Have you ever thought about clipping your horse in the winter? If you ride a lot and your horse gets quite sweaty after a ride, you’ve probably noticed that it takes a long time for him to dry out. If you live in a colder climate, this is because your horse has grown a thicker coat to keep him warm.
It’s not a great idea to toss your sweaty horse out into his field when it’s freezing outside, because he could get a chill. And if your horse wears a turnout blanket, sweat under his blanket will make him feel damp and cold. So what do you do?
Many people clip their horses’ coats, because a clipped horse dries out much faster than a hairy horse. But, before you run out and grab a pair of clippers, consider this: once clipped, your horse will have to wear a blanket 24-7. By clipping him, you’ve taken away his natural protection from the elements. The good news: he’ll be a lot cleaner when you groom him!
You don’t have to clip your horse from head to toe though; most horses and ponies do just fine with a partial clip. A partial clip takes less time to do and will help keep your horse warmer in really cold weather. And if you’ve never clipped a horse before, a partial clip is a great introduction to clipping. Don’t worry too much if the clip doesn’t look perfect. In a week or two, you won’t be able to notice any mistakes.
Before you start, it’s a good idea to mark out where you want to clip with school chalk. If you can’t find chalk, grab the easily-removable masking tape used for painting.
Here are four easy clips you’ll be able to master in no time:
The blanket clip is a good clip for horses that are ridden inside and outside in the winter. A blanket clip removes hair from your horse’s head, neck and along his side and under and over his tail. Leave a rectangular patch over his back, loins and croup that looks like a quarter sheet. The bottom edge of the blanket clip should reach the bottom of your saddle flap.
Medium Trace Clip
The trace clip originated with driving horses. Drivers clipped the sides of the horse where the traces of the harness rested. Start under your horse’s jaw and clip the hair from the front of the neck down his chest to the top of his legs. Then work your way back to under his tail. Leave his legs fuzzy to keep him warm when he’s turned out.
Low Trace Clip
This clip starts under your horse’s jaw and removes the hair from his neck, chest and stomach. Only a small bit of hair is clipped from your horse’s side and the hind legs are not clipped at all. This artwork shows the hair clipped from the side and underside of the horse’s head, but whether you do this or not is up to you.
This clip starts under your horse’s jaw and removes hair in a narrow path on the underside of his neck. Clip the hair off his chest and then travel between his legs and clip his stomach. You should be able to see two or three inches of clipped skin from the side, but not much.