I can’t wait to body clip today… said no person ever! But with professional groom Amanda Geerlinks’ body clipping tips, this chore is sure to go off much smoother than ever before.
BY AMANDA GEERLINKS
Body clipping. A necessary evil for any show horse, but a dreaded job for horse owners. The hair ends up in your mouth, ears, down your shirt, in your pants, and anywhere possible! And it itches!
Today, we’ll show you tips that will help you get the job finished quicker by making it easier on you, your horse, and your clippers.
Tip #1: Bubble bath your horse before you clip
A bathed horse will make the job much easier for you, more enjoyable for your horse, and reduce the amount of clip lines. Not just the top coat of the horse needs to be clean. The roots of their hair is where the dirt is, and that is what will wreck your blades. The cleaner the coat, the sharper the finish.
Clipping a dirty horse will dull your blades faster, make your clippers become hot quickly, and ultimately put more wear and tear on your clippers.
When you bathe your horse, make sure to really scrub them, especially the top of their bum! This is where all the dirt tends to gather and is not easily brushed out. After bathing, spray show sheen all over your horse. This will help the blades zoom through the hair.
Tip #2: Reposition your horse so their skin is taught
Elbows, stifles, and legs can be hard to clip. Reposition your horse throughout the clip so that the skin is as taught as possible, so your clippers can glide through the hair.
For example, this might mean making the horse fully stand on all four legs so that there isn’t loose skin on their bum, or pushing their neck to the opposite side that you’re clipping to make the neck skin tighter and hair easier to clip.
To clip the hair around the tendons in the lower leg, pick up their foot as if you’re going to pick it out, and then clip the sides of their lower legs. The tendons are loose in that position, and you can clip easier than when they’re standing on that leg.
For the elbows, stretch the leg forward to make the elbow skin taught.
Tip #3: Oil your blades every 5 – 10 minutes
That little tube of oil you got with your clippers is essential for a good clip job! The oil will keep your blades running smoothly against each other, reducing friction and heat.
Recently we received a message asking how to eliminate the lines that happened because of clipping. The answer is oil! Those lines that are close to each other in a perfect row are from the blade not being able to move across the hair easily. Especially when a horse is dirty or excessively hairy you’ll see these lines if you don’t oil enough.
While the clippers are running, turn them sideways and put two drops of oil at the two points that the blades meet. Hold them there until you hear the clippers start running quieter and smoother. Wipe any excess off on a towel and start clipping.
When do you apply the oil? Anytime! At the start of every clip, when you feel like the hair is pulling, after you go through a dirty section, when you see lines where you’ve clipped, or when the blades start to feel hot.
Tip #4: To clip along the mane, hold your clippers perpendicular to their neck
Clipping a straight line from the withers to the bridle path is super hard! Especially if your horse tends to move or twitch…even the slightest bit.
You’d be surprised at all the different directions the hair grows right by their mane. Therefore, going perpendicular to their neck often works so well, because the hair growth is different along the mane line than the rest of their neck.
Start at the top near their ears. Hold the mane over to the other side of their neck with your left hand/arm. If you hold the mane down tight enough, you should see the ends of their coat hair stand up and separate from the mane. Now with your clippers in your right hand, hold them perpendicular to their neck and clip down against the hair.
Tip #5: Eliminate lines by clipping at a 45 degree angle
Yes, it’s true that you need to clip against the growth of the hair, but going at a 45-degree angle can help “grab” the hairs that didn’t get caught the first time.
It is especially helpful to clip in a W pattern when you’re clipping a horse with a short coat. It can be difficult for the blades to catch those short hairs when simply going against the hair growth.
Remember to keep your blades flat against their body to ensure an even clip. It is best to not even take the clippers off their body, lifting and placing back down will cause lines and an uneven coat.
Body clipping can be hard but with the few tips and tricks we’ve shared with you today, we hope that it is an enjoyable experience next time for you and your horse. Happy clipping!