How to time the last clip of the season

How to time the last clip of the season

Traditionally, it was recommended that the last clip of the season should be timed for the end of January to ensure the new summer coat came through unhindered.  However, this is purely subjective, and clipping can be carried out all year round.  It just depends on your horse and your requirements!

These days, there are a choice of grades of clipper blades which enables the coat to be clipped at various lengths, leaving a reasonable base layer of hair behind. This also means that the summer coat colour will remain. If the horse is being aimed at the early spring showing classes, then careful consideration needs to be made to judge the best time to make the final clip.  This is going to be dependent on the type of coat the horse is carrying, and whether it has already been clipped earlier in the winter.

Some horses carry a fine coat, and if well rugged, may not need clipping at all.  Others may carry heavier coats and will require a couple of clips before Christmas as well as a clip in January which may well then carry them through to the summer. Cobs and natives have thick, dense coats, and take careful managing if they are kept in work during the winter.  Natives have a habit of hanging on to their coats for as long as possible, which makes timing quite hard to get the coat perfect for the late spring or early summer shows. It can work well to clip them out completely in February, then rugged up, encouraging the summer coat to come through for early April.  Cobs carry the coarser hair, and again, dependent on workload and presentation, might mean clipping every month throughout the year.  Hogging and clipping out legs is often included in the clipping turn out, especially if being shown.  Cobs and horses with heavy feather can have skin problems associated with mites, and clipping the hair every few weeks throughout the year and helps with medicating and controlling the problem.

Blending the clip from the body to the legs, is a popular technique and can keep the overall look of a summer coat when blended well.

Lightweight clippers that take the A5 snap on blade system such as the Liveryman Harmony Plus and Heiniger Saphir, are a great choice for blending.  This type of clipper takes the snap on blade and there is a very varied selection of blades to choose from.  For blending the technique of starting with a fine blade and working down the leg with coarser blades to finally blend into the leg hair is the best way of getting a seamless finish.

Alternatively, a horse trimmer such as the Liveryman Nova or Liveryman Classic will do a good job too.  They have an adjustable blade length that work from 0.8mm (fine) down to 3mm (coarse) and are very quiet and easy to use.

To maximise the summer coat, but still skim over the top hair, there is a specialist blade from Lister called the Covercote.  This leaves a length of 5mm, it’s a clever design,  removing the top layer without interfering with the base coat, and is a popular blade within the showing world.  It is often used in the run up to Horse of the Year Show in October, when coats are on the turn, and is used more widely in show barns in the US.

To sum up, you can clip whenever you like.  Yes, it might take a week or so in the summer for the coat to adjust, but it will grow, and within the show jumping and competition world, the look and welfare of a finely clipped horse is often at the forefront when competing in the warmer summer months.




26th January 2023

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