Whenever I go out for a hack and run into people walking on the trails the first thing I’m asked is why my horse is two colors.
“It’s because I paid extra,” I like to tell them. “The second color costs more.”
Of course then I explain that I do what’s called a “trace clip” on my horse because he gets hot working in the snow and this helps him cool down without getting chilled.
My philosophy on clipping is to start with as little as possible then take off more hair as the weather and the workload warrants. That approach also lets me correct mistakes that I make while clipping! Of course the best part about clipping a trace clip is that people cannot see both sides of your horse simultaneously so it really doesn’t matter if it’s slightly different on each side.
Now that the weather is changing, I’m going to clip off the rest of my horse’s winter coat. Contrary to popular opinion, clipping in the spring will not ruin your horse’s summer coat. It merely gets rid of the remnants of winter hair. It does take a few weeks for the coat to “bloom” but since many people clip their horses year ’round, if you don’t like shedding, don’t hesitate. Results from a recent poll on the Chronicle of the Horse Forum show that 40 out of 67 people believe in skipping the shedding process.
In my part of the country, clipping also allows me to find ticks more easily so not only is the horse immediately more comfortable, but it’s also imminently practical.
Clipping is not rocket science. The basic requirements are a clean horse and sharp blades. However, don’t clip your horse for the very first time right before you show or go someplace important. I’ve seen some pretty ugly clip jobs over the years!
Much has been written on how to clip and how much to clip off. Here are some of the articles that I think are good:
And here’s a great series on how to clip a horse from Horse and Hound TV. They feature Jodie Summers who grooms for British eventer Mary King.