Clipping your horse in the summer

 

YES!  Clipping your horse in summer can be a thing, and I have actually done it! Some of us like to keep our horse’s legs clipped year-round, but the rest of our horse? There are some benefits, and some drawbacks, too.  As with clipping horses any time of the year, it’s optional and individual for each horse.

 

Why would we need to clip our horse in the summer?

 

  • Most of us would do so for cooling purposes. This is especially true if your horse is on the hairy side, for whatever reason.

 

  • A modified trace clip was my design of choice to help my horses cool off during one particularly hot summer. I clipped a strip from sternum to cheeks, using the jugular groove as a border to the north.  There was also a horizontal stripe from hamstring to shoulder, but not the belly. I know, horizontal stripes are not slimming, but what the heck! My main reason was to give my guy some fresh air on those areas that are normally coated in sweat during a workout. Cool down time can shorten, and he will dry faster after a bath.

 

  • If your horse has anhidrosis, his core body temperature can rise quickly as he is unable to cool himself with sweat. A body clip can certainly help here.

 

 

dark bay horse that's shiny after a clip

You can get the shine on a clipped horse.

 

A few things to think about when you body clip or trace clip

 

  • What will your horse do for bug control? If he’s really sensitive to insects, you may want to rethink this. Or, you could clip areas that would be covered by a fly sheet when you are not riding.

 

chestnut horse two toned after trace clip

Some chestnuts and bays look very different when clipped. A summer trace clip may look funny, so opt for a full-body clip if you are hitting the shows.

 

  • You will also need to consider your horse’s color. White horses have pink skin, and thus are very susceptible to sunburn. I have actually seen a white horse that wasn’t clipped with sunburn blisters. Chestnuts are usually a pumpkin color and some bays turn a bit mousy when clipped.

 

  • If your horse is showing, you may want to clip the whole horse to avoid multicolored stripes or banners. Or, if that’s the look you are going for, please send me a photo!! I’ll add that one super advantage of having a gray horse is that they are the same clipped or not, so you can barely tell on a gray horse.

 

  • Many of us also adopt different turnout routines during warmer months, so also consider that when you are deciding on a summer clip. Think about insect control, exposure to the sun, and the ease of using a thin flysheet for protection.

 

 

Tips on clipping your horse in summer

 

  • Clip where your horse sweats a lot and needs some extra air circulation to cool off. The underside of the neck is a common area. You want to avoid clipping under the saddle area completely, let that hair protect your horse under his tack. I like to leave a saddle pad-shaped patch of hair there.

 

  • Be very careful where tack meets clipped skin, like the girth area. When you add sweat, rubs and sores or galls are very likely to form.

 

  • Don’t clip too closely at first. You can always clip again if need be. This depends on what clipper blade you use, and you can learn about clipper blades here for more info.

 

  • Plan on extra bug protection, be it a sheet or your favorite spray.  Enjoy the ease of cleaning a clipped horse!

lister star blades up close

Pick your clipper blades wisely!

 

 

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