Trimming Up

Trimming Up

If you are looking at perfecting the overall finish, trimming carefully, is part of the overall turnout to achieve a seamless, neat and definitive look, whether its for the show ring, everyday tidiness or for a sharp competition look.

Although body clipping will remove the excess coat hair, there will always be extra areas to trim up whether you have a summer or winter coat to tidy.Getting to know just how much to remove and the correct techniques will make a huge difference to the overall look, as well as being aware of what is allowed and what is not when competing.  We always recommend checking with breed societies before removing anything. Each equestrian discipline will also have their own guidance, and most recently, the FEI have introduced a ban on trimming whiskers, and other organisations are swiftly following.  Do your homework before you start!When trimming, you can start wherever you are need to but if you are trimming up from scratch, starting from the top and working down is always a good plan and ensures nothing gets missed.

Areas for trimming:

Bridle Path

A neatly trimmed small bridle path just behind the poll and where the headpiece of the bridle lays, is a helpful area to keep neat and tidy.  Ensure you only trim the width of the bridle headpiece, otherwise more of the mane will be taken out unnecessarily.

TOP TIP:  When putting a new bridle path in, part the hair at exactly the spot you want to trim, so you only take out the required amount.  Scissors can be used when fine hair is involved, but a trimmer is better when taking out thicker hair as this will leave a very neat level finish.


To give a sharp neat finish, trimming down the edge of the ears will give a neat finish and a sharp line.  Showing enthusiasts do tend to trim more of the hair out of the ears to give a clean look, but this is personal choice, and more sensible to leave more hair on the inside to protect from bugs and flies, particularly in the summer.

TOP TIP:  It is far nicer for the horse if you hold the ear gently in one hand and clip down the front.  This stops excess hair going into the ear and helps with keeping the trimming noise to a minimum.  Blunt ended safety scissors are also a good choice for trimming up around ears, particularly if noise is an issue.


Quite often, rugs will rub the bottom of the mane around the wither area, leaving wispy bits that are too short or thin to plait.  If this is the case, trimming the rubbed area will leave a smooth finish and will give a seamless look when the mane is plaited.

TOP TIP: Only take the minimum amount off.  Use a light touch so that the clipped area blends in with the rest of the coat.


Jaw area

Under the jaw the hair can grow quite quickly, and although the main coat might be smooth, a fluffy long beard under the jaw line will detract from a defined jaw line.  Trimming carefully using rechargeable, quiet trimmers, is the best way to get a smooth finish. 

TOP TIP:  Its often easiest to start in the chin groove and work up, and then blend in carefully on the cheek line. 

Legs and heels

So much can be done with improving the leg look by subtle trimming.  Some hairier types that carry a lot of leg hair, will need this done regularly to keep on top of the thicker type of hair.  For the softer coated ones, a careful trim going with the hair – down the back of the leg, generally suffices and will give a smooth finish.

With heels, these can be tricky when there is a lot of hair involved, sometimes it is easier to start with clipping down into the heel, and then picking the foot up and finishing it that way.  The overall affect needs to be smooth.  Achieving this on cobs and heavier breeds takes time and patience to get a seamless finish particularly if they have suffered from mites as they tend to be quite sensitive.  Aim for this look to get the best results.

TOP TIP: Use rechargeable trimmers with an adjustable blade setting, this gives you more flexibility and allows a finish from around 0.8mm to a longer more natural length at 3.0mm

Coronet Band

The final touch to super smart hooves is a trimmed coronet band.  This gives definition between the leg hair and hoof.  This is easy to achieve using trimmers or an Equi-shave razor depending on the thickness and amount to remove.

TOP TIP: Use a trimmer or razor lightly in a downward fashion to blend, for a really short finish use a trimmer in an upwards direction to clip close to the coronet band and then blend down lightly if needed.

3rd June 2021

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