It’s one of the necessary evils of horse-owning, alongside shelling out the price of a pair of Kurt Geigers every six weeks to get your pride and joy shod and spending twice as much time squaring your muck heap as perfecting your 20m circles. But clipping season doesn’t have to be stressful – in fact, with solid preparation and after-care it can be a super satisfying job on your year-end agenda. Ready to turn those winter woollies into silk? We’ve got all the advice you need.
A polished finish doesn’t come by accident and is instead the result of meticulous planning. It’s important to prepare several things – your horse’s skin and coat, your clipping station and tools. However, before you start, you’ll first need to think about timing. Are you clipping simply because your horse has started to get too hot during work?
Or are you going in for the big shave ahead of a competition? If the latter, you’ll want to give yourself at least a week’s grace period after the clip to allow your horse’s coat to settle, any residual lines to fade and to give you time for any necessary touch-ups.
The clipping checklist
A few days prior to the clipping session, you should ensure you’re fully stocked for a successful haircut. You’ll need…
- a clean, serviced pair of clippers
- a functional battery pack, if applicable, or an extension cable with trip switch if using mains clippers
- a set of freshly-sharpened blades – and, ideally, a back-up set
- clipper oil or blade spray, a rag and a small brush
- plaiting bands or hair clips
- a tail bandage
- a piece of chalk for marking lines and saddle patch
- a clean body brush
- a pair of trimmers for fiddly areas
- a haynet
- coat-shine spray
Get prepared for your first clip of the season with the help of November Horse&Rider, on sale 17 September.