Body clipping season is upon us. As the days get shorter and temperatures start to drop, our equine friends cope with weather changes by growing out a thick, fuzzy winter coat. While this isn’t a problem for horses that live outside full time and benefit from the extra insulation, many horse owners elect to clip their horses to remove the excess hair.
Body clipping your horse can provide a number of benefits. For horses that spend time in wet fields during the winter, a shorter coat will make grooming and removing caked mud much easier. For horses kept in work during the winter, clipping can help them stay cool during rides. If horses work up a sweat in cold weather due to a thick coat, they are at risk for catching a chill while their wet hair dries. Finally, many people prefer the look of a short coat in the show ring no matter the season and will choose to keep their horses clipped year-round.
Since there are so many reasons for clipping; different patterns, techniques, and tools may be used to suit each horse’s individual needs and lifestyle. We’ve put together some tips and tricks for managing your horse’s coat all winter long.
Full body – Full body clips are exactly what they sound like: the horse’s entire body is clipped. This includes the face and legs, both delicate areas that should be treated gently so as to not spook the horse. This type of clip is best for show horses and horses kept in heavy work during the winter.
Trace clip – A trace clip removes hair from parts of the horse’s neck, chest, belly, and hindquarters. Since these are the parts of the horse’s body that usually sweat the most, keeping them clipped helps the horse stay cool and reduce sweating.
Strip clip – Similar to a trace clip, a strip clip removes hair from the underside of the horse’s neck, chest, and belly. This clip pattern only removes a small amount of hair and is therefore usually only suitable for horses with light workloads.
Before you begin clipping, and only if the weather permits, it is helpful to give your horse a thorough bath (and allow time to dry!) in order to remove any dirt or mud that could clog your clippers. If it’s too cold to bathe, a thorough grooming session and a heavy coat of ShowSheen will make your horse’s hair slicker and allow the clippers to cut more easily.
When deciding what types of clippers to use, you should consider what clip pattern your horse needs. If you are only clipping a small portion of your horse’s body, such as a trace or strip clip, this can be done in very little time with a large clipper set such as the Andis Pulse ZR II Vet Pack Cordless Clipper. These clippers are specifically designed for body clipping and have two wide blades that cut through hair quickly.
These clippers can be used for a full-body clip as well, however, you will need to switch to something smaller in order to clip the face and legs. Because of this, many people choose to use an all-in-one smaller clipper such as the Andis AGC Super 2-Speed Clipper which is powerful enough for the entire body yet still quiet, gentle, and easy enough to handle for the more delicate and hard to reach areas.
The last step in getting ready to clip is picking the right blades for your clippers. The Andis Xperience HC Blades are designed specifically for body clipping, making the choice easy. If you are using a smaller clipper with a detachable blade system, there are several options to choose from. For the body, face, and legs, we recommend the #10 CeramicEdge blades from Andis, which leave the hair 1/16” in length. For the inside of the ears and the muzzle, a finer blade such as the #40 CeramicEdge is useful for getting a closer shave. Both these blades contain ceramic blades that stay sharper and generate less heat than traditional steel blades.
Once you have your horse clean and your clippers and blades picked out, you’re ready to get started! Smooth strokes with even pressure against the hair will help minimize those dreaded lines. Don’t forget to clean the hair out of your clippers and apply a cooling agent such as Cool Care Plus to your blades periodically as you go – this will keep your machine running smoothly throughout the process!
You can shop all of your clipping needs online at FarmVet.com 24/7 or call one of our friendly Sales Associates at 1-888-837-3626 from Monday-Friday 8am-5pm CST. You can also email your order to email@example.com.