Trimming Tips: Making It Easy for You and Your Horse

Clipping and Trimming

Clipping provides the perfect bonding time between you and your horse. However, if you do not do it right, it will not be a bad experience for both the both of you.

Follow the guidelines below to make clipping easy and fun for you and your horse.

Prepare the clippers

Horse clipping requires two clippers. The first one is a large shearing clipper to use on large areas of clipping such as the back. The second one is a small clipper to use on sensitive areas such as the face.

Make sure your two clippers are sharp. The sharper the blades, the easier the clipping. Your new clippers probably do not need sharpening. But old clippers need some sharpening before use.

Also, check that the blades are clean. Dirt on the blades will hamper the clipping process.
Then, oil the clean blades. Lubricated blades run smoothly.

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Pro tip: Do not use a hot clipper. Heat on your clipper indicates that the motor is overheating. An overheating motor will not run the blades smoothly. When your clipper heats, let it cool down by turning it off for a few minutes.
Of course, quality clippers are a crucial factor for a smooth clipping session. Visit for a review of the best horse clippers.

Prepare your horse for clipping

Clipping and trimming, groom before you start

Grooming your horse before clipping is essential. The dirt on the coat of your horse will quickly dull your clippers. Brushing the coat is enough. However, to remove as much dirt as possible, bath your horse the day before clipping.

If you are not going for a full-body clipping, mark off your clipping pattern using chalk or masking tape.

The noise from clippers is frightening to most horses, especially first-timers to clipping. Therefore, you need to let the horse no the sound is not life-threatening. You do this by, first letting the horse see the clippers. Then, turn them on when you are a few feet away. The idea is to let them know that the clippers are the source of the sound.

The vibration feeling of clippers on the skin can be frightening too. See how they will react by placing the handle end of the powered-on clipper on their side. You want them to get used to the vibrations and learn that the clipper is not harmful.

Carefully clip your horse

Before you begin cutting the hair, make sure you are using the right blade number. The higher the blade number, the closer the shave. Generally, most people use #15 on body clippers for areas with medium length hair such as the belly and back. Use #10 on the smaller clipper for sensitive areas such as the face and legs. The bridle path, muzzle, and ears have longer hair, so consider using a high blade number such as #40.

When clipping, go against the direction of hair growth. That ensures that you cut the hair to the length of blade number. Overlap your strokes, same way you would do when mowing a lawn, to ensure a smooth and even shave.

As you clip, keep the blades lubricated. Also, regularly brush off hairs from the blades. More importantly, do not let the clippers get too hot. You can keep the clippers cool for longer by using a blade lubricant that also acts as a coolant.

Clean after clipping

Obviously, you should brush off the loose hair when you finish clipping. Use a soft brush or towel.

The clipping leaves oil and grease from both the blade wash and the clipper oil. These oil and grease patches can lead to hives on the horse’s skin. Therefore, consider washing your horse with hot water and astringent (aftershave) or soap.

Clean your clippers too. Cleaning the blades prolongs their lifespan. Wipe or brush off hairs from the body and blades of your clippers. Then, use blade wash to rinse the blades.

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