If you’re clipping your horse for the first time, it can be difficult to know where to start. Clipping expert Lisa Edmed shares her advice.

Positive introductions

Go up to your horse first to say hello without any equipment. Give him a treat and let him smell you. People clipping often wear suits that can be scary to a young horse.

Once he’s happy, start with trimmers — turn them on and off and, as long as he doesn’t show signs of being nervous, stroke him with them.

Now, if he’s happy, start taking his hair off. Always have a helper standing at his head giving him attention or treats to keep the experience positive.

Don’t tie him up

Personally, I don’t like horses being tied up to be clipped, especially first timers. I like them to be able to walk away (within reason) if they need to and not feel trapped.

It gives them confidence if they can move away when something’s worrying them. Being held in a secure area outside is much safer than being tied up in a stable.

Read the signs

Look for signs that he isn’t happy, such as fidgeting and pulling away. If you think he’s becoming anxious, give him a short break before trying again.

Going bigger

Once he’s happy with the smaller trimmers, you can then build up to using the bigger ones that are noisier and vibrate more.

I use a cordless pair of bigger trimmers on young horses initially — they are safer than wired clippers. You can then work up to using the bigger clippers.

Keep it short

Only do a low, minimal clip first time, such as a bib and belly clip or a small Irish clip. You don’t want your horse having to stand still for too long and you don’t want to be too high above him.

I always keep hair on a first-timer’s back for the first few clips too, as they can be very sharp to ride after being clipped. Not having any hair in this area can make the problem worse.

A good time

Keep the experience as positive as possible. If you’re nervous, get an experienced person to clip your horse the first time. Even if you feel confident enough to do it yourself, always enlist a helper.

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