Should I clip?
This will depend on what you are planning to do with your horse during the winter months. If you have a youngster or an older horse that is unlikely to be worked during this time, then leave him with his natural coat. Generally speaking, horses that are not in work do not require clipping.
If you have a horse that is terrified of clippers and is dangerous to himself and handler, it is better not to attempt to clip on grounds of safety. Some horses will settle under sedation, but this needs to be discussed fully with your vet as he will need to be present.
Horses that live 24/7 outdoors will need as much protection from the elements, and if a rug is not being used, then the horse will obviously need his full coat left on. Part clips can be considered if a rug and shelter is provided.
So if clipping is an option, what type of clip is needed? Most horses that are in light to moderate work or just being hacked out at the weekends will benefit from just having part of their coat removed. This will enable them to happily carry out the work required of them without becoming too hot and sweaty and will ensure that they dry off quickly without losing too much condition.
If no more than 50% of the coat is clipped, the animal can still live out quite happily throughout the winter, although adequate shelter will be needed and provision of a good waterproof outdoor rug is essential.