Horse Clippers - over-coming your horses' fears
9 October 2017 | Beth
Clipping horses is not usually a popular job - and if your horse is frightened of horse clippers the task is even more stressful. Some horses are so frightened of the sound, sensation or even just the horse clippers' box, that they need to be sedated. However, sedating your horse is expensive and can be stressful for your horse in its own right.
It is possible to train most horses to over-come their fears of horse clippers.
Smell and Sight: Just the smell or sight of horse clippers can be upsetting for a horse who has had a bad clipping experience. Try bringing your clippers out and placing them in the same area as your horse, when you have no intention of using them. Try to time this when your horse is eating or has something exciting to distract him. If your horse is relaxed, try bringing them closer to him next time you get them out. Get them out a few times throughout the week to de-sensitise your horse. If your horse is anxious about the horse clippers, cover them up, but keep bringing them out, every day if necessary.
Sound: Now your horse is more comfortable with the look and smell of the horse clippers, you need to get him comfortable with the sound of the clippers. Try playing a recording of the clippers at a low volume. Do this a few days in a row, gradually increasing the volume to that of the normal clipper level. This may seem extreme, but it will help your horse and potentially avoid the need for sedation. Once your horse is comfortable with the sound of the clippers, try holding the clippers over your horses' back, but do not let them touch your horse.
Touch: Next is the hardest part of all. Touch. Try placing the horse clippers against your horses' back when they are turned off. Also try running a comb against the direction of your horses' coat to get him used to the sensation, which can be ticklish. Make sure your praise your horse and reward him. Repeat this process several times over the course of several days. Now try doing the same thing on his legs and other parts of his body.
Turn the hose clippers on: Now you need to get your horse used to the vibrations. If your horse is very nervous, you can use something like a vibrating phone to get him used to the sensation. Gradually move to clippers - but try putting your hand on the horse while holding the clippers, without the clippers actually touching the horse. Again, repeat this over several days. Start moving your hand as though horse clipping, but commence by going with the direction of the coat. Once your horse is comfortable with this, start moving against the coat.
Clipping Time: When your horse is calm, confident and relaxed, try clipping an area of your horse that you know he is most comfortable with. If necessary, keep a towel over the horse clippers. Praise your horse and reward him.
Typically Heiniger horse clippers are the quietest brand, with low vibrations. These are good for horses who are sensitive to clipping. If you have a very sensitive horse with a light coat you could even try using a heavy-duty trimmer like the Heiniger Saphir. Make sure you clip in an environment your horse finds relaxing. If possible give your horse access to food and have a horse he is comfortable with close by.
It is possible to help your horse accept clipping and avoid sedation. It's a case of patience, reward and letting your horse get used to the many sensations of clipping at his pace.
If you have any questions about horse clippers, please don't hesitate to ask. We are always happy to help.
Horse Clippers Specialist
Heiniger Progress: Only £210
Heiniger Xplorer Cordless Horse Clippers: Only £334.99
Heiniger Saphir Horse Clippers / Trimmers: Only £192.99