WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO CLIP?
Most people will clip their horses between September and March. Horses can be clipped all year round if required. The best way to tell is by looking at your horse – is he getting sweaty very quickly? Has his coat fluffed out? Is he taking a long time to dry off after work?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then your horse may benefit from a clip – regardless of the time of year. Each horse is different – breed, coat thickness, workload, and health all factor into when your horse may need clipped.
WHY DO I NEED TO BATH MY HORSE/WHY DOES MY HORSE HAVE TO BE CLEAN BEFORE CLIPPING?
If your horse is getting a full or hunter clip, or legs clipped, then every professional clipper will recommend that your horse is bathed the day before clipping – this is to ensure the horse has enough time to dry before being clipped.
This horse wasn’t bathed prior to clipping! The dirt and grease will clog is the blades, cause them to snag on the horse’s hair, which is uncomfortable.
If the horse isn’t bathed, or even thoroughly groomed, then this can affect a number of things:
- Grease, dirt, and grit can clog up the blades, and make them blunt
- Blunt blades can catch and snag the hair, making the clip extremely uncomfortable for your horse (imagine getting your legs waxed!)
- Greasy hair can put a strain on the motor of the clippers – as well as blunting the blades quickly, it can overheat the motor – and sometimes can break the motor
- The finish of the clip won’t be as smooth – you are more likely to get lines on the coat
- Many professional clippers will charge extra to cover the cost of blunt blades and possible damage to their equipment.
When bathing the horse, a good shampoo, warm water, and a brush is recommended. Sponges will only clean the surface of the coat, leaving the roots still dirty.
HOW OFTEN UNTIL THEY NEED ANOTHER CLIP?
Each horse is different – it depends very much on how quickly their coat grows in, how neat you want to keep the horse, their routine, and time of year.
Some horses can be as often as every 4 weeks, whilst others get clipped once in October and once in February.
CAN I CLIP ALL YEAR ROUND?
Yes! If your horse requires clipping, then do it!
Many owners with cobs, horses with Cushing’s Disease, horses with skin conditions, and competition horses will clip year-round.
WHY MIGHT IT BE A GOOD IDEA TO CLIP THE HORSE’S FEATHERS OFF?
This cob has had his legs clipped in order to help treat Hyperkeratosis which has developed behind his knee and pastern.
There are many reasons as to why it can be beneficial to clip off heavy feathering, but it really does all come down to the comfort and management of the horse.
Most breeds of horse are ‘bred’, ie. the don’t occur naturally in the wild! Because of breeding, humans have amplified certain desirable traits, and on the flip side, some not so desirable ones. (Long, full hair is amazing, but skin conditions aren’t so great!)
- Cobs and heavier breeds are more prone to lower leg ailments, which are often hidden beneath thick feathering.
- Some common things to look out for are – mites, mudfever, itchy heels (leg stamping), leg swelling, brushing injuries, ringbone and side bone, matted hair and fungal infections.
- As the hair is often long and dense, with a good layer of grease it can be extremely difficult to get medications down to the skin. By clipping the hair you make it much easier to effectively treat and clean any wounds, check for any abnormalities etc.
- **It’s not always necessary to clip the feathers off, you may want to keep your horse in a more ‘natural’ style for showing etc – so please don’t think I’m saying all cobs need their feathers taken off!
CAN CLIPPING BE DONE FOR MEDICAL/WELFARE REASONS?
Definitely! If your horse has a skin condition such as – mites, lice, Chronic Progressives Lymphedema, Cushing’s Disease, Hyperkeratosis etc, then clipping for welfare may be recommended by your vet in order to help treat and manage your horse.
DO I NEED TO RUG MY HORSE WHEN IT’S BEEN CLIPPED?
It depends on the weather, which clip you choose, and routine your horse is in, but most likely -yes. If you are unsure of which rug to use, then ask your professional clipper.
CAN YOU CLIP THE HORSE OUTSIDE?
As long as it is dry, light, not windy, and safe to do so, yes. Being in the UK, this is often not the case though! So a well-lit, dry stable is the best place for it. You can’t clip outside if it is raining as this could damage your equipment and be dangerous for the horse (electricity is involved after all!). If it’s windy, then hair will often end up in your face – this isn’t good for your eyes, so it’s best avoided.
MY HORSE IS NAUGHTY/DANGEROUS – CAN YOU CLIP IT?
Most clippers will be happy to clip a dangerous horse, so long as it is properly sedated by your vet. Whilst there are experienced professionals out there, they will take safety very seriously, and WILL NOT put themselves in harm’s way to clip a dangerous horse. Not only can they get hurt – the equipment, any helpers, and even the horse could be at risk or damage or injury.