Unless you give your horse a winter break from riding or training, it is now coming the time where the decision to clip or not to clip comes into play.
We are clipping our horses to help them dry out from our daily exercise in winter. As autumn approaches and the days become shorter and cooler, our horses grow thicker and longer coats. This coats allow them to go through winter without any problems. The natural oils and the thickness of the inner hair repels humidity, rain and frost, nothing gets into the thick layer of winter hair… the only problem comes when we ride them without having clip them and they become sweaty.
Horses sweat comes from the inner of the body through the outside, and when the horse has its winter coat that means that sweat is soaking the whole of the horse’s coat on its way out the horse’s body ; it takes ages for the horse to be able to dry out and with so, exposing the horse to become chilly and with the possibility to get a cold.
Clipping the horse in winter it becomes a safer and less time consuming task; we can groom them easily before and after exercise, they feel more comfortable and they dry much better and sooner if we clip them. If we clip them we must make sure of:
As we remove the only protection they have against the environment, we have to make sure to be able to provide with extra warming, that means, putting them rugs. Also with the rugs, we have to make sure we check them thorough the day so they are fitted properly and have not slipped ( and rub the horse’s skin ) as well as change the thickness of it depending on the daily weather.
Some of the more used clipping styles
Full Clip: All hair is removed. Use this clip for horses with very thick or coarse coats or for horses in very hard work. Carefully check the horse over for knocks,cuts and bruising as they have no hair for protection they are more at risk.
Hunter Clip: This is where the saddle patch and the horses legs are left with hair on and the rest is removed,this gives them protection from the saddle and against day to day trials such as mud,thorns,rain and will offer some warmth.
Chaser clip: This is where a straight line is clipped to run from the horses stifle across the horse diagonally up to the horses ears.
This means that the horse has hair covering the top half of their body assisting them to stay warm with the under side of the neck and belly being removed. The forelegs will still have the hair left on.
Bib Clip :Ponies that live out and ponies which require a small amount of hair to be removed will benefit from this clip as it quite simply removes the hair from part of the neck and into the chest area giving a shape that looks like a bib at the front of the horse. To extend on from this you can take the clip slightly higher up the neck to the base of the jaw and extend the clip from the chest around the top of the front legs going between the front legs.
Blanket clip: Hair is left on the top of the back of the horse with the legs also being left on, this offers them protection and warmth from the saddle, from the cold, when out being exercised or in the field.
the circle running on the flank will help prevent this area from sweating up and looks pleasing to eye, especially when the horse is working.
Trace clip : This is a cross between a chaser clip and a blanket clip. The upper half of the horses neck,tummy and hindquarters are left with hair on while the under side has the hair removed.
Remember though! If you clip your horse, he will need a replacement for the lost hair, so blankets or rugs will need to be put on them so they are warm and cosy during the cold winter days.