It's that time of year again! The days are getting shorter. The air is cool & crisp. The leaves are changing & falling off the trees. The horses are getting their winter coats in. Some people are very familiar with clipping horses. Other people don't know much about it. I have been showing horses pretty much since I could walk, and my horses were always clipped.
Questions I hear often are: "Is clipping cruel?" "Why should I clip? God gave them hair for a reason." "What type of clip?" "When do I clip?"
First of all; clipping is NOT cruel. I repeat.... clipping is NOT cruel! The area I live in now is not big on clipping, and many people have this mindset. I have been ridiculed & given a hard time for clipping my horse. My good friend was recently asked to move her horse for wanting to clip her horse. You need to realize that if you clip your horse, you need to be diligent about keeping your horse warm with various blankets, dry, and have access to shelter. Do not.... I repeat do not turn your horse out in stable blankets. They can get damp & wet. You will want waterproof turnout blankets.
Not all horses need to be clipped. If you are a pleasure rider, trail rider, or keep your horse in light work your horse will more than likely not need to be clipped. Horses that are in moderate to heavy work greatly benefit from being clipped. Clipping enables your horse to properly cool himself while working, and allows him to dry out quickly without taking 2 hours and becoming chilled. The type of clip you choose depends greatly on the amount and intensity of work you do, and also personal preference. Personally, I tend to use a hunter clip until I go to a show or clinic. I will have a full clip then. Eventers will typically sport a full clip since they condition extensively with trot & gallop sets. A blanket or trace clip is generally a great clip for horses in light to moderate work. There are 2 types of trace clips: low & high. Decide what you are comfortable with.
I live in southern Tennessee. I tend to do my first clip around mid to late October. The coat might look funny right after clipping. It can take a good 2-3 weeks for the coat to look better... especially if you have a chestnut or reddish bay. Keep this in mind if you are planning to show. Grays & light-colored horses are notoriously more difficult to clip since the trace marks show up very easily. You will notice some little goat hairs pop up a few weeks after clipping. Be sure to keep those trimmed down. You will probably need to clip again around January. I've clipped as late as April. Some people may tell you that it will interfere with your horses coat. I have been clipping for a long time, and I have never had issues. Also remember that once you clip your horse, what you feed your horse is very evident. High quality feed and hay produces a beautiful clipped coat. I have some great secrets to get a nice & shiny clipped coat that I'll share at a later time.
I hope this answers some of your questions. Please comment below & let me know what you think!