Horse clipping safety – don’t get squashed or electrocuted!
- Clipping can often involve getting tangled in cords, squashed by a spooking horse, or electrocuted by old clippers in disrepair. I can attest to two of these things, and my distinct fear of electrocution makes the third one quite real.
Horse clipping safety tips for you and your horse
- Acclimatize your horse to the sound and feel of clippers over time, so his first clipping isn’t scary. Use baby steps weeks before to get your horse used to the sound and feel. Reward your horse for relaxation and acceptance!
- Distract your horse. If you are doing a marathon clipping session, perhaps a snack in a hay net will help him relax and stay patient.
- Grab a buddy to help you. You may not need someone standing with you for the whole process, but for sensitive or ticklish areas it’s safer to have an extra set of hands. Your buddy can also help you unfold the skin layers behind elbows to get a good clip job.
- Take lots of breaks, allowing your horse to go back to his stall for water or a bathroom break.
- Make sure your horse is spotless. Dirt and dander on your horse can damage the clipper blades and subsequently pull, tug, or damage his skin. This is uncomfortable for him, damages your clipper blades, and leaves an uneven coat full of lines.
- Brush the freshly clipped coat often with a soft brush to alleviate the “itchies” that often follow a clipping and create a wiggling beast in the cross ties.
- Work in a well lit and ventilated area. But not windy. Your lip-balmed lips and your horse’s nose will thank you.
- Clip your horse in stages so you don’t get tired and your horse won’t be ridiculous if you need to stop until the next day. So, you may start with the left side. But if you do all of the left side and stop, how do you blanket that? Instead, do the top and leave the bottom for another day, or do the legs and neck one day and the barrel another. Or do a trace clip to try it out, and come back for more hair removal if necessary.
Inspect all cords! Look for tears or broken areas.
Safety tips for your equipment
- Make sure you are working away from water and with GFI outlets if applicable. Sometimes the closest outlet is by water, in which case the GFI will protect against electrical shocks.
- Inspect the cord to your clippers for tears in the outer sheath that covers all of the really important stuff inside.
- Don’t tangle your horse up with the cord! Avoid plugging in the clippers on the left side and crossing over or under your horse to do the right side. Turn your horse around or find another set of cross ties with the outlet on the other side.
- No dull blades! This damages your horse’s coat and makes clipping take forever.
- No hot blades! Work with at least two blades so that you can switch them out. Or, use a spray coolant. Coolant does not take the place of oil, which you should be doing as you clip, also. When in doubt, add oil. A good rule of thumb is to cool every 5-10 minutes and immediately follow with oil on your blades.
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The Chromado, also available in black.
The Creativa, also availabe in pink.
The KM10’s are the gold standard for body clippers.
The Power Grips, also a nice body clipper.
The Pro Ion, this is a body clipper that uses 30-15-10 blade system.
The Lister Stars – the best shears!