Can you clip your horse during the summer months?
Clipping horses doesn’t just have to be kept for the winter months. Some types of horses and ponies can seriously benefit from being clipped all year round, particularly if they tend to grow thick heavy coats in the winter.
During a hot summer spell, the heavier types of horses, need all the help they can get to keep cool, and clipping them out completely can often make them more comfortable, work better and make it much quicker and easier to wash off sweat and dirt.
Heavier breeds also tend to grow very thick feathers, which again can benefit from being clipped off both for comfort, show or for medical reasons.
Mites cause much annoyance to the heavy breeds, and love to burrow into the skin under all the leg hair, causing irritation and annoyance, and in some case super sensitivity, making clipping and trimming difficult. However, this is the best cause of action to treat this condition, and the less hair left on the legs, the better and easier to treat too.
Competition horses can benefit from being clipped too, even if they are finer coated, this gives them maximum help with performance and recovery after competing. This is becoming commonplace on the show jumping, eventing and endurance circuit and can be extremely beneficial to aid rapid cooling and recovery.
Whether clipping in summer or winter, you will be compromising a horses’ natural coat and protection to the elements. Consideration needs to be made to ensure adequate protection is given against biting flies in the summer, and sun. Whether it be by providing fly/summer sheets for turnout or stable or shelter availability.
For summer clipping, it is advisable to use a medium grade blade rather than fine, particularly on pink skinned animals as they will be more susceptible to sun burn on exposed skin.
When clipping during summer months, ensure you clip in a cool, covered area, so the horse is not irritated by the sun or flies whilst you are clipping.
As the weather is usually more favourable in the summer, wash the horse fully the day before clipping. This will help give you a really good finish, and the blades will clip through the coat so much more easily.
Use a body wash after clipping – this will give the coat a quick freshen up and remove any oil residue left in the coat from clipping.
As with winter clipping, ensure blades are tensioned correctly to minimise blade heat and oil at least every 10 minutes or even more regularly.
Keep a spare set of blades to swap over to when clipping the head or other sensitive areas to ensure they are totally cool.
When clipping around the girth area, go with great care as this is where the skin is sensitive and can be easily irritated.
The same goes with the area where spurs are used. Leaving a small square area exactly where the spur touches the horse, gives more protection.
Have you clipped in the summer? What's your best tip?