Partial Clips

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Illustrations by Tami Zigo

It’s that time of year when horses and ponies start growing hair—lots of hair. If you ride frequently in the winter months, your shaggy horse probably gets pretty sweaty when you ride him, and, because it’s not always possible to hose down a horse when it’s chilly, it can take a while for him to cool out. This can be a problem if you don’t have a lot of time to wait before turning out your horse or putting on his blanket. You don’t want him to get chilled!

Some young riders clip their horses in the winter. A clipped horse will cool off more quickly after exercise, but remember, he’ll have to wear a turnout blanket to keep him warm when the temperature drops.

Before you grab your clippers and get to work de-fuzzing your pal, think carefully about how much hair to remove. You don’t have to clip his entire coat. Take into account the type of work he’s doing, his age and how much time he spends in the field and the stall. You might find that the less hair you take off the better.
Consider a partial clip instead of a full clip. A partial clip takes off some hair on a horse’s body but leaves his legs fuzzy. Your horse will be grateful for the extra warmth when he’s
standing in snow!

If you’re not planning to hit the A show circuit over the winter months, you should be able to do a partial clip yourself instead of hiring someone. Everyone has to start out somewhere! It’s a good idea to have your trainer or someone with more clipping experience standing by to help you out.

Click the image below to download a full-sized pdf of this chart.
Partial Clips

When to Clip

Decreasing sunlight triggers your horse’s hair to grow, so as the days get shorter in early fall, your horse will begin to get shaggy. Many people clip in October, and then they may have to clip again in the winter. If you can really stick your fingers into your horse’s coat, and he’s getting fairly sweaty during schooling sessions, it’s probably time to clip.

A Clean Coat

It’s important that your horse’s coat is clean and dry before you clip, because a dirty coat will dull the clipper blades. If possible, give your horse a bath the day before you plan to clip him. Leave him in a stall to dry, and blanket him to keep him clean overnight.

The Right Clippers

Do you have clippers that are up for the job? Clipping a coat can take a while. If your clippers are too small or don’t have enough power, they may get hot and you may have to turn them off frequently to let them cool down. Do some research to find a pair suitable for clipping fluffy coats.

Before you begin, make sure your clipper blades are sharp and clean and that you’ve got blade lubricant and coolant on hand.

This article originally appeared in the September/October 2015 issue of Young Rider magazine. Click here to subscribe!

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