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6 Tips for the Perfect Clip

Updated: Sep 14, 2023

1. Make sure you have good light

Being able to see clearly what you are doing when clipping will have a big impact on the quality of your clip and your lines. The best place to clip is outside with natural light or in a well lit area. This will allow you to stand back and see the clip as it will look when you are riding. Working in a poorly lit area will make it much harder to spot any bits of hair you miss and to check if your lines are smooth and even.

2. Stand your horse on a level surface

Wobbly lines are the thing I hate the most when looking at a clip. Setting yourself up in the right space will make a huge difference to the chances of this happening. If your horse is standing on an uneven surface or on a slope, it will be much harder to get your clip even on both sides, or to keep the lines neat.

3. Be realistic

Take your and your horse’s clipping experience into account. If you’ve never clipped before, or your horse is nervous of the clippers, don’t start off with a full or a blanket clip. You’re always better to start with a simpler clip which involves taking off less hair, rather than starting and having to stop halfway through. A bib and belly or chaser clip is a good starting point. If you are nervous about clipping your horse for the first time ask your coach to give you a hand and give you some tips to set yourself up for success.

4. Bandage the tail

Working around the horse’s hindquarters can be fiddly and there’s nothing worse than the horse moving and accidentally clipping off part of their tail. Using a tail bandage will keep all the tail hair out of the way, making it much easier to work around the tail without worrying about an accident, it will also allow you to get a cleaner clip without having to handle a full tail.

5. You can always take more off

The most useful piece of advice I was given about clipping was, ‘you can always take more hair off, but you can’t stick it back on’. This is particularly true when you’re clipping your lines. You’re always better to clip a little higher than the line you want and you can then see if you’re happy with the lie of the line and go a little lower if you need to.

6. Start with a clean coat

A greasy or muddy coach will make it much harder to clip. The clippers will have to work harder to move through the coat and the grease and mud will start to blunt the clippers. This will cause them to heat up more quickly, blunt faster and are more likely to pull the coat which will upset your horse. Grooming your horse well regularly or keeping them rugged before clipping will prevent this from happening. You can also bath your horse, but I would advise against this in the winter unless you have a way of drying them out really well as a thick winter coat will take longer to dry and they might get a chill.

7. Wipe over afterwards

The way to bring out a shine in your horse’s coat after clipping is to give them a hot cloth. Fill a bucket with hot water and add an anti-bacterial solution, such as hibiscrub. Use a hand towel or old tea towel, dunk it in the bucket and wring out until damp, then wipe it all over the clipped areas of the horse, washing every couple of wipes. This will take the grease and left over clipper oil off the horse’s coat which will reduce any chance of irritation and help to give the coat a shine.

If you want more clipping tips, make sure you check out the September webinar Clip Like a Pro


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