Ready to Clip.
So here we go, you have sorted out an area to clip as shown in our blog Preparation for Clipping.. You have put the clippers together as we did in the blog Clipping with battery Clippers. So now it is the clipping.
First you need to have the horse ready. You can see below that we have put Cass’s mane
up in plaiting bands, so that we can get to each side of his neck and not get pieces of the mane caught in the clippers and see where the mane starts and the hair finishes. Getting too close to the mane can cause the main to come out.
Also we have put his tail in a tail bandage, this makes sure that again you do not get any hairs in the clippers and if you are going around the hind quarters you can see where you need to go and be aware of the horse’s hind legs.
If you haven’t clipped before or if you’re not good at lines, you can use either some saddle soap with water or chalk to draw the lines you are going to use. This way you can match up the lines on both sides. A lot of people who have clipped for some time find it straight forward to clip and understand the horse’s body and lines so do not use them. It depends on the situation and what you feel happier doing.
Make sure you have the correct tension on the clipping blades Usually you tighten the spring above the blades and when the noise changes on the blades, turn two had half turns back. This is just a rule of thumb and you need to check each pair of clippers as you use them. This will make sure that the clippers and the blades do not work to hard and get to hot.
When clipping make sure the blades do not get hot. Give them time to cool down and add clipping oil between the blades and in the small hole under the spring, to help the blades run more smoothly. This will make sure the horse hair doesn’t get caught in the blades and then the blades get too hot and this can cause the horse to twitch, move around and get unsettled.
Once all this is done you can quietly turn on the clippers and I usually do this near the horse’s neck on the near (left) side of the horse. If you gently turn them on and start at the neck the horse will quietly get used to the sound. If you have a nervous horse it is good to have a helper and possibly a hay net tied up at a sensible height. You could also have another horse (a friend of the horse you are clipping) tied up with them if the other horse likes to be clipped.
Once you start clipping it is a good idea to have one hand on the horses body and the
other on the clippers. You want to go towards the direction of the coat and have the whole of the clipper blade flat on the horse’s skin. Also, do not press too hard but firm enough that you take the hair off and do not cause any lines. Practice makes perfect, so if you know someone who has a good horse to clip it is a good idea to ask if you can help them and get some tips.
Always have the horse tied up to string even if you don’t have any tie rings. You can also get Safe-T-Tie which can be used and break if the horse pulls back. If you are going near the head you can untie the quick release knot and it makes it easier to gently clip around the face.
When moving over areas where there are uneven surfaces like the shoulder, put the skin firmly with your other hand, as shown above, this will allow you to have an even clip on the skin.
When you need to get a straight line it is a good idea to line the blades up with the area you would like to clip and gently put the blades away. As you can see below, this will
allow you to get a straight edge. This is handy to know especially if you are doing a chaser, trace, or blanket clip. In these pictures we are doing a chaser clip, which is good for horses and ponies that are in work and go out to grass in the winter.
When you need to clip inside of the elbow, you can use an assistant to pull the front leg forward or if you are experienced and the horse you are doing is quiet enough you can hold the leg yourself. This horse is very quiet and I was able to demonstrate this procedure. It is much safer to have someone pull the leg forward.
When clipping the head, you can loosen the rope that the horse is tied to and with the help of an assistant gently clip around the jaw. I tend to leave the hairs around the nose on as they have lots of tiny sensors in them. If you like you can go to the line that would run where the cheek pieces of the bridle lie on the cheek of the horse or you can clip the whole head.
If you are going to do the whole head it is good to know if the horse is comfortable with this and have an assistant to help hold the horse. When you are moving around the face, it is good to undo the head collar and then you can move about the jaw a lot easier.
Sometimes, it is good to use cordless clippers then these are quieter and easier to use in that area. If the horse is happy to have his ears done then you can go around the outside, it is not advisable to clip inside the ears. The hair in a horse ear is to protect the sensitive parts of the ear.
Here you can see the bottom of the head collar undone and the clipper just finishing off on the off (right) side of the horse. As I have said before, this horse is very good to clip so we have tied him back up having had the knot undone for working around his head.
Once you have clipped the horse you can wipe the horse over with warm water and surgical spirit this bringing all the grease and dust to the surface and you can clean the horse ready for his or her rugs. This can be done with a chamois leather and doesn’t leave too much water on the surface of the horse.
Once you have clipped the horse, cleaned him off and put his rug on and you also need to clean the clippers.
Using a small brush, brush off the hair and unscrew the blades. You need to get all the hair out of the head of the clippers and between the blades. Also check any areas that have a cooling vent for the motor inside the clippers and these need the filters cleaned and brushed out as well.
Once you have cleaned the clippers off you can then put them away and I usually wrap them up in a slightly oiled cloth as this helps maintain them.
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