Advice For Horse Owners Regarding Clipping
"If your horse is in work then you should consider whether or not you need to clip them for the winter months. Clipping is not essential in all cases however it does help to ensure your horse remains comfortable.
You should consider clipping if your horse gets hot and sweaty during exercise. If your horse grows a thick coat they might break out into a sweat with even a small amount of work. It will then take a long time to dry them off after exercise and so they are more likely to get a chill as they cool down. This also presents a problem from a management point of view as any rugs that you put on will soak up the water and then the horse will be wearing a damp rug.
By clipping your horse it means you can exercise them more rigorously and at any time of the day without needing to worry about leaving enough time for them to dry. If you are going to be competing or hunting over the winter months then not only will clipping make your horse more comfortable and easier to look after but they will also look smarter.
There are many different types of clip you can give your horse depending on their workload. These range from a trace clip which involves removing a small amount of hair, to a full clip which removes all the hair from the head, body and legs. Many people opt for a blanket clip which leaves the hindquarters covered or a hunter clip which leaves a patch under the saddle and leaves the hair on the legs. This is preferable if your horse is going to be turned out.
It is up to you when you clip your horse and how often. Many people will begin to clip from September onwards however some prefer to wait until November or even December to avoid having to clip too often. This will be dependent on your horse's workload and how thick their coat is.
It is important to remember that if you are removing your horse's winter coat then you need to make sure they are warm enough. Their fur gives them protection from the elements and keeps them warm and dry, you should replace this with turnout and stable rugs as necessary and when exercising you might want to consider using an exercise sheet if only walking or not working hard enough for the horse to get fully warmed up. Exercise sheets can be fleece to keep them warm in cold weather or waterproof to keep the rain off.
If you are going to clip your horse yourself you should invest in some heavy duty clippers and make sure you get your blades sharpened regularly as blunt blades will tug on the hair and will make it uncomfortable for the horse."