horse clipping tips

Horse clipping tips!


  • Clipping may be right for your horse in the colder months. You will need to decide, based on a few factors, if clipping is something that you want to undertake.

Consider the following: the weather where you live, your horse’s living conditions, and how much work your horse is in.


  • If you keep your horse fit and exercised in the winter months, I would suggest a clip that is appropriate for your climate. For example, I like a trace clip in parts of the country that get COLD. Clipping hair from the sweaty parts of your horse will help him be comfortable and dry quickly and safely after exercise. The remaining hair will also help to keep him naturally warmer and limit the need for massive blanketing.


orange and green clippers

Well oiled and sharp clipper blades are KEY!


In the southern areas of the country, where it’s typically warmer in the winter, a full body clip is appropriate if your horse is in full work during the winter.


  • If your horse lives out all the time or is stalled all the time, you may make some variations on these guidelines. So – you have decided on a clip – and you have clippers ready to go. Here are some practical clipping tips for you!


  • Clip a squeaky clean and dry horse. Your blades, your horse, and the hair will thank you. Apply some Magic Sheen or No. 1 Light Oil to your horse to make things go even smoother.


  • Use clipper oil often and generously. Supplement with an aerosol cooling product. This will save your blades and also prevent the blades from heating up and harming your horse. There’s a video below on how to take care of your clippers.

horse clipper coolant and oil and sanitizing spray

You can also use spray coolant as you work. Always follow up with oil!


  • DO NOT apply any sort of lip balm during the clipping process. Trust me on this one.


  • Wear protective clothing. You can use a trash bag, scrubs, or a hospital gown type of garment to prevent that wacky hair from flying and getting lodged everywhere. And I mean everywhere.


  • Do take breaks. Your horse may want to pee, grab some water, or just chill for a bit.


gray horse getting lower legs trimmed

I might clip the body one day, the legs the next.


  • You can clip over a few days if time is tight. However – do either top then bottom or bottom then top so that your blanketing will be OK overnight until you can finish. If you do right side then left side, you have to figure out a blanket for a hairy right side and a naked left side.


  • Take your time, and go over your “track” if you start to see lines. You can clip diagonally over any lines to tidy things up.


  • Work against the grain of the hair. Usually. Sometimes going slightly against the hair works better.



  • Teach your spouse to clip. This will come in handy. My husband mastered clipping before he figured out that this was a skill that would ultimately force him to help me out with this task.


  • Don’t worry if your first attempts at a clip job stink. In a few days, you won’t be able to tell.



Shapley's No. 1 light oil grooming oil

Light oil is a great way to prep your horse’s hair coat and use it as a post clip conditioner.



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For coat prep:

Shapley’s Magic Sheen Hair Polish, 1-Quart – for keeping things sleek.

Shapley’s No.1 Light Oil – for deep conditioning and wind knot removal.



Wahl Professional Animal ARCO with 5 in 1 blade

The Chromado, also available in black.

The Creativa, also availabe in pink.

The Bravura


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!

Blades for body clippers, the detachable style.

The 10 Wide blade for body clippers, the detachable style.

A 5 in 1 replacement blade.

Lister Star blades, fine cut.

30-15-10’s adjustable blade.



Clipper Oil