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To Clip or Not To Clip?

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That time of year has come upon us again ‘To clip or not to clip?’ Hoping to make that decision easier for you we have created a useful Clipping Guide.

Read more about how, why and when to clip

Why Clip?

  • Clipping is beneficial to a horse that will be worked throughout the winter because it prevents the horse from becoming too sweaty.
  • It can help prevent your horses tack rubbing
  • Clipping your horse can cut down on time spent grooming
  • Keeping the legs and fetlocks clipped can help prevent conditions such as mud fever since the mud will have no hair to cling onto
  • Horses with some health conditions, for example Cushings disease, may be unable to shed out their winter coat in the spring, so clipping does this for them

Consider: Age, as an older horse may have more difficulty battling the elements and may need a blanket even if not clipped. Make sure appropriate rugs and shelter are available for a horse that has been clipped.

When to Clip?

For the average horse the ideal time to clip is October, once their winter coat has come through. Most horses will need to be clipped every 3 weeks up until Christmas to keep on top of hair growth. Following Christmas you shouldn’t really have to get out your clippers too often, once or twice depending on the horse.

Which Clip?

The type of clip depends on the amount of work you intend to do and how you will keep the horse over winter. If he lives out 24/7 and you only hack out it is unlikely he would need a full clip. See the guide below for a variety of popular clips and their uses (ie. ideal for light/medium/heavy workload).

Remember: When you clip your horse you are removing his natural protection from the elements so he will need to be rugged appropriately. Preparation: Make sure your blades are sharpened regularly – in-store we offer a clipper blade sharpening service.

  • On selected dates at our Selby store over winter, you can bring your blades and have them sharpened whilst you wait (OR SHOP!!) or leave them with us and collect at a time to suit you, we still have our regular weekly drop off and collection service. Click to find out more
  • At the Melton Mowbray store, drop your blades with us and they can be sent off to be sharpened. This usually takes about a week

Make sure your clippers are serviced annually Make sure the horses coat is clean (a bath the day before is advisable if possible) Have all your equipment ready including spare blades and clipper oil. Prepare yourself for clipping - wear old clothing or overalls.
Tip: Applying a tail bandage and bunching up the mane and holding in place with plaiting bands stops them getting in your way.

How to Clip?

Once you’ve chosen a suitable type of clip for your horse and you’ve got everything prepared here’s how to clip:

  • Mark up where you’re going to clip using saddle soap or chalk
  • Turn the clippers on away from your horse and approach calmly
  • Start at the shoulder, as this is a less sensitive area
  • Use long, overlapping strokes going against the direction of hair growth
  • Pull horse’s skin tight with your free hand and do not attempt to clip folds or wrinkled skin
  • When clipping around elbows have a helper pull the front leg forward so you can reach more easily
  • Do not force the clippers through the coat. If the blades are not cutting they may need sharpening, or tensioning
  • When clipping whorls (where the direction of hair growth changes), change the direction/angle of your clippers accordingly
  • Once finished brush off any loose hair with a soft brush
  • We recommend using a hot cloth on your horse to remove any grease and give a clean finish

TIPS: Remember to brush and oil your clippers every 10 minutes or as needed. Check that the blades are not getting too hot or blunt; swap them for a spare set if they are. Having a rug to hand to put on your horse while you’re clipping can help keep them warm. If you’re clipping the neck and chest for example, you can fold the rug so that it sits on his quarters.   

Recommended Clippers From Our Resident Clipper Expert 

Liveryman Red Rocket - excellent choice if you have young or nervous horses. A 90W machine with a permanent magnetic motor, meaning they won’t overheat even if used for long periods of time, they are extremely quiet (probably the quietest on the market). Suitable for the 1 or 2 horse owner, or even a small yard. They have a slim line body, great for us ladies and are relatively lightweight. These clippers take A102 blades and can also be interchanged with Heiniger blades.

Wolesley Harrier Clipper - a good clipper for the larger yard or for contract clipper. These are a very powerful 325W machine, which will glide through any coat thrown at them like a knife going through melted butter. They are reasonably light and quiet for such a big machine so shouldn’t cause too much strain if being used for longer periods of time. These take the standard A2 blades and can be interchanged with the Liveryman A2 blades. 

Liveryman Harmony Plus Clipper - is great if you’re looking for a lightweight clipper that can do a bit of everything. This machine is a lightweight clipper that can also be used as a trimmer. The clipper itself has a built in battery that will give around 2 hours of clipping time. They are supplied with a battery pack which will give you approximately 4 hours of clipping time. If this still isn’t enough you can always plug in to the mains. The blades are pre tensioned meaning you can just pop off the blades and clip them back in without having to alter anything. Supplied with a narrow blade as well, this machine is great if you only have 1 or 2 horses or if you only want do a small clip and some tidying.

Liveryman Classic Trimmer - A great trimmer which is powerful enough to keep on top of legs, faces and even hogging. The new design has a brushless motor which means it will last for at least 10,000 hours. This trimmer is very light weight and has sharp ceramic and Titanium coated steel blades which should give around 4 hours trimming time from a 2.5 hour charge. The blades can be adjusted from 0.8mm, 1.2mm, 1.6mm to 2mm, they also come with extra combs making it a very versatile piece of kit to have.

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