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Which Horse Clipper To Choose

At this time of year, your horse’s sleek shiny summer coat can begin to resemble that of a bear, in preparation for the cold winter months. This effect can be lessened by early rugging; however some extra coat is still likely to be grown. This can impact on any working horse’s comfort, whether he is schooled and hunted hard, or just hacked once a week. Clipping your horse is a good way to minimise sweating, it can help a horse to cool down and dry more quickly after hard work and therefore he is less likely to become chilled. Whether you opt for a small bib clip or a full hunter clip, having the correct clipping equipment is essential to a neat and tidy finish. Before you start, ensure your clippers are correctly maintained and sharp enough to cut through the coat smoothly and without pulling, making it a comfortable experience for both the horse and you. If you are using mains clippers, always use a circuit breaker plugged into the socket so if your horse stands on the wire, they will cut out without harming anyone. Make sure the blades are oiled according to manufacturer’s instructions so they run smoothly. Clean blades thoroughly after use, removing all hair and dirt, then wash with a good quality blade wash. Oil the blades thoroughly then store in an oiled cloth. Before you clip also make sure your horse is clean and dry, a dirty or greasy coat can lead to clogged clippers and blunted blades, and could potentially lead to your clippers breaking prematurely. Whilst clipping, take regular breaks, about once every ten minutes to brush the blades and air filters ensuring no clogging and over heating of the clippers. This also gives your horse chance to relax. Make sure you have a spare set of blades in case they blunt half way through, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on which type blades are best – medium are usually recommended, but fine blades are available for horses with sensitive skin or fine coats, coarse blades are also available for horses with thick, long or dense coats. When clipping your horses head or face, wither hair and bridle path, small hand held battery trimmers are ideal. The Wahl Pocket Pro Trimmer is a small sized, quiet yet powerful trimmer which shouldn’t upset most horses when used close to their head, it gives a clean and neat finish and can be concealed in the handler’s hand if the horse is nervous about the clipping process.   For many nervous horses, quiet clippers with little vibration movement are best such as the Liveryman Element Rechargeable Trimmer which is a low noise and low vibration cordless trimmer which has a powerful cutting motion, although only lasts for 60 minutes which may be a problem with nervous horses who take longer to clip. Replacement batteries can be purchased to prolong the clipping time. A quiet, lightweight mains clipper is the Heiniger Handy Horse Clipper; this has a powerful, 120 watt motor and lasts as long as you need it to due to being mains powered. However many nervous horses don’t like the cord being near them, and if they are moving around a lot could become tangled in it and panic, it is probably safer for horse and handler if a battery clipper is used to avoid any accidents or injuries. For clipping a small area, such as a bib clip, it may not be necessary to use full sized clippers. Depending on your horse’s coat type, you may be able to use smaller clippers such as Wahl’s Pro Rechargeable Trimmer which has a 13 watt clipper speed. These may do for very fine coated types such as thoroughbreds but if your horse is super hairy, they won’t do for areas on the body. For hairy types, such as natives and cobs, even if they are rugged early a more heavy duty clipper is likely to be needed, such as Wahl’s Avalon Cordless Clipper, this has an 80 watt motor and therefore cuts through hair faster and is designed to deal with a thicker coat. For a larger area, such as a trace clip or low blanket clip, it is advisable to start with an 80 watt clipper or more. Again with cobs and natives, it may be advisable to go up slightly on the clipper’s power to 130 watt such as the Liveryman Blue Arena Clippers which are also lightweight so your arm doesn’t get tired! For clips which take even larger sections of the coat away like a high blanket, hunter and full clips the heaviest duty clippers are recommended such as Heiniger Delta 3 Clippers with a top speed of 180 watts and an option of 3 varying speeds for use on all areas. If you feel that you need to clip your horse this winter, ensure you take into consideration his workload, coat type and clip type when choosing clippers, and remember that good maintenance of both coat and clippers lead to a good quality and neatly finished clip.