Clipping is time-consuming but well worth the effort. The right clip makes grooming easier, drying faster and gives a better overall look for horses in training throughout the fall and winter.

Here are seven tips for ensuring that your horse gets the haircut that best suits his needs:

Tip 1: Match the clip to the intensity of the horse’s workload.

Tip 2: Wear weather-proof clothing (rain gear) when you are clipping to keep the horse hair from sticking to you.

Tip 3: Clip against the grain (the direction the hair grows).

Tip 4: Stretch loose-skinned areas by stepping a leg forward or backward for easier access to the area (remember to step the leg back when you’re finished).

Tip 5: Follow the shape of the muscles (use the muscle structure to determine the pattern location).

Tip 6: Use 8”– 10” strokes and overlap them slightly to eliminate lines.

Tip 7: Maintain even pressure when clipping.

Types of Clips

Strip Clip (Under Belly and Neck Clip)

Good for horses who are used for light work or who live out during the winter, the strip clip only trims areas under the neck, chest, and between the front legs to the girth area. This clip allows for quick drying times without interfering with protection against the elements.

Even though much of the coat is left intact, it’s still a good idea to blanket in cold weather regions.

The Low Trace Clip

An alternative clip for horses in light work, the low trace clip outlines the underside of the neck, chest and belly, extending above the shoulder to the stifle and around the buttocks. However, longer hair remains on the legs for extra warmth and protection.

As with the under belly clip, blankets are recommended.

The High Trace Clip

This clip, which is similar to the low trace clip, encompasses more of the neck and body (just below the hip), and also includes the face at the jawline. Consider this clip for the light- to medium-performance horse.

Blankets are a necessity for the high trace clip.

The Blanket Clip

This is a good clip for horses in a regular work program. The coat is removed from the head, neck and body, except for a rectangular area around the back extending to the kidneys, similar in shape to a small blanket.

As with the other clips, the hair on the legs remains intact. And, here too, blankets are a must.

The Hunter Clip

A good clip for horses in a medium to high-level work program. The entire coat is removed except for the saddle area, the legs and an inverted V above the tail.

When exercising outdoors or in a cold indoor arena, it’s recommended to use a quarter sheet to keep muscles warm and loose.

The Full Clip

Typically reserved for high-performance horses, the full clip calls for trimming the entire coat with only an inverted V of longer hair above the tail remaining.

While this is considered the most attractive clip, it also requires the most maintenance. The horse needs to be blanketed at all times.

A special thanks to Andis for providing the information and illustrations for this article.