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Understanding Clipping

A well clipped horse will give you a competitive edge in the show ring, and it will make it easier to remove mud and dirt on your horse. It can also help avoid health problems; in climates that are humid or damp, proper grooming and clipping can help avoid fungus growth on the horse. There are many different types of clips to consider for your horse.

2013-07-full-body-clipFull Body Clip

A full body clip includes everything from the inside of the ear to the tip of the back foot, excluding the forelock, mane, and tail. It’s a personal preference whether to include the bridle path and saddle pad. With this clip, the horse must be blanketed when not in work once the weather is colder.


2013-07-hunter-clipHunter Clip

The entire body is clipped except for the legs, in order to provide protection from pricker bushes, as well as warmth. This clip is appropriate for field hunters and young horses in training, primarily in racing and occasionally for endurance horses.



2013-07-trace-clipTrace Clip

This is a good choice for a horse that is in light work and may or may not live outside. The hair is removed from the front of the neck, chest, and underside of the stomach. A strip runs from the front of the chest, just above the forearm, low across the barrel, and across the hind leg. Take off the hair on the inside of the upper legs both front and back. Basically, clip any area where he sweats heavily and any vascular area.

2013-07-blanket-clipBlanket Clip

A blanket clip looks like a 3/4 or exercise blanket and is excellent for a horse in heavier work living in a cold climate. It allows the sweat to evaporate more freely, but at the same time retains some of the body heat. It prevents getting a chill between exercise. The blanket pattern starts just behind the shoulder and continues across the hindquarter and up the buttock.

2013-07-groomingWorking on the Nervous Horse

Sometimes it’s a good idea to exercise your horse before clipping. Quite often this makes horses more willing to understand what you are doing. You might also want to consider clipping your horse in his stall, where it is quiet, he is comfortable, and there are few distractions. If you work in the aisle, make sure your horse ties or cross ties safely before beginning. It is a good idea to work on rubber mats to prevent slipping. For the truly green or nervous horse, begin by rubbing the clippers all over your horse’s body, first while turned off and then while turned on. Also consider working with cordless clippers. If your horse begins acting like he could be dangerous or if he is more nervous than you are comfortable with, call the vet and ask him or her about their administering a sedative.

Clipper Shopping Tips


Sometimes a new and improved pair of clippers is all you need to calm your horse and get the job done right. When choosing clippers, first consider the workload they’ll be handling. For small trims and touch-ups on one horse, a less powerful compact unit may serve you well. For larger jobs on more horses, you’ll need a more powerful machine. For nervous horses, try a quiet running machine that gives a faster clip. Always err on the side of power and performance. Heavier duty clippers work faster, stay cooler, and last longer — ultimately giving you the most bang for your buck. Save yourself the frustration of burning out small clippers on big jobs. Shop clippers here.

Clipper Care

Maintain the life and effectiveness of your clippers by utilizing the following tips:

Clean Horse: Always start with a clean and dry horse. Sweat, wet hair, and dust can dull your blades and jam your clipper.

Clean as You Go: Clean your blade as you work, stroking it with a small brush to remove loose hair. Oil the blade every 10-15 minutes as you work. Pour some oil into a shallow cap and hold the teeth of the blade in it with the clipper running. Make sure you do not allow the oil to flow into the body of the clipper.

Use Coolant: If you are working on a big job and haven’t oiled regularly, the blades may get hot. A good spray coolant will cool the clippers immediately. Oil your blade after using the cooling spray in order to lubricate the blade.

Protect the Cord: A damaged cord is dangerous, so make sure neither you nor your horse step on it. Immediately replace a damaged cord, or switch to a rechargeable cordless clipper.

Clean After Use: After you have finished clipping your horse, remove the blade from the clipper and brush off any loose hair or dirt from both the clipper and blade. Re-attach the blade. With the clipper running, run the blades in a shallow cup of blade cleaner such as Andis Blade Care Plus to prevent corrosion.

Maintain Blades: If your blades become dull, bring them to a blade sharpening service. The Cheshire Horse offers blade sharpening for very reasonable rates. Call 877-358-3001 to learn more. Blades can be sharpened many times, but eventually you may have to replace dull old blades with new ones.

Proper Storage: Loop your cord, and secure it with a twist-tie or other strap. Do not wrap the cord around the clipper, as this will cause internal twisting and damage the cord connections. Store in a safe, dry place.

Clipping and grooming tips courtesy of Andis Clippers and master body clipper Dana Boyd-Miller.

Clipping and grooming tips courtesy of Andis Clippers and master body clipper Dana Boyd-Miller.

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