Those dreaded bushy ears. Some horses don’t mind a vibrating, warm, piece of machinery buzzing in and around one of their most sensitive sensory organs. But then there’s the rest of them – who absolutely do not want clippers near, let alone inside, theirs ears.
Heels Down Mag cobbled together some tips on how to clip your horse’s ears like a professional groom. Here’s how to get started:
Go slow. It’s tempting to want to get it over with quickly, but quick movements around the horse’s head could startle him. Give the horse time to adjust to the noise and vibration of the clippers.
Don’t scoop. “I typically don’t scoop ears out,” says Courtney Carson, head groom at Payne Eventing, home of athletes, Doug and Jessica Payne. Often times in dressage, eventing, and jumpers, horses wear bonnets, which hides the hair inside a horse’s ears. So scooping out the ears is not necessary. In this case, Courtney suggests just trimming the long hair on the edges of the ear.
“Gently hold the ear closed and then, on the lower clipper setting, gently run the clippers down the front of the ear to get all the fuzzy hair that sticks out the front,” she explains. “Then carefully go around the shell of the ear and clean up all the longer hairs.”
Get help. If you’re working with a horse who likes to move his head around, have a friend hold him on a lead. Often times having a second person there to help keep the horse still and reassure him makes the process go much smoother.
Create a good experience. “I don’t want my horses to run away from me when they see me coming at them with the clippers,” says Courtney. Rushing, accidentally nicking the horse with the clippers, or having a battle on the top of ladder isn’t pleasant or safe, and could lead to a head shy horse. Taking extra time to let the horse adjust (and feeding a few extra cookies) can help you get a perfectly clipped pair of ears.