Should I clip my horse?

I’m not sure what’s happened but all of a sudden, my pony seems to have turned into a woolly mammoth!

Having hairy horses during winter is inevitable, if you don’t do much ridden work it often won’t become a problem. However, if your horse is in regular work during winter you’ll know the pain of having to deal with a very sweaty horse, having to wait for him to dry before you can go get your tea!

As horse owners we are at that time of year when we are thinking about clipping. There are numerous clips you can consider for your horse but it’s important to consider what you want to gain from clipping your horse. Below is a list of the most common clips along with a brief description of what it involves.

1. Full clip – This involves clipping all your horse’s hair off. Suitable for horses in frequent, strenuous exercise. This clip ensures the horse dries out quickly after work. A fully clipped horse will require rugging up and should usually be kept stabled overnight.

2. The hunter clip – suitable for horses in medium to heavy work. As the name suggests this type of clip is most common amongst hunters. The horse is fully clipped except for the legs and saddle area to provide extra protection.

3. The blanket clip – Recommended for horses in medium work. The area where an exercise blanket is used would remain unclipped which means your horse won’t get too hot whilst being worked. This type of clip is good for horses that live out 24/7.

4. The bib clip – A bib clip is one of the simplest of clips. It just takes hair from the neck and chest. Some people extend this to the girth line. The bib clip is ideal for horses in light work or turned out 24/7 (providing they are suitably rugged and have access to shelter.

5. The trace clip – a trace clip is similar to the blanket clip, although only half the amount of hair is taken off the neck. Again, suitable for horses in a medium level of work.

Don’t feel pressured into following what people on your yard may be doing around you, some horses won’t get their winter coat through until later in the year whilst others may need clipping already!

The golden rule of clipping - wear overalls!!! Even with overalls on you end up covered in hair! Waterproofs are the best thing to wear as the hair doesn't stick to them.

No matter how docile your horse may be, please be aware that they can easily kick and react differently so be very wary.

Many horses require sedation to be clipped, this is something you should think of in advance. Why not have a chat with one of our vets about the best method of sedation for your horse? We can give you sedation in the form of a syringe that you can give your horse before clipping to help keep them calm.

We also offer a ‘Sedate and clip service’ where we will come out and sedate your horse and clip them for you too! Please contact the practice on 07747 771182 for more details.