Why do you clip your horse during winter? It's one of the most frequently asked questions I receive at this time of the year, as it is around about now that I do have Beano clipped.
And it’s a completely valid question. But there is a method behind the madness!
As winter approaches and the horses start to grow their thick, woolly coats, it becomes increasingly difficult to ride or exercise your horse.
The main reason for clipping a horse during winter is to stop them from sweating when they are ridden. When you exercise a horse that still has its thick, winter coat, they often become sweaty and as their hair is so long, it takes a long time for their coat to dry properly which can lead to a number of health issues, including colds and colic.
Clipping a horse during winter means:
- You can continue to exercise your horse
- Makes grooming quicker
- It’s easier to keep an eye on your horse’s condition
Things to consider before clipping your horse:
Clipping during winter definitely has its benefits however, coupled with the fact that any horses spend less time out in the fields during winter, clipping can also lead to you having a horse with a lot of excess energy.
That’s why it’s so important to carefully consider whether you need to clip your horse. A horse that is being turned away for the winter, an older horse that already struggles to keep itself warm, or a horse in semi-retirement is unlikely to need clipping.
Which clip is right for your horse?
There are a huge array of horse clips for you to choose from. It's important to carefully consider your horse's workload, the rugs you have for them and whether you have the time in your day to go down to the yard to change the horse’s rugs twice a day, before deciding on a clip that takes off a large portion of your horse's hair.
I have Beano fully clipped (with the hair on his legs left on), he’s a forward going pony that is always on the go and is generally in a good amount of work so this clip works well for me. He’s also very well behaved, so other than the odd buck during winter from excitement, he doesn’t really become much more of a handful when he is clipped!
However, there are a huge number of clips that you could consider for your horse.
Some of the most popular types of body clips for horses are:
- Hunter Clip - Suitable for a horse with a heavy workload. This clip leaves the hair on the legs and a saddle patch to protect the horse's back from the saddle. Careful rugging is required for this clip to ensure that the horse doesn't get cold.
- Blanket Clip - Ideal for horses in medium work. The blanket clip leaves the hair on the horse's legs and across their back.
- Chaser Clip - Another one suitable for horses in medium work. The chaser is similar to the blanket clip, but the hair on the top of the neck is also left to keep these muscles warm.
- Trace Clip - A good clip for a horse in light to medium work. A trace clip only removes the hair from the underside of the belly, chest and neck.
- Bib Clip - If your horse is in light work, a bib clip might be suitable. This only removes the hair from the front of the neck and the chest.
When is the best time to clip?
There is no real definitive answer to this question. The best time to clip your horse really depends on your own circumstances, and how fast your horse grows their winter coat. Some competition horses are clipped all through the year to keep them looking tidy. Generally speaking though, most people will clip for the first time in October, then perhaps another one in December.
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