horse being groomed

Trimming Tips & Techniques

Trimmers are much smaller, lighter and quieter than clippers and there are lots of good battery-powered ones on the market. I use the Liveryman Classic, (available to purchase here), which are small, lightweight and cordless, perfect for around the head and ears as well as for horses who don’t like ordinary clippers being used in sensitive areas (behind the elbows/inside the back legs) and for giving a final trim to the legs.

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You don’t want to draw attention to any imperfect conformation points, or even create ones that don’t actually exist. For instance, some competitors will clip a horse’s leg so close, they look as if they have been shaved, and this can give the impression that the horse has less bone than it actually has!

Keep the chestnuts on the sides of the legs peeled down and if necessary trim down the egrots. Be careful with the egrots, if you cut them too close, they will bleed, if hesitant, ask your farrier to do this.

Some horses dislike having their ears trimmed until they realise it’s actually nothing to be worried about. Give time for your horse to get used it, don’t try to do a full ear trim the day before a show, some horses take a dislike to one particular ear being done, if this is the case, do a bit at a time and go back to it later. Always start with closing your hand gently around the ear and trimming down the front edges, then eventually just inside them.

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In most cases, you wont need to clip down the back of a horse’s legs. If they need tidying up, keep a light hand and run the clippers in the direction of the hair, not against it as you would when clipping the coat.

Another example, if your horse is tied in at the knee (an indentation at the back of the knee, a fault which puts strain on the tendon) - don’t clip this area so closely that you accentuate this.

The angle at which you hold the trimmers makes a big difference to the finish. When trimming the horses legs, particularly the fetlocks and coronet band, or when blending I will hold the clippers the ‘wrong way round’ and use them in a combing action rather than clipping action.

Advice -

Trim with care, the breed of your horse and the classes you intend to compete in can determine if and how you trim your horse. It’s best to check with the breed society first before doing anything drastic!

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