Is your horse's coat starting to look like a proper fur coat? Are you looking to give him a new look? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know when it comes to clipping your horse.
Temperature as well as diminishing sunlight prompt the growth of a wintercoat. The days grow shorter and temperatures are falling, this triggers a response in your horse's hormones which result in increased hairgrowth. Your horse puts his wintercoat on, quite literally in fact. This natural occuring process is ideal for your horse, however if you wish to continue training throughout the winter it might be less handy. Unlike us, you horse won't be able to take of his coat during intensive training routines. It will take you a whole lot more rounds to properly cool down, before the thick coat has dried sufficiently. All the while hoping you won't get cold yourself resulting in muscle stifness. Let alone your horse developing a cold.
Preventing is easier than curing. Therefore it is important to rug your horse. Unfortunately this isn't always enough. Clipping your horse's thick wintercoat might be a good alternative, if you wish to continue your training during winter.
Check out our outdoor rugs
When should I clip my horse?
It is best to wait with clipping until the wintercoat is fully developed. Generally speaking this is around mid October, but it can vary per horse. On average your horse will need to be clipped twice per winter. The first time in late October, the second time in January.
Which clipper should I use?
Which clipper depends on your own preference and whether or not you wish to fully clip your horse or just parts such as legs, ears, or beard. If you decide give your horse a full body clip, a stronger shearing clipper is needed such as the Liscop Lite
, the Kerbl farmclipper
or the Sectolin SE-600
. The razors of these clippers are robust and strong, and thus suitable for larger patches. Legs, ears and beard should be shaved using a smaller clipper with finer razors for increased precision.
Tip: If there is no electrical outlet nearby use a clipper with a rechargeable battery.
Where to start? Make sure your horse is clean and dry before you start! A wet coat, sand and any other filth will ruin your clipper. Bathing your horse the day before is a smart move. Also make sure the clipper has sharpened razors and a charged battery.
Carefully start clipping near the shoulders. Always shave against the direction of the hairs and avoid lines by shaving in long, overlapping lanes. Let the clipper do its job; don't push or press down too hard. Let the clipper run through the coat in a smooth manner and straighten skin folds with your hand. Always clip the legs from the outside and pull hind legs forward.
Did you miss bits of hair? Or does the clipper get stuck in the horse's coat? Your clipper might have the wrong settings. Make sure the clipper head is attached corectly: not too tight, but not too loose either. When the screw sits loose the clipper won't get hold of the hairs and if it sits too tight it will create too much friction.
What pattern should I clip my horse? You can clip your horse any way you like depending on your own taste as well as on your training intentions. Most commonly used is the hunter pattern. When clipping this pattern everything but the legs and the saddle spot are clipped. This protects the legs from the cold and avoids chafing and irritation when using the saddle.
: Use your saddle pad to outline which parts not to clip.
- Blanket: if you plan on following a basic training regiment you could consider using the blanket pattern. With this pattern you clip the entire horse apart from the legs and the shape of the exercise sheet.
- Strip: if you don't rug your horse in the pasture this pattern is advised. Clip the areas that tend to sweat the most by creating a strip from throat latch, down the chest, all the way to the belly.
- Trace: the trace clip is similar to the strip clip. Neck and head will be left untouched, additionally the lower part of the belly sides and flanks is clipped as well. With proper rugging this is a good clip for horses that do light to medium work.
- Chaser: similar to the blanket clip. Belly, neck and flanks are clipped halfway. The head is either not clipped at all, half, or completely.
- Full body clip: if you're entering competitions you should go for this clip pattern. legs, body and head are clipped completely.
Tip: use a crayon to outline the pattern on your horse before you start clipping.
My horse is scared, what to do?
Allow your horse to get used to the clipper and the sounds before actually starting. Start a week beforehand and begin by moving the device in a shaving motion along the horse's coat without actually turning it on. Next, allow the horse to get used to the sound by turning it on whilst you're grooming your horse. Does it startle your horse? Don't panic, but simply move the clipper a bit further away. Once you feel your horse is no longer startled by the sound or by the movements acorss its coat you are ready to start clipping. Make sure you have a clutter free environment to work in and have someone else nearby to help you out.
If you don't succeed in calming your horse, you could choose to use a tranquilizer. For example Confidence EQ gel. Apply the gel on the inside of the nostrils about 30 minutes before you wish to start clipping. The gel sends a signal via the nerves to the horse's brain. The gel does not enter the circulatory system, but instead gives natural signals to your horse to make it feel safe.
Apart from regularly removing hairs that get stuck in the razors, it is also important to drip some oil on them about every 10 minutes throughout the clipping process. Doing so helps maintaining your clipper, but will also give a smoother result. It's advised to use clipping oil of the same brand as your clipper. The consistency of the oil may vary per brand, using the right oil will extend your clipper's lifetime.
Additionally, make sure to sharpen the razors. Generally speaking this needs to be done after 3-5 clips. Mind though, that razors from smaller clippers cannot always be sharpened, often you can simply buy a new razor for these clippers, much like you might do with your own razors.
We offer a blade sharpening service at Epplejeck. You can send them to our main office in Drachten or you can hand them in at one of our shops. We'll sharpen the blades and make them look like new. Costs: €7,50 per set.
If your clipper starts shaving slower or experiences loss of power the wear of the carbon brush might be the cause. The carbon brush should be replaced once they have worn down about half way their original length. The clipper's instruction manual should tell you how to replace the carbon brush.
Where should I store my clipper?
Store the clipper in a warm and dry storage box. Preferably within your home. If your clipper didn't come with a box make sure to buy a tool box so you can store both the clipper and its accessories together.
Clean and oil the razors after each clip and add an extra layer of oil to avoid rust. The clipper head is best stored separate from the device wrapped in an oily cloth.
After clipping your horse:
You've removed your horse's winter coat! It's important to give him a new one when he's not at work. Make sure to rug your horse sufficiently and use an exercise sheet for warming up and cooling down to make the transition a little smoother.
Did you clip your horse's neck? Make sure to rug him with an outdoor rug with neck piece, when you leave your horse in the pasture.
Check out our collection of clippers, razors and oil right here.