To clip or not to clip…
…that is the question many of us are asking ourselves as the weather begins to get colder (in between shrieks and wails every time we step outside in short sleeves and get goosebumps). Like everything else in the horse world, there is more than one school of thought on this, and more than one way of doing it, if you choose.
For one thing, it will depend on your horse and his living conditions going into winter. Where we are in central Kentucky, some horses are already developing a really thick coat, while others are clearly growing in a new hair pattern but they’re not too wooly yet. Whether or not the horse stays inside for the coldest part of the day, and whether they’ve been wearing sheets the past few weeks could partially influence this, although the change in coat length is more commonly thought to coincide with changes in day length.
If you plan to limit your riding to a few bouts of light work during wintertime, and your horse is going to live outdoors unblanketed, it might be better to skip the clippers. If you’re going to remain in training through the season though, and if you’re well-equipped with horse clothes to compensate for a shorter hair coat, it might be worth considering.
A full or partial clip can help the horse cool off faster–when they sweat into a longer coat, it becomes more difficult for the heat and moisture to move away from the skin, slowing the cool-down process and running the risk of a chill. There are several clip patterns that are used for horses in different types of work, many of which leave longer hair on areas that don’t trap as much heat, or on legs for hunting/trail horses.
Take a look at the different patterns:
If you’re like us, you might be tempted to do a little neatening of your horse’s whiskers or chin while you’ve got the clippers out anyway. If you do, remember that our grooming halters make this task easier by eliminating the chin piece, and also rinse clean of all that horse hair.