It somehow feels like we were only just preparing for Summer and stocking up on fly repellent, yet here we are, on the countdown to Christmas as the Summer season draws to a close and we’re preparing to get the clippers out.
Clipping is a task often dreaded; after all, who wants to STILL be finding horse hair in their coat/trousers/boots in weeks to come. Yet, it really needn’t be that bad. Just remember the three P’s - Prepare, precision and perfection. If you get the first clip right, the rest should come quite easily. So here’s our top tips to getting it spot on that first time.
- Shampoo the day before to remove excess oils and to make the coat nice and soft before you start clipping. This will make the entire process a lot easier!
- Preparation. Start well. Sounds really silly, but make sure you’ve got freshly serviced clippers, plenty of clipper oil and a horse that’s dry and free of any excess mud. Keeping your horse rugged for at least an hour before will ensure its warm which will help the hair come off easier. Obviously, you don’t want a sweaty horse so just a lightweight stable rug should to the trick.
- Plan ahead – which sort of clip do you need? Get a piece of chalk (and the assistance of a diagram if needs be) and stencil around your saddle – rather than your saddlecloth - and the point at the top of legs where the clippers will finish. Stick to these lines! Keep checking with a diagram of your chosen clip to ensure you’re on point.
- Don’t leave the head until last. As the clip goes on, your horse is more likely to get fed up and a little agitated. Start somewhere easy (such as the rump or shoulder) then once you have a feel for it and the horse is happy with the clippers, clip the head.
- Be warned of clippers getting warm. Generally, the more expensive clippers don’t get hot after periods of use, but do check them. If they get hot, allow to cool down before resuming. Oiling can help cool them down a little quicker.
- Like us, horses have sensitive tickly areas. Be careful with them; the armpits and around the head and ears are the ones to be careful with. Having an extra pair of hands to pull legs forward and hold the head is always a huge help.
- Once you’ve finished clipping, clean your clippers with a soft brush and run some oil through them. Then with a flannel and warm water, rub your horse wherever you have clipped. This will draw out excess oils and dust and leave a beautifully shiny coat!
- Get your clippers sharpened on a lapping wheel – this is a form of sharpening that is similar to the method used when they’re initially made. Ensure they have an annual service and frequent oiling to maintain their quality and effectivity.
Now... Which rug?!