Guide to using horse clippers - UK

5 April 2017  |  Admin

Guide to using horse clippers

Reasons for clipping – by removing sections of the winter coat from the horse your enabling the excess body temperature produced when working to escape from the body easily, so you are preventing the body from becoming too wet with sweat. Excessive sweating leads too lose of condition. During the winter months the air temperature is obviously much lower so to have your horse damp with sweat in a cold environment means that he will be prone to chills. A clipped coat will always dry more quickly, this is useful for when you’re waiting for your horse to dry before putting rugs on.

Long thicker winter coats clog with mud which can take hours of labor intensive grooming to remove.   Remember the more hair that your horse grows over the winter, the more hair he has to loose in the spring!

Preparation for clipping your horse.

  • Ensure that your clippers are in good working order.
  • Make sure your blades are sharp
  • Have you got enough oil? – this is essential to ensure the smooth running of your clippers
  • Make sure that the coat is as clean and dry as you can possibly get it, to clip a  dirty greasy coat will put additional strain on your clippers as well as blunt your blades much much quicker that a clean coat would do.
  • A clean coat will allow your clippers to work much more efficiently leaving a much cleaner neater finish
  • Have you got rugs available to put on your horse as soon as he is clipped?
  • Have you got time to do the job in one go unless you are super quick allow your self a good 2 hours for the entire process!
  • Give your self and your horse enough room. If your workings with a mains machine ensure that the cable is kept well out of the way of the horse’s feet. Most clippers come with a 2 year warranty cover to protect against mechanical failure this warranty will not cover damage to the cable.
  • If you’re clipping for the first time ask a friend to help.
  • It is worth wearing some overalls or old clothing – you will get covered in hair, if you’re sensitive to dust etc wear a mask.
  • To get the best from your clippers, make sure you have an understanding of how they work. Read the manufacturers guide ( boring but well worth it ) at the very least you need to be aware of how to tension your machine. ( this will be covered more a little later on )

 How do horse clippers work.

  • To get the best from your horse clippers make sure that you have a basic understanding of how they work and the structure of your machine
  • All machines vary slightly in appearance but basically have the same component parts
  • The main outer casing is where you will see an on/off switch and an air filter. It is essential that you try and keep the air filter clean, after each clip gently brush out the filter with a brush, you don’t even have to remove the protective cover. This can be done during servicing. If your happy to remove it your self it is normally held in place by 2 small screws. Make sure it is replaced before use again. On other machines it just slides out, there is often a thin foam section behind the plastic casing of the filter, this needs to be washed and dried well before replacing.
  • Inside is a motor – this you are unlikely to have anything to do with, nor should you need to, this can be maintained during an annual servicing.
  • The Clipper Head, this is what the blades are attached to, refer to your manufactures guide for instructions on this as all blades and clippers have differing
  • Horse Clipper Blades on most machines consist of 2 individual pieces of metal.  The largest being the guide comb, as you move the clippers through the coat this blade will lift the hair up into the top blade which is the cutting blade.
  • The two blades work together. The Bottom blade stays still and the top blade moves very quickly back and forth over the top of the bottom blade. Hence the reason for the oil and the need for the horses coat to be clean
  • You will here people talk about the tensioning of blades? Tensioning describes how tightly the blades are fixed together. If they are over tensioned (screwed / held together too tightly) you will cause the blades to get too hot, and the clippers to work much harder than they need to.
  • Under tensioned and they will rattle and leave a poorly finish clip.
  • Once you have the hang of it you will find it is really very easy to tension your blades, but it is essential that you read the manufactures guide as each machine is different.
  • Oiling your blades plays a huge part in how your clippers work. Without the oil your blades will not be lubricated, two pieces of metal working at speed closely together need lubrication. This will prevent them from becoming too hot, it is likely that the clipper has a small hole by the main head for you to add a few drops of oil too. Keep oiling your blades every few minutes while you’re clipping, just a few drops will be enough to keep the blades happy.

Equipment you will need for clipping

  • Plaiting bands – to keep the mane up out of the way while your clipping your horses neck
  • Tail bandage – to keep any stray hairs out of the way whilst clipping around the tail area
  • Clipper oil – this is used about every 5 – 10 minutes dependant on the cleanliness of the coat, the dirtier the coat the more frequently you oil the blades.
  • Chalk, to mark where your pattern of clip will run
  • A rug to lie over your horses back as the hair is coming off, especially on a cold day.
  • A stiff brush to brush away the loose hair, so you can see where you still have too clip.
  • For after you have clipped, it’s a good idea to give your horse a wipe over with some really hot water and cloth to help lift the remaining dirt and grease

Types of horse clipping – there are many different patterns of clip that you can give your horse. The general rule of thumb is the more your horse sweats the more hair you remove.  There are though a few things to consider before you begin to strip your horse of its natural protection.

  • How much time is your horse likely to spend out in the field? If your horse is going to be out 24 hours a day it would be best to avoid taking too much hair off, unless your prepared to offer your horse some good quality rugs that will keep out the wind, rain and the cold. Native type horses and ponies can cope well in this situation but a thoroughbred type may struggle.
  • How much work is your horse going to be doing? If you are working your horse hard enough for him to break into a sweat on a regular basis then it’s advisable to clip some if not all of the coat off.
  • Have you got the rugs available to you for the horse to wear? You will need a minimum of.
  • One heavy weight turnout ( with a fill of 300g upwards )
  • One medium weight turnout ( with a fill of 200g )
  • Cooler rugs to wick away the sweat from the coat whilst protecting from the cold air.
  • A selection of stable rugs for when your horse is kept in the stable.

Look at our guide to the different types of clips you can give your horse. It gives a lot of information and tips that will help you give a clip that is right for your horse.

Guide To Styles of Clips for your Horse

 Tips on the method of clipping your horse.

  • Always clip against the lie of the coat, remember that the coat grows in several different directions over the horses body, so you will need to change the angle at which direct the blades in order to match the hair growth of the horse.
  • Keep the pressure even on your clipper as you clip, this ensures that the whole surface area of the blade remains in contact with coat. Allow the clipper to do the work, try not to push the blade through the coat too much, the blades are doing all the work and you only want to be moving them as quickly as they are cutting. Clipping carefully and taking your time will help to prevent lines in the coat, leaving a much cleaner neater finish.
  • Avoid short strokes with the horse clippers, you will achieve a much cleaner finish by doing longer strokes.
  • When you have done one line with the clipper over lap your next line by about 2cm, this should avoid missing areas of the coat
  • When clipping a line which is part of the pattern of your clip, keep your pressure even and a steady hand and try and do the line in one go, this leaves a much neater finish

 Horse Clipper at Farmcare uk

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