By Becky Shipps
Body clipping isn’t all about looks. Sure, a fresh clip can make any horse look show ready, but body clipping can play a major role in keeping horses in heavy work clean, dry, and healthy during the chilly months.
If you’ve decided clipping is the way to go for your horse, here are three important things to keep in mind before, during, and after the clip.
Consider the clip.
“Whether or not you choose to do a full clip or a trace clip depends on your riding and how much your horse sweats,” says Erin Gaul, the owner/operator of Equine Detailing and a Wahl ambassador. “If your horse doesn’t sweat too much and you aren’t going to be riding a lot, a trace clip may be enough.”
If you plan on showing, live in a warm climate, or if your horse sweats up easily, a full body clip may be in order.
“I’ve found that horses are never bad just to be bad,” says Erin. “If a horse isn’t standing nicely, they’re either uncomfortable or afraid.”
Try talking to a fidgety or nervous horse to settle them. Treats and a gentle touch may help as well. For horses that are ticklish, Gaul recommends distracting them by touching another area of their body while you’re clipping the ticklish area (for example, if you have a horse with ticklish legs, tap the left front leg while you’re clipping the right one).
Do it all again.
Once a horse is clipped, it’s easier to re-clip before the coat grows back in completely.
“I have one client that has a horse that has to be clipped every four weeks, but that’s rare,” Erin explains.
She estimates that most horses will need clipping every eight weeks to keep their hair short. However every horse’s coat grows at a different rate. The best way to know when your horse needs to be re-clipped is to keep an eye on whether or not he’s sweating up during work.