What have you got going on this weekend in the barn? Well, besides this excellent bridle sale, which you should take a look at, it might be time to do some serious fuzzscaping for your horse.
While we’ve had a few tastes of winter so far, it looks like this weekend will be a bit more mild for some parts of the country, so it’s a good time to get out to the barn and clip your horse if you haven’t already.
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Every year it’s a debate for riders–to clip or not to clip? One of the things you may want to consider when making the decision besides the weather in your area is how often and how strenuously you’ll be working your horse during the colder months. A damp, sweaty coat takes a long time to dry out in the cold air, and if not done properly it can lead to chills. If you plan to blanket your horse through the winter anyway, it might be worth considering whether some form of a clip would be helpful.
If your horse lives outside unblanketed and gets the winter off, he may not need a clip.
The next step is to decide what style of clip best suits your horse’s workload. There is a huge range of patterns out there and no single style is right for every horse or discipline. Some of them even get creative. Whatever you choose, it’s a good idea to draw an outline on the horse in chalk (which should brush right out); try looking at the horse from the front to ensure that the lines are reaching the same points on the body on each side.
Be sure–and, we cannot stress this enough–to start with a clean horse. Dust and dander that hides close to the skin will get caught in the clipper blades, which could damage them at worst and at best clogs them up, creating a striped effect on the horse’s skin where ridges of hair weren’t trimmed evenly. It’s really hard to get these stripes even again although they do grow out eventually.
Pro Equine Grooms (which is a fantastic resource) has some great tips for keeping the experience safe for you and your horse. First and foremost–make sure to take the time to acclimate the horse to the clippers. You’ll get a cleaner line if your horse is willing to stay still for this task. Also, try working against the grain of the hair and make your strokes as long and even as possible. And don’t forget to keep oiling that clipper blade!
If you’re using a pattern that requires you to clip part of the face, or do a lot of grooming of the cheeks in general, you may want to consider a grooming halter, which has the throatlatch removed for easier access to the face. We’ve got some great ones that are really affordable (and come in cute colors).