.
- Assistant, not only for safety reasons but also to assist where necessary.
- Sensible footwear.
- Clippers, professionally serviced and ready for use.
- Clipper blades, professionally sharpened and ready for use.
- Circuit breaker.
- Extension cable.
- Clipper oil and brush for use during clipping, to prevent vents and blades from getting clogged up with hair.
- Tail bandage and plait the end of the tail and fold up out of the way, this will prevent the tail from getting caught and clipped by accident.
- Plaiting bands will be rquired for a Blanket, Full or High trace clip. The mane and forelock will be put into bunches to prevent it from getting clipped off by accident and will help you to see where you would like the neck and head clip to go.
- Leather head collar and lead rope.
- Rug ready to put onto your horse either during or after the clip, depending on the weather and the type of clip being done.
- A hay net is a great way to keep your horse busy while your clipping.
- Body brush can be used throughout clipping to enable you to see any patches missed and where your clipping lines have gone.
- Treats ready for after clipping.
How To Clip
- Ensure that your horse is clean and dry, it is often recommended to bath your horse prior to clipping but this is not always practical in our climate.
- Put on a tail bandage then plait the end of the tail down folding it up to just below the tail bandage.
- Put the mane into bunches right up on the crest of the neck.
- Put on a secure leather head-collar with sound lead rope.
- Mark out on the horse with chalk or wet saddle soap where you would like the clip to go, ensure to go round the front and back of the horse to make sure that both sides match, you do not wont to end up with one half of your horse higher than the other.
- Remove from the stable any water buckets, so that you are left with a clear space. Put up a hay net to hang from a tie ring so that it is well off the floor.
- Put new blades into the clippers, oil them then tighten up to manufacturers guidelines.
- Plug in the circuit breaker and extension cable and clippers in to the socket and test the circuit breaker to make sure that it works.
- With your assistant holding your horse, with you standing away from your horse switch on the clippers, the reason for standing away is because the noise will quite often make your horse jump when it first hears them.
- If your horse is fine with the noise proceed up to your horse and gently put your hand against their side preferably by there shoulder as this will allow your horse to feel the vibrations of the clippers and this is the best place to start your clip from.
- When clipping you run the blades against the lye of the coat in big sweeping strokes, ensuring that the lead is safely to one side and not going to be trodden on or tripped over should the horse move quickly. Keep a constant feel of how hot the blades are getting if they get too hot you need to stop clipping.
- This can be a good time to body brush them down, adjust any rugs and give them a treat. With a blanket or trace clip you will need to clip out a semicircle around the flank, this will allow for extra movement from the horse when exercising in that area. If you are doing a full clip you will have to clip a V just above the dock as this makes for a very flattering tail finish.
- For any clip that has to go around the top of the front legs follow your horses muscle to form a point at the top part of the leg. For the hind legs you are aiming for a straight line running up to the horses patella or base of flank, forming a V shaped point at the back of the hind legs, take care to make sure that both hind leg V points match and at the same height.
- When it comes time to do the face you can either clip just under from the jaw to the chin or draw a line that runs from behind the ears straight down to almost the corner of the mouth, with this the half face clip you will find that it is hidden to a certain extent when the horse wears a bridle. A full face clip is where all the hair is clipped off ears and all!
- During clipping the clippers will quickly clog up with hair and will need to be brushed out around the blades and air vent. As well as ensuring that the blades do not get too hot you will also need to oil them frequently throughout the clipping session to ensure that they run smoothly. Pick up any droppings done during the clip, the less you've got to slip up and tread on the better.
When you have finished clipping switch off the clippers and put safely out of the way ready for cleaning. Ensure to praise your horse, after all the happier they are the easier it will be to clip them next time, you will then need to ensure that your horse is warm enough, so rug accordingly. Skip out the area where you clipped so that the area is ready for the next horse.
Cleaning The Clippers
Ensure that they have been properly disconnected, if you used an extension cable put it away neatly. Then unscrew the top and place it in a secure area along with the spring and metal clip that holds the blades in place, then gently lift the blades off, be careful not to drop them. Brush away any hair that has built up from both the clippers and blades, then using a spare cloth wipe the surfaces down. Then oil the clippers and blades and place both neatly back in their case.