A Step-by-Step Body Clipping Guide for Adult Amateurs

Photo courtesy of Lauren Mauldin


It’s that time of year. When you don’t know if you’ll go to the barn to find your horse covered in blankets or covered in mud. In Texas, we have the added benefit of going from 80 degrees to 30s in a matter of days. For many of us, that means body clipping.

If you’re interested in clipping your beloved ponykins yourself, don’t fret! If you follow these easy steps, you too can have a clean and sleek creature.

Photo courtesy of Lauren Mauldin
  1. Think to yourself, this costs how much? I can totally do that myself!
  2. Prime yourself some clippers, ignoring the fact that they cost more than the quoted price of the body clip. Tell yourself, “I’ll be able to use these for years to come!”
  3. Excitedly open your new clippers at the barn and start begin to take away all that hair.
  4. Realize your clippers came with dog blades, not horse blades.
  5. Stew in frustration as your trainer comes over and tells you that yes, you do actually have to bathe your horse before you can do a good clip job.
  6. The next day, go to the tack store to get “Wide T-84” blades that are suppossedly a game changer.
  7. The tack store is out of the magic blades. Buy decorative snowman horse treats, fly spray, and a saddle pad (you don’t have a navy with twisted silver trim… just navy with gray cording. Totally different.) instead.
  8. Get stuck in traffic going to Tractor Supply.
  9. Find and buy the right blades and some chew bones for your dog because they need a treat too, right?
  10. Contemplate buying baby ducks. Refrain.
  11. Ignore the fact that you’ve added four hours of time and about $140 to the total cost of this “budget” clip job.
  12. Check weather forecast. Wait four days until it’s warm enough to bathe.
  13. Ignore trainer’s side eye when she realizes you’re clipping two days before the horse show. It’s fine. Everything is fine.
  14. Block off your work calendar on a warm afternoon and schedule three hours to bathe and clip. Tell yourself this will be plenty of time. (Spoiler alert—it will not be plenty of time).
  15. Bathe your beautiful horse in then sun and think about how lucky you are to be alive and what a privilege riding and horse ownership is.
  16. Hand graze while you wait for said horse to dry.
  17. Hand graze more (he is not dry).
  18. Hand graze more (he is still not dry).
  19. Hand graze more (he will never dry).
  20. Start clipping your clean, fluffy horse and realize you have 45 minutes left to get this done.
  21. Enjoy the satisfaction of removing all that hair. Think it’s like unwrapping a present as you reveal your beautiful horse’s muscles. Smile at how lovely he is.
  22. Immediately regret smiling. You have horse hair in your mouth.
  23. You have horse hair in your bra. You have horse hair in your armpits. You have horse hair in places never meant to experience horse hair.
  24. Realize you’ve been clipping for 20 minutes and you’ve only done his neck. Begin small panic.
  25. Contemplate the strangeness that is horse elbows.
  26. Take a break to give him some treats because he’s such a good boy.
  27. Find out the treats were a mistake, because instead of standing calmly now he’s mugging you for more pony poptarts. Start clipping his haunches to avoid the begging.
  28. See what time it is and admit defeat. You have to go home. Put your horse back in his stall looking like a messed up patchwork quilt.
  29. Tell yourself it’s okay, you’ll finish tomorrow after your lesson.
  30. Endure trainer’s snickering at how your horse looks like he’s been attacked by a badger.
  31. Decide not to bathe again. You just bathed yesterday! How dirty can a horse get in 24 hours?
  32. Realize how dirty a horse can get in 24 hours.
  33. Chug through clipping muttering curse words under your breath. Lose all elements of gratitude.
  34. Think, okay maybe the $200 clipping price wasn’t that bad after all…
  35. Know you’re on the home stretch. The head is the smallest part, and you’ve saved it for last to save yourself some struggle.
  36. Understand that the head may be small, but it is actually the hardest part.
  37. Regret all your choices.
  38. Wrestle with your giant horse while waving a mechanical cutting machine by his huge, soft, squishy, doe-eyes.
  39. Contemplate how we should all make trace clips a trend in the hunters from now on.
  40. Stop counting all the hours and dollars you’ve spent getting your horse clipped. It doesn’t matter because you are FINISHED.
  41. Stand back, and admire your work. You’ve done it. You’re basically an FEI groom now.
  42. Two days later at the show, cringe when your trainer points out the huge racing stripe of hair you’ve accidentally left behind inside your horse’s leg.
  43. Tell yourself it’s okay, this is the adult ammy way.
  44. Have minor mental breakdown when you realize less than 30 days after you survived this clipping adventure that your horse is already getting fuzzy again…
Photo courtesy of Lauren Mauldin

About the Author: Lauren holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from the University of California Riverside, and is a lifelong rider and writer. She writes as a way to explore life. She’s interested in the impact horses have on our lives as well discussing body positivity, mental health and addiction through personal narrative. She enjoys showing on the local hunter/jumper circuit in Austin, Texas.

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