Clipping is beneficial to a horse that will be worked throughout the winter because it prevents the horse from becoming too sweaty and overheating. If a horse isn’t properly cooled down after a sweaty ride, the horse can catch a chill as the sweat cools down quickly meaning the coat remains damp. A full winter coat can take HOURS to dry and a horse with a chill can be more prone to colic, colds and other serious health conditions. In addition, clipping can also help overweight horses as being a little chilly can aid weight loss.
Benefits of clipping
Prevents overheating & sweating
Reduce tack rubbing
Less time spent grooming
Shorter hair on the legs & fetlock can prevent mud fever, scratches, and other conditions
Diseases, such as Cushing’s can shed their winter coat
Things to consider
An older horse may have more difficult battling the weather elements and may need to be rugged even if they aren’t clipped
Shelter should be provided to those horses who have been clipped in case the weather turns suddenly
Rug according to the temperature taking into consideration a clipped horse
When to clip?
The ideal time to clip a horse is around October/November time. This allows for time for their winter coat to come through. Depending on the quickness of regrowth will determine how regularly you’d need to reclip. On average clipping should stop around January time as this is when the summer coat growing begins!
Remember, you should only clip a horse if you can make daily/seasonally changes to rug regimes. If this is not doable due to rug supply, staff or time then horses shouldn’t be clipped.
What clip to do?
Every year, when the weathers turned cold, Bella is super fluffy and I'm running around like a headless chicken I tell myself 'next year I'm going to pay someone to clip you Bell!' Yet, every year I find myself head to toe in brown hair enjoying the fact that I get to do this to my 31 year old ponio.
I remember so clearly when I was younger and my dad would do the clipping he'd be there with a chalked piece of string marking out all of his lines and turns to ensure she was perfect for Pony Club (I guess that's the benefit of him being an engineer; he loves to be precise). Nonetheless, I'm so thankful for the tips and tricks he picked up along the way and subsequently taught me.
In later years I've gone a bit rouge with Bella's clip. We no longer compete so I just do what works for her & her level of work. I take the whole neck off (similar to that in the full, hunter and blanket clip). Then from the top of her withers I swoop down her abdomen stopping under her belly (similar to the belly aspect of the bib clip). I like to keep her back & hindquarters well covered now she's that little bit older and hacking 2-3 times a week.
Thank you for taking the time to read this months clipping blog! I hope you found it useful. If you'd like any tips on how to clip your own horse I'd be more than happy to answer any questions or share with you any tips & tricks. Alternatively, the references listed below that helps shape this blog have some great pointers and information that is well worth a read before you begin!
Take care, and happy clipping!
BSc Hons Sports Therapy MSST
MSc Strength and Conditioning
Equine Sports Massage & Rehabilitation Therapist