You’ve probably noticed your horse’s coat starting to grow thicker, and are likely to be considering clipping. But before you switch on the clippers, check out these eight tips from Vicky Goody of Clippersharp to help you produce a clip that makes your horse look super smart — and one you’ll be proud of.
1 Which clip?
First, decide on the type of clip that your horse will need. Be realistic about your workload and expectations for the winter months and consider carefully before you clip everything off.
2 Clean lines
To get straight lines and curves takes practice. Decide what style of clip you’re going to do and use chalk to draw the lines of the clip on your horse’s coat. It’s much easier to follow once you have a pattern.
Where possible, use your horse’s natural body lines to get a good shape to the clip. For example, the leg muscles on the hindleg that come down diagonally from the stifle to the hock area, and the area of muscle behind the elbows.
3 Get rid of any dirt
To ensure the clipper blades run through your horse’s coat smoothly and efficiently, make sure he’s spotlessly clean and dry, whether by thorough grooming, or bathing him the day before if the weather allows. Make sure he’s completely dry before you start clipping.
4 Choose the correct blade
It’s important to choose the correct grade of blade, particularly if your horse is white or light-coloured and has pink skin.
Selecting a medium-grade blade will give you a more natural finish, rather than it looking as though you’ve ‘skinned’ him.
Greys are probably the most difficult to achieve a perfect finish on — many people make the mistake of using too fine a blade, and then every line shows for the first week or so.
5 Get oiling
Oil across the blades before you start, and do it again every five to 10 minutes. This ensures that the blades perform correctly and without too much heat. It will also help to give you a smooth finish, as well as keep an edge on the blades for longer.
6 Final brush off
Before you start clipping, give your horse a final brush over to ensure that his coat feels clean and smooth, then apply a coat sheen spray, buffing in with a soft mitt. This will help the blades to glide through the coat effortlessly.
7 Start in the right place
Choose a large area to start with and begin with confidence, clipping against the lie of the hair. Hold the clippers in the hand nearest to your horse and then place your other hand on him, just to the side of where you’re clipping.
8 Use both hands
Use your ‘spare’ hand (ie the one not holding the clippers) to give some tension on the skin by moving it away from the clippers, ensuring that the skin is always flat. The feel of your hand there also acts as reassurance to your horse.
9 Long sweeps
Clip with long, even sweeps, keeping the head of the clipper parallel to the skin and applying a consistent, firm pressure.
10 Remember to overlap
Overlap each of your clipping lines by about a quarter of the width of the blade. This will help keep unsightly tram lines at bay.
11 Apply even pressure
Keeping an even pressure takes a bit of practice, but once you get the feel of it and know the right pressure to use, you’ll be well on your way to a perfect finish.