What’s that big hairy thing standing out in my pasture? A black and white mammoth? A rare Saskatchewan moose? Nope – it’s just my horse.
If you’re a horse owner, you are well aware of the winter woolies and all of the things that come with it. Winter coats are great for keeping your ponies nice and warm during the winter months, but, man, can it be a pain for us! Drying your horse’s sweat marks by hand after a ride in ten-degree weather is the perfect time for you to reflect on just how much you love horses – ask me how I know! To make it a little easier to keep them in work during the winter months, many riders, including myself, like to take a clipper to those winter woolies.
I took advantage of our single 60-degree day this past Thursday to give my Saskatchewan moose a much-needed bath and full clip. After five hours of clipping, a large pile of black and white hair the size of a medium dog was laying on the floor, and a “neighkid” pony was left standing in the wash rack. That was a long night!
Before the big clip…
After the big clip!
While clipping the pony, I had a great idea. I should share a few of the things that I use when body clipping my horse. I am by no means a professional body clipper, but I end up clipping my guy a few times during the winter. They are never aesthetically perfect, but they definitely do the job!
1. Andis AGC Super 2 Speed Clipper
If you don’t have a good set of clippers, clipping your horse will be next to impossible, so naturally, this is my first thing on my list of clipping must-haves. These babies do a great job of body clipping my moose despite how thick his coat can get. Not only are they powerful enough to get through a winter coat, but they are also super lightweight and quiet. I can’t tell you how much easier these are to hold compared to the traditional Oster ClipMasters. They have been a lifesaver – no more constant hand cramps! It also doesn’t hurt that they stay cool twice as long! You can buy a pair from SmartPak, your local feed store, or Tractor Supply.
2. A CLEAN and DRY Horse
Clipping a dirty horse is definitely doable, but say goodbye to those sharp clipper blades! A dirty coat will absolutely murder your blades leaving you with a streaky, uneven clip. When clipper blades cost this much, you definitely don’t want to shorten their life-span. Make sure that your pony is washed thoroughly from head to toe. I usually use Wisk for my white pony to get that deep dirt and stains out from his coat. It works like a charm and leaves his coat gleaming – just make sure you wash it all out. If it is cold out, I like to cover his body in a warm cooler and start with the head and legs before moving on to his body. I know some people go crazy about clipping wet horses, but I personally choose to clip him when his coat is dry. My clippers work best that way.
3. SHARP Blades
Of course, this should be a no-brainer, but always make sure that you have sharp blades on hand. Clipping with dull blades can be a pain as they leave clipper marks – ask me how I know. 😬 I like to use the T-84 blades for the body and #10 blades for the head and legs. The wide T-84 blades make knocking out the large, vast plains of the horse easier to cover while the #10 blade let’s me get into those narrow and hard to reach places. Let’s not forget – always have another set of both blades is extremely helpful when your current ones start to get hot.
I have a love-hate relationship with showsheen, but man is it great for clipping! Spraying a generous amount to your horse will have your clippers cutting through their thick coat like warm butter! If your concerned about it drying out your horse’s skin, just apply some spray on conditioner after your clip job is complete.
5. Clipper Oil and Andis Cool Care Plus
It is absolutely essential that you frequently oil your clippers throughout the entire clip job. Not oiling your clippers can lead to a half clipped horse when your clippers finally decide to stop working. Save your clippers from a sudden death by taking care of them! Also, make sure to use a coolant such as Andis Cool Care Plus to keep your blades from running hot – your horse will thank you.
6. An After-Clip Bath or Hot Toweling
Last but not least, make sure to give your pony a soothing bath or toweling after the job is done. Doing so helps to remove all of the oil and coolant that could have been left on your horse’s skin. All of these products could cause your pony to have an allergic reaction. It’s better to be on the safe side and give your pony’s skin some love.
7. Managing a Clipped Horse
After the deed is done, your naked mole rat will need some extra help to keep him warm now that all of their hair is gone. Please make sure that you have all of the blankets you need to ensure that they are nice and cozy. My guys have a rain sheet, a lightweight blanket (100g), and a medium weight blanket (200g). Here in GA, my ponies usually don’t need a heavyweight blanket, but if it gets cold enough, I do layer their lightweight sheet and their medium weight blanket for additional warmth. Your pony is now relying on you to keep them warm. Here are my favorite sheets and blankets that I entrust with keeping my ponies warm!
Smartpak Ultimate High Neck Turnout Sheet (0g fill)
Amigo 1200D Bravo 12 Sheet (0g fill)
Amigo 1200D Bravo 12 Sheet (100g fill)
Medium Weight Blankets:
Rhino SmartPak Collection Wug Turnout Blanket (200g fill)
Amigo Hero 6 Plus Turnout Blanket (200g fill)
*All of these blankets and sheets can be purchased on SmartPak’s website! You can even get them monogrammed – eek!
I hope this post will help you get started on your horse clipping adventure! Stay warm and happy riding!