The right clippers and the right techniques make it much easier to keep your horse smart and comfortable. If you are inexperienced and have a similarly inexperienced or difficult horse, you may be better paying a professional clipper to do it for you, at least on the first occasion, be sure to choose a well recommended person, who is known to be competent and patient- and be honest about your horse.
Safety is vital, so wear a hard hat when clipping and have someone help by holding the horse. If you’re clipping around the elbow area, they can hold the foreleg to avoid the skin wrinkling. Make sure they are positioned slightly to the same side you are working on, not directly in front or on the other side. If the horse spooks, he will jump away from you or forwards, there is a risk that a wrongly positioned helper will get squished!
No matter how accepting a horse seems, be sensible and break the experience down into small steps.
1. Start by letting him smell the clippers and touch them with his nose, then hold them well away from him and turn them on so he can get used to the noise. Switch them on and off a few times, sometimes it’s the noise stopping and starting which makes horses jump.
3. Make sure your clippers are kept lubricated with oil so they don’t overheat. It’s always handy to keep a spare pair of blades to hand, as soon as blades being to blunt, they pull at the hair rather than cut. Even the best horses are likely to object to this
2. When he is fine with that, rest your hand on his shoulder and place the clippers on top of your hand. This mutes the vibrations and by doing this in various places on his body, will get him accustomed to the feel. The next stage is to hold the clippers on his shoulder and once he is happy, start to clip
If I am clipping an inexperienced horse, I often take him into our barn and tie him up next to an experienced one who also needs clipping and can be relied on to fall asleep whilst I work. Horses get enormous confidence from seeing others accept what is, to them, a scary experience. Using a clipping oil with added Lavender will also help relax the horse and soothe skin, giving a pleasant clipping experience.
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