Tips On Horse Clipping.
Consider the following before clipping
- Is your horse going to be doing enough work?
- Have you enough rugs and the time to rug to keep him/her warm?
- Will the horse be stabled at night?
- What is the best type of clip for your horse?
- Would it be better and cheaper to get someone else to do the clipping?
- Depending on breed and thickness of coat a horse may need to be clipped every six weeks, are you able to do that?
- Before you start talk to your horse and run the clippers so that the horse gets used to the noise.
- Start clipping at the horse's shoulder as this is a less sensitive area. Place the clippers on top of your hand so the horse feels the vibrations through your hand.
- Place your free hand flat on the horse while you work to help calm the horse.
- Overlap each stroke to avoid any "tram lines". While clipping the body, the clippers must run flat over the coat, don’t use too much pressure otherwise you will create lines known as ‘tram-lines’. On the other hand, when clipping the legs and face you will need to clip against the hair as it is shorter than the rest of the hair on the horse’s body.
- Always clip against the direction that the hair grows in and if possible use long, continuous strokes with the blades flat against the skin. Work up the neck towards the head.
- Clip an inverted "V" at the top of the front legs, the "V" should follow the line of the muscles at the top of the leg.
- To neaten straight lines clip into it at a 90 degree angle with short strokes. Alternatively, turn the clippers "side-on" so that the blades neatly cut along the jagged edge.
- Ask a friend to help you clip the awkward places such as behind the elbow. Pull the skin taught to avoid nicking the skin.
- Clip a line at the top of the hind legs to follow the muscles towards the stifle.
- Use a tail bandage and plait the mane to ensure that the tail hairs don't get caught up.
- Don't leave the head until last. Start clipping the head by working from the chin groove up to the throat. Us a bridle on the horse to line up the edge of the clip with the bridle cheek piece.
- Don't clip the mane or go too close to the mane line.
- Stop clipping if the blades are hot, it will upset the horse, pull the hair and may mean that the blades are too tight.
- If your horse comes out in bumps after clipping he/she may be allergic to the clipper oil.
- Take your time - a rushed job will show.
- Use a smaller set of clippers for the head and hard to reach areas. Take care though as two different types of clippers on the same horse may result in an uneven finish.
- Protect the horse's eyes.
- Stand back and look at what you have done to make sure you are clipping straight.
- Clip the front and back legs to the same level.
Maintenance of your clippers should include
- Read the manufacturer's instruction book before you start to clip.
- Keep your clippers in a dry place.
- Remove hair from under the blades and oil any moving parts. Also remove the hair from the filters during use, this helps keep the clippers cool.
- Remove the blades (keep them in pairs as they are manufactured in pairs) and clean and oil them. Wash the filters in soapy water, but don't let the water near the clippers and make sure that the filters are dry before you put them back. When finished clipping get the blades sharpened so they are ready for the next time (the blades should last between 5-10 clips between sharpening).
- Keep your blades sharp - Overheating creates more friction of clipper blade parts causing wear, and increases the chance of clipper burn.
- Lubricate with clipper oil during use. Aerosols do not always lubricate the blades sufficiently.
- Don't dip the clippers in an oil bath as the oil may drip into the motor and damage the clippers.
- Don't over tighten the tension screw as you may increase the wear and overheat the blades.
- Once a year, or every 100 hours, remove the head from the clippers, clean out any hair and apply grease to the gears.
- Check that the cable is not damaged.
Below is a general guide to safety when clipping
- With mains powered clippers always use a circuit breaker.
- Where extensions are used make sure that that the lead is kept well away from the horses legs and any buckets of water.
- Choose a well lit stable with a non-slip floor.
- Remove all objects that your horse could stumble over, such as water buckets.
- Ask a friend to hold the horse.
- Avoid clipping outside if it is wet and windy. Choose a mild day and a quiet time on the yard.
- Check your clippers for any exposed or loose wires.
- If your horse has a tendency to kick pick up the legs to clip them, or get someone to hold up a foreleg. Fastening an old rug the wrong way round the front of the chest and then buckle over the withers. This will cushion any kicks from the forelegs.
- Wear a hard hat and leather chaps if you think the horse may cause trouble.