Tips on Clipping your Hairy Pony

You asked, and we listened! Here are the answers to your questions about horse clipping…

Winter is fast approaching which means so is horse clipping time! Have you noticed your horses growing thicker coats for the cold weather ahead? Thick, long hair on your horse can be difficult to manage if you’re riding over the winter, so clipping your horse is a good idea to keep them cooler during exercise and looking well presented.

We asked on social media what your questions were about horse clipping and our Hairy Pony Groom Ambassador Airlie Princi has answered! Airlie is a professional horse groom, with almost 25 years of experience in the industry, specialising in clipping and show presentation, which is her passion.

“My clients have named me the horse detailer as I do pretty much everything there is to do regarding presentation and take the utmost pride in each and every aspect.” We couldn’t think of a better person to answer your questions than Airlie! If you’d like some pointers for clipping your horses this season, be sure to read on.

Clipping your horse

 When is the best time to clip your horse?

The best time to clip is simple – when it suits you and your situation!

We all have different situations, different work schedules, different home life, and of course different disciplines, so there is no right or wrong time, you just do what works for you and your horse.

 How do I get a shine back my horse's coat quickly after clipping?

Ultimately a healthy shine will come from within, so a balanced nutritious diet is a must to produce a good coat. Healthy skin means a healthy coat. Dry skin will lead to a dull coat post-clipping, I’ve always said that post-clipping, you want your coat to feel like satin, not velvet. Once clipped, the skin is exposed more to the weather and just like our own hair and skin, it can dry out due to the elements.  A daily grooming routine of curry combing to increase circulation and use of a hot oil  will help replenish the hair follicles and help prevent skin from drying out and becoming scurfy.  Avoiding the use of silicon-based and mineral oil-based sprays is a must as they just coat the hair from the outside, rather than nourish from the inside.

I personally use and recommend the Hairy Pony Essential Oil Coat Conditioner after clipping. Following a quick shampoo to get all the small prickly hairs off the body, I will put about 100mls of oil into an 8lt bucket of warm water, and sponge liberally over the horse’s body.

This will give a deep, post-clip, conditioning treatment. For everyday grooming, I place roughly 50ml into a 1lt spray bottle and spray over the coat post ride or whenever I am grooming, which I try to do every day even when clipped.

 How do you avoid lines in the coat when you clip?

Avoiding lines in your clip is a technique that is learned with practice. Simply put, make sure you are always going against the grain of the hair, and try to avoid cross-cutting, which is cutting across the grain.  Make sure your blades are clean and sharp and you apply even pressure when clipping.

 Any advice for horses that are nervous about getting clipped?

Clipping the nervous horse is the same as trying anything with the nervous horse. Take your time, and find a horse clipper with the appropriate amount of expertise and experience that will not rush the job.  Start small and slow – don’t go for the full show clip for the first timer, perhaps leave the legs and head so as not to put undue pressure first up. 

 Any tips for fixing a bad clip?

Fixing a bad clip is not as simple as it sounds, it can be tidied somewhat straight away by spending a bit more time going across lines in a different direction or evening out patches by adjusting the pressure you hold the blades to the skin but to truly clean up the clip, it is best to let the hair grow for a week or two and then redo.  If you have been the one to give it a go, good on you, but for the clean up ask a professional and pay close attention to how they do it, ask questions, and get tips, we don’t bite, I promise! Clipping is not rocket science, it’s not a hard job but it is a job that can be done very badly, very easily and a bit of extra time and patience is always best if you are not 100% confident. Practice makes perfect!

 Can you still use a quarter mark comb on a clipped coat?

I get asked quite a lot about “how do showies clip in quarter marks” some may giggle at this but for the uninitiated and those that have not been involved in the magic of show ring presentation, this is what it looks like.  Quarter marks can only work on a coat that has enough length to it that the hair will remain in a different direction, therefore a freshly clipped coat will not hold quarter marks or sharksteeth.

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