Thursday, January 21, 2010

To Clip or Not To Clip ?

So far this season, while the amount of snow we have received has been less than 3 feet, the temperatures seem to have been much colder than last year.   This week, however, we are enjoying a bit of a January Thaw and it feels wonderful.

Our competition horses start competing again in three months!   Accordingly, Jeddien and Piper have recently came back into work after a couple months of vacation time.   Both still have full winter coats and therefore are not being worked too heavily yet.   To work them to the point of sweating requires extra care in cooling them down, insuring their coats are fully dried after work, and preventing them from getting chilled.   This is where clipping the coat comes in handy.

Clipping a horse is not the easiest of tasks and can be quite a messy job as well as hair transfers from the horse to the floor and onto the person doing the clipping!   The horse needs to be calm and sensible as the loud vibrating clipper glides across their body.   The handler needs to be ready deal with ticklishness, grumpiness, anxiousness, and anything else the horse throws their way.

And then after the fact, the newly clipped "undressed" horse must be appropriately blanketed and rugged up according to the weather, hour by hour, until the end of winter.   So clipping is not a task one jumps into without careful consideration.

To help make the longterm effects of clipping more sensible and manageable, there are several different "clips" (think haircuts) that can be used.   This fabulous website from Peasridge Ltd in the UK shows many styles of clips from which to choose.

Right now, five of our horses are sporting the "Bib Clip"...   Just the hair under the neck is clipped short.   This is an easy and quick clip to do and a super clip for introducing clippers to youngsters and horses who have never been clipped before.   The resulting haircut also made giving IV injections really easy for our Equine Dentist.   :-)

The clip we will use next is the "Low Trace Clip".   This is just enough of a clip to let the areas of the horse's body that tend sweat first cool and dry off quickly.

Now back to the question. &bnsp To clip or not to clip?   There is no easy perfect answer.   It is something that is completely dependent upon the horse, his coat, the work he is doing, the weather, and the level of committment the owner wants to invest in blanketing, both in terms of time and money, throughout the rest of the winter season.

Today, I will clip one.   My nose is already itchy in anticipation of the horse hair that will soon fly!

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