We are heading towards winter and horses start to grow heavier coats, so its time to think about getting those clippers in order .
Horses start to develop their winter coat around mid-to-late August when the days begin to get shorter. Because of this, body clipping is typically done between the months of September and October after the horse has fully grown their winter coat.
Clipping off some or all of the horse’s winter coat will help prevent your horse from getting too warm and sweating while exercising.Excessive sweating can lead to discomfort, loss of condition and an increased risk of him catching a chill, as his winter coat will take a long time to dry out. However, keep in mind that a clipped horse will need thicker rugs to replace his lost coat and natural grease will have been removed from the clipped areas, so he’ll have less protection from the winter weather.
Clipping can have health benefits as well. Keeping the legs and fetlocks clipped can help prevent conditions such as scratches and mud fever since the mud will have no hair to cling onto. And horses with certain health conditions, such as Cushing’s disease, may be unable to shed out their winter coat in the spring, a problem which clipping can remedy.
Make sure your clipper blades are sharp and clean before you start – dull, dirty blades will cut less cleanly and are more likely to overheat or catch his skin. Its always handy to have a spare set of blades.
If it’s warm enough, bath your horse thoroughly before clipping him to remove dirt and excess grease from his coat.
Wear overalls or scruffy clothes – clipped hair is very difficult to remove from fabric, particularly fleece.
Use a stick of damp chalk to mark out the edges of your clip. A taut piece of string along his body or over his withers will give you a straight line to draw along, or put your saddle on your horse and draw around the edge for a hunter clip.
The clipper blades will get hot as you work, particularly if the blades are blunt, your horse has a dirty coat or you don’t regularly oil the blades as you go.
Standing on a step will help you achieve a correct clip along your horse’s topline.
Consider switching to small trimmers to clip his face and legs These are quieter and less intrusive than standard clippers, so many horses are happier having them around their face.
Afterwards Bathing him with an antiseptic shampoo will also achieve this if the weather is warm enough and the shampoo will disinfect any nicks or cuts from the blades, too.