Horses grow a fluffy coat for winter to naturally shield them from the cold. So, as cooler weather settles in, it might be time to clip, especially for show season or if your horse is training daily. A clipped coat means faster cool-down times and less chance of a chill. But always remember, the key considerations on whether to clip or not, have to do with your individual horse: their comfort, shelter, health, and their training or show schedule.
5 Reasons Why You Might Clip Your Horse
Your Horse is Competing
Show horses need to appear sleek and presentable. If your horse is being trained for competition and perhaps transported to a warmer climate to show, clipping their coat might be necessary.
Your Horse Has Access to Shelter
Clip away if they have access to a stable or shelter and are rugged. However, it's not best practice to clip your horse if they are living out all season.
Your Horse is Exercised a Lot
Race horses are clipped because they dry off and cool down faster after being hosed down post training.
Your Horse is Rugged Most of the Time
If you are going to clip your horse’s coat, you need to keep your horse warm with a suitable rug.
Your Horse is in Good Condition
Only clip your horse when they are feeling their best. If they are not in top-notch condition, clipping will remove their protective coat and they might get a chill. Clipping can also draw attention to wounds and injuries.
When to clip
Clip your horse in winter when that fluffy coat starts to grow or when you are heading into show season.
How to Clip
Firstly, there are several clip patterns depending on the needs of your horse. Clipping can be either complete (their whole body except mane and tail) or partial, for example a trace clip where the saddle sits.
Four Common Clip Styles
Full: the entire body is clipped. Ensure you have a wool rug to add under their stable rug.
Hunter: The coat on your horse’s legs and saddle are left on, perfect for horses in medium work.
Blanket: The coat from neck and belly is removed. Clipping neck hair decreases the amount of sweat during work or training — but the remaining body hair helps prevent chills.
Trace: Under the neck and belly hair is removed. Ideal for horses that work occasionally and live outdoors.
You Are Ready to Start Clipping!
Make sure you have a good set of sharp clippers and your batteries are charged. It's a good idea to have two sets of blades so you can switch when one set heats up. Try swapping blades every 10-15 minutes.
Here are our top picks for horse clippers:
Showmaster Professional Large Animal Clipper, $249.95
For the show horse, this large clipper is powerful, precise and has a six-metre cord.
Wahl Horse Pocket Pro Trimmer Battery Operated, $39.95
Perfect for delicate areas like the horse’s face or touch ups on show day.
Wahl Cordless Lithium ShowPro Clipper, $154.95
This cordless clipper runs for three hours and the lightweight, ergonomic design makes it easy to hold.
Lister Star Horse Clipper, $449.95
This is the Rolls Royce of horse clippers: 240V with a patented head design for less vibration.
How To Clip Your Horse
Wash your horse: scrub dirt away especially from the belly and rump, and ensure your horse is completely dry before you start clipping.
Don’t turn clippers on near the horse — they may startle. Switch them on a little distance away and approach calmly.
It’s recommended you start at the front of the horse, on larger areas like the shoulder, and use sweeping strokes going AGAINST the hair growth direction. Pull skin taut around wrinkly bits!
Throughout clipping, check that your blades aren’t getting too hot — try brushing the clippers and oiling them every 10 minutes.
Ensure your clippers are sharp — blunt blades will give a choppy, uneven finish.
Don’t clip angry! If you are feeling rushed or frustrated it’s not a good time to clip your horse, as you want your horse to feel settled
When you've finished clipping, brush away loose hairs, wipe with a damp cloth to remove clipper grease, dry off and rug up your horse for the weather.