The question of when should you body clip your horse is a common one, especially as the days get cooler and our horses begin growing their winter coats. There are a few key signs that the time is right to start thinking about body clipping your horse. One is when the mud starts currying off of their coats more easily. Another is when they don’t dry as quickly after exercise and a bath. And, finally, when they are wearing their winter rugs more often than not.
If you are going to body clip your horse, it is important that they are calm and settled for the process. This means that they should be fed, washed if needed, and that they are comfortable in the area where you will be clipping them. It is also helpful to have another person close by who can help to distract the horse if they get agitated or pass you the tools if needed. A halter and lead rope are also useful to keep your horse close by and safe throughout the clipping process.
When body clipping a horse for the first time, it is best to start with a small region and work up to full body clips. This way, your horse will become accustomed to the sound and feeling of the clippers before moving on to bigger regions and being in closer proximity to them. When starting to body clip a horse, you should mark up the area that you plan to clip, switch on the clippers and slowly move them over your horse’s body without cutting anything. This will acclimate them to the noise and feel of the clippers and will make them more receptive to the experience in the future. It is also a good idea to have multiple pairs of blades so that you can swap out the blades if they are getting too hot or not cutting well. Having a dandy brush to wipe away any excess hair that builds up is also very handy.
After body clipping a horse, it is a good idea to have a blanketing plan in place for your horse. A lot of clipped horses require intentional blanketing during cool/cold weather to offset their decreased ability to keep themselves warm compared to a fully grown winter coat. If you are unsure of how to blanket your horse or what type of blanket is appropriate, you should discuss this with your trainer or barn manager.
Overall, body clipping your horse can be a great way to minimize their need for insulation in cold weather. It allows them to dry more quickly after exercise and helps prevent chills caused by a wet, sweaty coat. It can also reduce the amount of mud that you find on your horses after exercising. It is recommended that only horses in good body condition should be body clipped, as their natural coats can act as a barrier against wind, rain, and cold temperatures.