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Thinking about clipping?

WITH winter fast approaching and horses growing thick winter coats, the British Grooms Association (BGA) have the following tips on clipping.

"It's important to consider your horse and decide if he'll be doing enough work to justify clipping," explains Liz Daniels from the BGA.

"Do you have you enough rugs and the time to rug to keep him/her warm and what is the best type of clip for your horse?"

It's important that the horse is clean and dry and the area is well lit, clean, dry and has a non-slip floor.

Understand the tension and settings of the clippers, each manufacturer is different and the machine can overhead if the blades are too tight. Always have a spare set of blades and start at the shoulder.

"A good tip is if the horse is particularly dirty or greasy is to spray a fine layer of coat conditioning spray onto the coat to help the clippers get through the hair," said Liz.

"Use the natural shape of the horse and the muscle line as a guide instead of chalk and most importantly decide the clip design before starting.

"Remove hair from under the blades and oil any moving parts. Also remove the hair from the filters during use, this helps keep the clippers cool. Lubricate with clipper oil during use, as aerosols do not always lubricate the blades sufficiently.

"Aftewards, give the horse a brush with a body brush to remove hair. A hot cloth wash, using hot water and a splash of baby oil or dettol, and an old towel wrung out and wiped over the horse in circular motions will lift all the grease and loose hairs and stop the horse from being itchy," adds Liz.

"You need to replace the hair that's been removed with rugs. If the neck is removed, a neck rug should be worn, the horse should feel warm not clammy. If they start to grow their coat back in quickly then that's a sign the horse is cold."

If the horse is genuinely afraid it may require sedation by your vet. There are various forms of sedation, the strongest dose can only be administered by your vet. Loch Leven Equine Practice offer a clipping and sedation service which is open to all.

"We first introduced the clipping service two years ago and it's been very popular," explained Liz Burton from Loch Leven. "It gives horses a pleasant experience, it's a very quick process, and it's open to all types of horses including non clients."