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THE VARIOUS TYPES OF HORSE CLIPS
There are a number of various "clips" you can opt for and most will depend on which suit your circumstances best. Gear the clip to the nature of the work your horse will be required to do.
To commit the "sin" of clipping off more coat than required, is considered very bad management, apart from which it will cost you a good deal more in extra feed, hay, bedding and rugs to keep the animal comfortable. So spend some time "contemplating" before going to work with the clippers!
Neck and Belly Clip (Fig 01)
A good clip for horses and ponies, which are living out through the winter but which may be used for the odd hack at weekends or during an occasional light evening. Useful for the stabled horse that feels the cold or is involved in light work. It is still necessary to rugged up field kept or stabled horses.
Neck and Belly Clip + removal of top of leg! (Fig 02)
Same as above but in addition an area on the top of the front legs is removed.
Bib Clip (Fig 03)
Consists of removing the coat from the underside of the neck down in front of the chest.
Apron Clip (Fig 04)
Here additional coat is taken off to the girth line between the front legs and the top of the forelegs.
Irish Clip (Fig 05)
Similar to the neck and belly clip, but more of the hair on the chest, belly and shoulders is removed to leave a "triangle" effect. A good type of clip for those horses which are required to do more work than as described in the "neck and belly" clip, but which are not worked to a point, requiring a more severe clip. This clip may include the removal of hair from the lower part of the face, but would normally finish at the jowl to become Irish Clip + half head removed
Low trace Clip (Fig 06)
As the name suggests this type of clip originates from the old harness horses. Popular clip for many riding horses. Very good type of clip for field kept and stabled horses who have a tendency to sweat when exercised, but which are not really doing any hard hacking work, hunting or competing.
The coat is removed from the underside of the neck and belly, between the forelegs and the upper part of the hind legs. If required the lower portion of the face can be clipped off. (A good guide to your line off the belly is to put the saddle on and measure about 16/18cm from the bottom of the saddle flap) Always rug up to compensate for loss of coat.
Medium trace clip (Fig 07)
A very similar style to the low trace clip except that more of the coat is removed (a higher bodyline is clipped) and half of the head is often clipped as well. Caution should be used with this clip if it is intended that the horse should live outside (in which case leave the head unclipped) and some type of field shelter must be provided. If stabled, clip the whole or half of the head out, as it will give a neater appearance. If electing for a half head clip your line should follow the path of the cheek pieces down the face. When clipping off heads remember this is an area, which exposes the horse to a considerable loss of heat because of the thin skin covering over the bone structure. Not really advisable unless your stabling is sheltered and certainly not suitable for those in really exposed parts of the Country.
As a guide your clip height line should be around a point just below the bottom of the saddle.
High trace clip (Fig 08)
The clip for horses that are fully stabled and are just turned out for a few hours daily. Selected for those horses that are in steady work with the occasional requirement to undertake some fast work or for those entered in competitions through the winter months. As a guide your clip height line should be set to a point about 12cm above the bottom of the saddle. Rugs are the order of the day with extra rugs or blankets if the weather get bad. Heads, well you can follow the medium trace clip, but subject to conditions as previously discussed
Chaser clip (Fig 09)
Popular clip for use on the steeplechasers, as the name implies. A clip for those horse which are active in competition work or racing. Pretty much the same as the blanket clip except that you don't remove hair from the upper part of the neck, and clipping stops just behind the ears, as this will help to keep warmth in the muscles of this area. Clip out the coat from the head, lower parts of the neck, chest, belly and upper portions of the rear legs. The usual finishing line is normally just above that of the blanket clip. Keep a keen eye on condition; a warm stable with plenty of rugs and blankets to combat bad weather periods is essential.
Blanket clip (Fig 10)
A clip suitable only for horses which are stabled and involved in an active degree of medium to hard work and or competition work. The coat is all but removed except for a "blanket" area over the hind quarters and saddle area. As a guide the clip line is normally judged to be the level of the bottom of the saddle flaps but this can vary. Heads are normally clipped out, but you can opt for half the face or even leave the entire head complete. Whatever you elect to do, you should take into account conditions as previously mentioned in the "Medium trace clip" If you turn out during the day a neck cover might be appreciated by your horse, - this is an area which suffers a fair amount of heat loss. As always a keen eye on condition, a warm stable with plenty of rugs and blankets to combat bad weather periods is essential.
Hunter clip (Fig 11)
A smart clip, but only for the horse who is really working hard, competing and hunting regularly. It's all off! Except for a small area of mane, the saddle area, the legs (all four) and a small "v" shape is often left above the tail. Horse which have undergone this degree of clipping need a warm stable, good food, and suitably rugged. Daily turnout for a few hours but only with a NZ on and an extra blanket underneath and neck cover is really necessary even in mild conditions. Use an exercise rug when out exercising.
Full clip (Fig 12)
Away with the lot! Keep only the mane, forelock and tail. Some horse are given a full clip in the autumn with a different style being adopted at the point of the second clip (hunter or trace clip for example) The idea is that this will give added insulation compared to a full clip but leave a shorter coat length. Stable bandages are needed to protect the legs from cold.
This clip is intended for horses in hard fast competition work, racing and hunting regularly. Turn out should be restricted to short periods on fine and mild days during the better daylight hours and they should be well covered with several warm rugs and the added use of a neck cover. An exercise rug is needed when out exercising. Could be a useful clip for those considering some of the early spring events and shows in order to get a nice short coat
Trimming the head and ears.
The look of a good head can be accentuated, whilst at the same time the lines of a poor head can be greatly improved by trimming the long hairs which grow on a horse’s jaw, the muzzle and the ears.
Working in this area requires care, and a gentle approach. Take your time and do not rush. You may find some horses will allow you to use your body clippers, but other may only be prepared to tolerate quieter trimmers. Use scissors with rounded ends to remove the excess hair down the jaw line. Before clipping the jaw remove the head collar and reposition it around the neck, with the nose band facing. Unless the horse is exceptionally quiet, help may be required. Aim to finish with a jaw line and hollow areas between the jaw appearing natural. Cutting deeply will leave an ugly step like finish, so clip in gentle moderation, rather than excessive amounts.
The Muzzle is to many a matter of preference. Some trim completely, others leave the area. If you elect to trim use scissors. Do not attempt to trim the whiskers around the eyes. Horses can have their eye badly injured!
Ears have hair growth inside designed to act as a barrier against insects and draughts. Do not attempt to clip away these hairs, but you can trim those hairs, which are on outer edge of the ears to add to the shape. Work on ears requires a gentle and careful approach, and the help of an assistant will often be useful. Certain horses may be more relaxed if they are not able to see you working on their ears. This can be achieved by cupping the eyes with ones hand (your assistant’s hands!) over the horse’s eyes.
Trimming the legs
Trimming legs will greatly improve the look of your horse. Avoid cutting deeply into the coat in isolated places, as it will have the effect of creating “steps” which give a very ugly appearance. Aim for a “natural” look. Horses, which compete in winter, should have neat clean legs. Legs, which have not been trimmed, may be more prone to mud-fever, equally untrimmed legs make the task of spotting cuts and wounds more difficult. Horses and ponies, which winter outside may benefit from having their legs left in a “hairy” state because in wet conditions water will drain down the long hair to the ground thus protecting the soft and flexible areas of the pastern and heels which remain dry.
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