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Horse Clips: A Cut Above The Rest

There’s something ironic about the fact that we’re putting our coats on – and getting ready to take our horses’ coats off.

It's now time for your best horse clip design!


Yes, it’s clipping time – a chance to marvel at how horse hair can find its way under the tightest clothing, even if you fasten rubber bands over your sleeves.

Some people have already turned fluffy beasts into sleek beauties. If you haven’t but plan to, please think twice before removing every hair. How many horses and ponies need a full clip? How many owners opt for taking everything off, because they are either frightened of attempting alternatives?

Keeping a fully clipped horse warm takes an especially conscientious owner, especially in the rain and wind. It’s sad to see riders standing around in collecting rings or meandering around the roads with fully clipped horses, without at least keeping their animals’ backs and loins dry.




Some owners are worried that if they try a clip which takes off only part of a horse’s coat, they won’t keep the lines straight, or will end up with one side different from the other. The answer is to use baler string and chalk – place the string over the withers or around the quarters and get a helper to chalk guidelines. Clip just outside the guidelines to allow a little leeway – for example, when your horse decides to rest a leg, resulting in an artistic but unwanted deviation from your line – and you can tidy up afterwards.

If you’re concerned about appearance, a minimal clip can achieve maximum improvement. Unless showing guidelines or personal preference dictates otherwise, trimming jawline hair proves that the beautifully chiselled head you admired all summer wasn’t a figment of your imagination.


Other types of horse clipping designs are:

Bib clip
A bib clip is where hair removed from the throat and chest, it means a hairy horse in light work is less likely to sweat on sunny winter days. It's an excellent clip to have for your horse if they're turned out a lot.


Trace clip
If your horse is in light to medium work and you turn it out during the day then a trace clip is a good choice. Remove the hair from the lower part of the neck and belly but leave hair on the face and head.


Irish clip
Removing hair from the underside as well as the neck and belly is the Irish clip. This horse clip is very suitable for a horse that's in light work.


Blanket clip
The blanket clip removes hair from the belly, flanks, neck and sometimes the face; the result looks like the horse is wearing a blanket, hence the name. This is a good clip for horses who are doing medium work.


Hunter clip
A word of warning, a hunter clip will need quite a bit of maintaining, but it's a good clip for horses doing heavy work. All the hair is removed apart from on the legs, leaving the hair on the legs will protect your horse from mud and water. With this clip, you would also leave hair where the saddle goes (saddle patch), to protect the back.

Clever clipping can “improve” conformation of your horse by enhancing strengths and disguising weaknesses. A dealer friend of mine can transform a long-backed or short-necked horse with a carefully-planned blanket or chaser clip respectively. All her four-year-olds get what she says is a traditional dealer clip; she clips the front end in a truncated chaser clip and either trims the jawline or clips the face up to the line of the bridle cheekpieces.



Professional clippers may choose to clip out the whole of a horse’s head. I never dare, because I have nightmares of the horse spooking while the clippers are near his eyes. I’ve occasionally seen horses with circles of hair left around the eyes, but that looks – well, I wouldn’t want my horse to be laughed at.

Go for what suits your horse and his lifestyle and don’t be frightened of learning your lines!

And if you’re proud of the way your clipped – or unclipped – horse or pony looks in winter, we’d love to see a picture.

Now your horse has the perfect clip you'll want a shine to accompany it; here at Feedmark we recommend Equidermis Plus


EquiDermis Plus works from the inside out by providing nutrients required for healthy skin.  It has been specifically formulated to provide natural support to the skin tissue, promoting a shiny, glossy coat and soothing challenged skin.