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Should I clip my horse?

Posted on 17 August 2018 by Kim

Should I clip my horse?

To clip or not to clip.  That is the question!

Autumn already feels like it’s more or less here as the temperatures are cooler at night and the daylight hours have started to dwindle.  When this happens, you’ll have noticed your horse’s coat has started to change too.  A popular misconception is that this happens when the temperature starts to drop but this is not the case.  This process starts in the second half of August.  In September the sleek, summer look has usually started to disappear and then by October, the woolly winter coat is apparent. It continues to grow until the year’s end.

When should I do my first clip?

Generally, the first clip is in early October, the second in November and the final clip in December. Planning ahead will make the task easier for both you and your horse. Here are some points to consider as part of your planning

Why clip?

Horses grow a thick, heavy winter coat to keep them warm in the colder weather of the winter, so why clip and go against nature’s way of keeping them warm?

The primary reason why horses are clipped is to enable them to be exercised comfortably during this colder weather without undue sweating.

Clipping allows the body heat caused through exercise to escape, which prevents the horse from becoming too sweaty. If not properly cooled down after a ride, the horse can become chilled as the sweat cools and the long coat remains damp. A heavy winter coat can take a couple of hours to properly dry, and a horse that becomes chilled may be more prone to colic, colds, and other serious health conditions.

Clipping... 

  • conserves condition by avoiding heavy sweating
  • makes grooming easier and more effective
  • makes your horse look smarter, often younger and maintains a better, healthier looking coat
  • in the autumn can invigorate your horse which means he’ll have a lot more energy.

So, for your training and/or competition strategy, you really need to think about the timing of when you clip, e.g. on the run up to a competition, if steadiness is required, clip 2-3 weeks before the event.  Alternatively, if brightness and energy are required, you may clip up to the day before the event.

When do you start clipping? Do you clip all year round or just in the autumn?

Share your horse clipping tips in the comments below. You never know, your tip may just help a fellow equestrian!

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Author

Kim Horton

Co-Founder of EQUUS and a keen equestrian, when Kim's not at her desk she's with her horse, Waldo.

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