Clipping for HOYS?
If you are lucky enough to have qualified and are competing at HOYS this year, and particularly if it’s your first time there, you may be worrying about how to keep your horse’s coat in tip top condition and from growing too long too quickly.
With natives and heavier breeds, the coats have already been on the change and you may already have clipped, it’s then a case of timing your next clip or first clip so that the coat looks like a summer coat and no evidence of the coat having been clipped.
Not an easy one to balance, but here are a few tips to help you keep the summer coat “look” that you will need under the spotlight to really shine on your big day.
1. If you have been before and are taking a horse that you are familiar with it is easier as you will already know how quickly and when the coat is changing and timings can be more accurate. However, we will base it on a horse that we have here that’s a heavyweight cob, and we would allow 7 -10 days after the clip to give the best finish and allow time enough for the coat to grow through to regain a shorter summer coat and original colour.
2. As well as timing the clip, you will also have to consider the type/grade of blade to use to get the optimum finish.
3. Generally speaking, a medium blade is the best choice at this time of year, and is the grade to choose when clipping greys, coloureds and any light-coloured animals at any time of year as teeth marks tend to show up more with fine blades.
4. If you have a Lister clipper, there is a specialist blade called a Covercote, this cuts to 5mm and has wider spaced teeth allowing more hair through. It skims over the coat just taking the upper hair off and leaving the shorter haired coat showing through below. This is perfect for using at this time of year as it leaves absolutely no marks giving a summer coat finish.
5. If you do clip, then you will need to clip the horse out completely, avoiding any lines, or if you have a traditional or native which will need all leg hair left on, then blending techniques will need to be used to blend in the clipped length to where the leg hair starts.
6. Blending can be done in many ways, but we find the easiest and most accurate way is to use a light duty clipper with the snap on wide blade (medium grade). Instead of clipping against the coat, turn the clipper over and use the blade in a gentle brushing action going down with the hair. Do this very carefully, you may not need to do very much, but it will make all the difference to the finished look. This is by far the most accurate and neatest way, otherwise you can use the plastic add on graders which will help to grade in.
7. To maintain the coat and give it extra shine, rug up using thin liners or lightweight rug which can be washed regularly. This will keep the coat clean, laying well, and help with maintaining a good glossy shiny.
8. After exercise, wash off carefully, and ensure there are no sweaty areas. Smart Grooming’s Lavender Splosh Wash is a great after exercise cleaner and soother. It is mild on the skin but lifts excess grease more quickly and effectively than shampoo. A little goes a long way and can be used diluted with no rinse off needed after.
9. After clipping, wash off excess grease with hot water and Splosh Wash and then finish by hot clothing with a dilution of hot water and Smart Grooming’s Super Shine Lotion, leave to dry before wiping over with a fleece mitt for a final polish before rugging up.