Let ’em shed? Or clip it all off?

Freedom with his winter coat
Even with the remains of his trace clip, Freedom is still overheating in the balmy temperatures in Boston this spring.

The temperatures in the Boston area are expected to be in the 70s in the coming week — after being in the high 60s earlier this week. It’s not often that I can ride in shirt sleeves in March and feel hot!

Not to complain, but the heat is getting to Freedom, too. Although I trace clipped him in the fall, he’s furry enough now that he’s really getting hot from even a modest work out. He’s not really shedding yet, no matter how vigorously I groom him.

I’ve been eying his winter coat all week and just itching to take my clippers to him but then the temperatures dropped and it was raw and rainy.

Now I’m tempted to give him a bath on Sunday and then cut it all off. I’m not crazy about the color of a recently clipped chestnut, but there’s plenty of time for his summer coat to grow in.

Do you let your horse shed naturally? Or do you take matters into your own hands and clip?


4 thoughts on “Let ’em shed? Or clip it all off?

  1. You might find that Freedom knows more about the weather if he is not yet shedding his coat

    1. I’m not too worried about the few nights when the temperature drops. He has more clothing than I do! Seriously, it’s easier to keep a horse warm than to keep them from overheating.

  2. I’ve been having this issue all winter. It’s making me nuts. We’re good at the moment, because a chilly storm has come in. But in January, when it’s usually cold, it was…70 during the day and below freezing at night. 50 degree temp swings make me worry about colic. Until yesterday, it’s been feeling almost tropical. I was riding during a rain storm in a T-shirt…and sweating. At this point, I’m letting him shed out, since he’s doing it in copious amounts. But next year? Full body clip. I used his new winter Rambo exactly 4 times all winter! He was too hot. 🙂

  3. I don’t think all horses “know” when to shed. I live in Denmark and I have 1) a Fjord 2) a Gotland Pony 3) a Shetland x Icelandic 4) a Shetland x Miniature. All basically Native Northern European pony breeds, right? The Fjord has lost all her long cat hairs but has retained everything else so far. If things go like they did last year she will shed everything in one go about mid April but it will be up to me to clip her throatlatch; the Godland, who is slightly PPID, is new to me and is shedding big time and will be the first in summer coat I think; the Shetland x Icelandic hasn’t dropped a single hair and last year didn’t manage a summer coat until July. He is (has been tested) not PPID. 4) the Shetland x mini is positively molting and giving the Gotland a run for her money in the summer coat race–she’s new to me too and I’m curious to see if her summer coat is thick like a Shetty or sleek like a Mini (the latter I hope).

    Point is, even a group of horses with similar genetics living in the environment they basically evolved to be suited for have a huge range in shedding dates and patterns. I have decided to clip the Shetland x Icelandic as there is very little shade in our summer pasture and last year he was sometimes sweaty just from loafing around in the pasture in early summer before he finally got rid of the last of his winter coat. This year we plan to use him a lot and he tends to be a bit of an a-hole when he’s overheated so that coat’s gotta’ go. I also tend to work them in the first half of the day which means that if they do get a bit hot they have plenty of time to dry before nightfall so the other three will be left to shed at their own rate. Together with their shedding habbits I think you have to take into acount the environment you provide them and the work you expect of them.

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