Top show rider Lynn Russell knows all about woolly horses, having so many cobs to clip each year! She says:
“With a thick coat, first clip the horse with a coarse blade then go over him with a fine blade to get a better finish. Another problem with horses with thick coats is that they can sometimes get tram lines, so to avoid this unsightly problem use a sharp blade with a flat bottom, making long, sweeping strokes, and overlap each line, maintaining the same pressure throughout the movement.”
Top event Rider Nicola Wilson says:
“If the first few clipping experiences for your horse are good, he will trust you and it won’t be a problem in the future. Make sure you’re not in a hurry, be patient and spend time getting the horse used to the noise of the clippers. Always take care, as horses’ legs can move very quickly. Be kind, patient and on your guard. We find that stretching the front leg forward makes the skin behind the elbow taught and easier to clip.
Horse trainer Michael Peace offers help for people with tricky horses.
“A horse who doesn’t like being clipped might feel trapped if you lock him in a stable and come at him with the clippers. instead, find somewhere safe but large enough for him to ‘escape’ if he needs to – an indoor school is perfect. Remember, getting a horse to accept clippers is a slow process which takes time and requires effort.”
Top event rider Mary King has the following advice:
“Draw clip lines on the body with chalk, then be brave and follow the lines with long sweeping actions. And take care not to let the machine get too hot, as this will upset your horse.”
Mary adds: “When you’ve finished clipping, switch the machine off and dip it in turps or white spirit to cool and clean and then leave the clippers clean for next time.”
H&R’s Editor, Nicky Moffatt, says:
“If your horse is fidgetty then make sure he is well exercised before you clip him. However, remember that you can’t clip a wet coat, so allow time for him to dry.”
We asked Karen Hughes, Head Groom to top event rider Harry Meade, for her clipping tips:
“Lightweight clippers are less tiring if you’re not used to clipping and they are easier to get into awkward areas. Try to apply an even pressure and allow the movement to flow through your wrist. Small trimming clippers are useful for the head, especially for tricky horses as they don’t vibrate as much.”
Carl Hester’s Head Girl, Fiona Lawrence, says:
“Make sure your horse is really clean, as a greasy coat blocks the blades and will spoil the finish.”
Thanks to Gatehouse Riding Hats and Coolex Horsewear for their help with this feature