Clipping your horse: It’s not too late

The Trace Clip
Freedom models his trace clip

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.

Often you need to refresh a clip two or three times over the winter.

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:

Clipping: Working through winter

Tips on Clipping Parts of the Horse

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.

3 thoughts on “Clipping your horse: It’s not too late

  1. Hi my name is Cheyanne and i need help on how to shave my horse. i am showing my horse a the National Western Stock Show. This is my last year so i want to leave with a bang!. Its the middel of winter hes has a winter coat but he is blankit. i have one month before the show should i still save him and how. from Cheyanne in Denver Colorado

    1. Probably clipping him is a good idea. Do you have someone who can help you? A full body clip will look good but probably not the first time you do it! Generally even if you leave a few lines from the clipper they will “smooth” out after a few days so I’d plan on clipping him about 10 days before your show. Good luck!

  2. I clipped my horse this spring.,’s been very warm here in Southwest BC Canada….I thought it might be an issue for him but he totally enjoyed it! He’s so much more comfortable on our trail rides and ticks are super easy to find….I will definitely do this every spring… I had zero issues with first rides this year… My new Sensation Ride treeless saddle probably helped as well…23 yrs old and he’s still going strong

Leave a Reply