Tuesday, 29 November 2016

To Clip

I've never body clipped a horse before. I tend towards wanting my horses to be able to live as naturally as possible. That said, I've never had a horse who is as hairy or sweaty as Kachina. Her sweat is impacting how much work we can do in the winter, and so I've been considering jumping on the clipping bandwagon. Half the horses at the dressage clinic this weekend were clipped and it made me think about it more.

Fuzzy yak

I had this whole long post written up yesterday "To Clip or Not to Clip?", and was planning to ask you guys for your thoughts. However, as I was laying out all the facts, I realized that I could answer that question myself. Reviewing old posts of other bloggers who have made the transition to clipping helped me to make the decision too (thanks all, especially Cob Jockey and Bel Joeor).

So I've decided To Clip. What now?

Type of Clip

I'm leaning towards a bib clip or low trace clip. This is new to both Kachina and I so I'd rather start conservatively. We can always take more off later if we need to, but even a small clip should help a bit.

Bye-bye chest hair

Function is my top priority by far, but there is also the small issue that Kachina is a loud overo pinto and I am planning to show in March so I don't want her to look completely ridiculous. There are shockingly few pictures of clipped pintos online, and I'm not sure how clip lines are going to look with her pattern.

What to Clip With

I don't own clippers. My first response to solve this problem was to go look at clippers on sale for Cyber Monday. After reading tons of reviews and looking at the different brands, I decided that was a silly plan. This is my first time clipping. I don't know how well it's going to work for us, and I only have one horse who will be clipped once or twice a year; it doesn't make sense for me to spend a few hundred dollars right away on brand new clippers. So what am I going to do instead?

Plan A 

Hire someone to clip for me. This is the best plan because I don't have to get clippers myself, and it also gets me an experienced person who knows what they are doing. I asked around and got the name of one lady in the area who clips horses. I've made initial contact and I'm hopeful that this plan will work.

Plan B

Borrow clippers. A friend has said that I can borrow her clippers if I want. (I thought her clippers died on her recently which is why I wasn't looking at this option originally, but I guess she got them going again).

Plan C

I also found someone local who is selling a second-hand pair of clippers - Oster Clipmasters. I know from reviews that these aren't considered the best option, but the price is right and so it might be worth going this route if Plan A and B fall through.

How to Clip

Even if I have a clippers, there's a few barriers to actually using it:

  1. To my knowledge, Kachina has never been clipped before. Some desensitization is probably going to be required. Keep in mind that I don't currently have access to clippers so I can't start getting her used to them.
  2. There's no hot water at the barn and it's already cold enough that I can't bathe. I know that clipping dirty hair is not ideal, but I'm not sure how to get around this other than going back in time and thinking about this a month ago. Just use a ton of show sheen? 
  3. Location. Ideally there would be a well lit tie stall or something with well located electrical outlets. In reality, the inside of the barn is super dark with motion sensing lights that shut off periodically. I'm not sure where is best to attempt the clip job but I'm sure long extension cords are going to be part of it. 

Sweaty horses get angry eyebrows

I'm hoping that the experienced clipper in Plan A can help me figure some of this out. Apparently she has worked with a lot of first-time horses so that makes me feel better. If you have any suggestions please let me know though.

When did you first clip? What made you try it? Are you glad you did or am I making a terrible mistake (speak now or forever hold your peace ;-P )?


  1. I am relatively new to clipping so take everything I say with a grain of salt. I believe that dirt can create lines but white hair tends to be more forgiving than say a chestnut.
    I actually bought my own clippers, but I didn't spring for body clippers. I went for a middle sized pair that are big enough that clipping one horse isn't bad but small enough I can use it for bridle paths and other small stuff. I posted about them earlier this month.
    As far as the why I clip the answer is because we are freaking hot. It is 70f/21c today. I don't think it will be a terrible mistake. Two weeks makes any clip job look better. Just take your time and use new blades and don't let the clippers get hot.

    1. Your clip job on Stinker looks so good!

      I follow a few blogs including yours from the southern states. Whenever you guys talk about clipping it makes perfect sense and I see why it's more universal there. Our climate is so different though and that's why I had a harder time deciding.

      Thanks for the advice!

  2. I've got some photos of Dee with various clips I could send you to get an idea of pintos with clips. I also have a small pair of older clippers I could send you. They are't strong enough to body clip with but they could help with desensitizing. Shoot me an email at renatep(at)me(dot)com

    I never get a chance to bath before clipping either. All I do is give them a really good groom (unless I'm feeling lazy, then I clip dirty and just sharpen my blades more often). I try and clip outside as much as I can, even if that means a 100' extension cord and chilly fingers.

    1. Oooh! I should have thought of talking to you sooner, a fellow Albertan pinto owner! I found your blog less than a year ago so I didn't realize that you clipped, but I just went back and looked at some of your old posts. Now that I'm looking for it I can see the clip in lots of photos but before I didn't even notice, good to know that the clip isn't super visible on white patches!

      Thanks so much for the kind offer. I think I will try Plan A first, but if Kachina wants nothing to do with the process then I might email you about your old clippers and start a longer process of getting her used to them.

  3. I did a trace clip on both horses a couple of years ago, and it was perfect for the work they were doing at the time! (Dressage + hacking 3-4x/week.) Both horses are heavy sweaters, so I still used a cooler after especially strenuous rides, but it was much easier to cool them out with less hair.

    I clipped Gina over the course of two days this year, but only bathed her once. I coated her in Show Sheen, and that was really helpful on the second day.

    I have a pair of Andis AGC Super 2-Speed clippers. They were about $150 and have worked well for any sort of clipping I have done. They also aren't too loud!

    Good luck with your clipping adventures!

    1. Thanks for the info!

      In my online search I found lots of good reviews about the Andis AGC clippers and that was one of the kinds I was looking at. I didn't find any for that cheap though! (partially because of currency exchange). Either way, I figure that it's cost effective for me to pay for a pro (ish) once and then invest in a pair myself for next time. I've never even witnessed a horse being body clipped so I plan to learn a lot by watching! (My barn is all fuzzy QHs who keep their fuzz)

    2. I have the AGC clippers. They work but the blade driver (which is made of plastic) wears out super fast on my non-bathed yak. I generally have to replace it once per clip. It's only about $8 but it's a giant pain.

    3. Good to know! Ideally I would like a clippers that can handle unbathed yaks ;-)

  4. Haha you're so lucky--that color of horse generally doesn't even show lines so you can do whatever you want and/or screw up royally and literally no one will no. Be sure to mock any of your friends who own dark chestnuts, because they have to be PERFECT.

    Fwiw, as long as your pro isn't unreasonable, I'd pay them for the first one. You can decide how it fits with your lifestyle and K's and then see where you want to go from there.

    Also. I have Andis AGC 2 speeds as my "little" clippers and I WOULD NOT want to body clip a yak with them. I mean, I guess if you're only doing a trace on one horse and don't care if it takes freaking forever... your mileage may vary. I'd also hesitate to borrow clippers just because you kinda don't want to have to buy new ones for your friend if they die because then you still wouldn't own any.

    I love clipping!

    1. Good to know about colour, though it'll be the chestnut and bay owners who will be laughing when it is time to bathe for a show, guess it all evens out in the end :-)

      Good points about the borrowing and the Andis. I'd like to go with the pro option, but apparently she only does clips once a week when I am at work so that might not work

  5. From my own experience, I have found the bib clips to be useless. Unless you get enough hair off, they still sweat like crazy. Again, that's my experience and it's not that cold here, so ymmv. Also, if you're only doing a bib clip, you can do it with cheapo dog clippers from like Wal-Mart/Target/Amazon. I did that with Dijon for years because I only clipped him a little.

    1. I'm thinking I'll end up getting some clippers myself, that way if the bib isn't working I can expand it to a bigger clip myself. Thanks for the suggestions