Guest Author - Kim Wende
Do you like to ride during the winter, but you're concerned with your horse getting to sweaty? If that is the case you might want to consider clipping your horse to help them cool out faster. Clipping them can greatly enhance the cool-down process.
Types of body clips from the simplest to the most extreme:
*Belly and Neck Clip – remove the hair under the chin down the front of the neck between the forelegs and along the length of the belly.
*Chaser Clip – remove a wide strip of hair under the chin along each side of the neck, halfway over the shoulders down the barrel and to the flank. There will be no hair left on the underside of the belly as it is clipped bare. Hair will be unclipped on the legs, face and the upper half of the body.
*Trace Clip – this clip has varied patterns, but generally you will clip the lower half of the body starting at the mid-line of the neck down the underside of the neck the lower half of the shoulder down the mid-line of the barrel to the hindquarters. Hair will be unclipped on the upper half of the body, legs and face.
*Blanket Clip – clip the hair off of the shoulders and neck only and leave the legs unclipped. You will also leave the hair in a blanket shape on the body of the horse.
*Hunter Clip – the hair is removed from the entire body except for the patch of hair under the saddle and the legs.
*Full Body Clip – the hair is removed from the entire body including the head and legs.
If you choose to clip your horse make sure they are clean and dry before clipping them. Clipping a dirty horse will dull your clipper blades quickly and is very hard on the clippers. If the weather is cold and you can't bathe them use a water-less shampoo.
Consider clipping your horse in sections over a couple of days if they are not used to being clipped. If your weather is extremely cold take into consideration that your horse will need to be blanketed. If the weather changes and it gets warm will someone be around to remove the blanket so your horse does not get sweaty?
An option to consider if this is the first time you're going to clip your horse is to use a blade that will leave the hair a little bit longer as you can always clip it shorter if needed. If you clip them late in the year just know that the clipped pattern may still be visible into early summer.
After riding, put a cooler on your horse if they are sweaty as it helps wick away moisture so they don't cool down to fast and catch a chill. Always make sure your horse is dry before you put them away after riding as you don't want any lingering moisture which can chill your horse easily.
Just keep in mind if you choose to clip your horse you are removing the horse's natural defenses against the cold. Clipping them will require extra care and they will need to be blanketed.