Do you need clippers or trimmers for your horse?


  • Even if you never plan on body clipping your horse, it’s a good idea to have a good set of clippers on hand. They are handy for wounds, touch-ups, and bridle paths. But should you get clippers or trimmers, and what’s the difference, and why are there so many to choose from? Ok, I have no idea why they are so many to pick from but I can help with the other stuff.


Trimmers are not as powerful as clippers, and are handy to use for the touch-ups on your horse.


  • Smaller and nimble, trimmers do the fine details. The most important reason to have a pair of these handy clippers is to clip wounds. This allows you and your Vet to easily inspect, clean, and treat all sorts of wounds.


using trimmers to tidy a horse's face

This trimmer is super for touch-ups.


Reasons to use trimmers on your horse:


  • Wound cleaning. Pro tip for wound cleaning – use a dollop of water-based lubricant to cover the wound before you clip. This prevents stray hairs and dirt from entering the wound, and the water-based lubricant will wash away easily as you clean the wound.


  • Bridle path. No horse wants a lump under the crown piece of their bridle. Do your horse’s noggin a solid and clip that mane.


  • Fetlock trimming. If having a horse with tidy legs is something you love, trimmers can help you. A quick zip here and there and all of a sudden your horse’s legs look svelte.


trimming up a horse fetlock


  • Fancy horse butt designs. Again, if it’s your thing. The bonus of having an adjustable blade, as most trimmers do, is that your horse’s butt design can be all sorts of creative and textured.


  • Banging tails. You can use scissors for this, but if you are already touching up the wild hairs on your horses, bang that tail with trimmers. Unless you are a hunter rider in which case don’t touch the tail.


  • Wayward hair trimming. Because who doesn’t have stray hairs with a mind of their own.


Advantages of trimmers:


  • These guys are lightweight, and most are cordless. Some can even convert from cordless to corded if you need to charge in the middle of your work.


  • Fancy adjustable blades are often offered with trimmers. These handy blades allow you to switch from a #9 to a #40 to meet all of your trimming needs. And everything in between.


adjust button on 5 in 1 blades

This handy little knob controls the adjustable blade of this Arco trimmer.


Clippers are designed for body clipping.


There are two main styles of horse clippers – the giant sheep shearing type, and the not-so-intense body clippers.


  • The giant shearing types are super heavy duty and can practically clip through just about anything. They are accordingly expensive, but great to have if clipping lots of horses is your jam. It’s a bit tricky to do the fine clipping with these styles of clippers, so you will likely need a more maneuverable pair for legs, around the mane, and any other types of detail work.


  • Body clippers may be corded or cordless. They typically use “snap-on” blades that work between brands. Most blades also come in wide styles, so when you are working on your horse’s larger area, use a wide blade. Switch to a “normal” width blade for legs other trickier places to clip.


lister star tension knob up close

Shears need to be tensioned by hand for the best clip job.


Reasons to use clippers:


  • Any body clipping or variation thereof, like a trace clip. I’m a fan of “designing” clipping a pattern that matches what your horse needs, so you may just need to clip away the sweaty parts.


  • Mane roaching if your horse’s mane is particularly thick. Sometimes trimmers are good here, sometimes you need more.


  • Clippers can also be used for some of the jobs of a trimmer. If you know you need to clip and trim, get the clippers first.


km 10 clippers roaching a mane

Clippers make easy work of roaching even the thickest of manes.


Advantages of clippers:


  • Clippers are stronger than trimmers, can work with thicker hair, and can also do trimming. Lots of blade options are available for clippers, and there are loads of options across all price points.


How do you tell clippers and trimmers apart when you are online shopping?


  • Most clipper manufacturers specify on their websites if their products are clippers or trimmers. That’s super helpful. Price is also another clue, trimmers tend to be at a lower price point. Clippers usually have cords, this makes it easier for them to have more power. Some body clippers are now available in cordless versions. When in doubt, a quick call to the manufacturer can clear up any uncertainty.


Read the COMPLETE GUIDE TO CLIPPING YOUR HORSE for start to finish tips on clippers, techniques, and troubleshooting!


go shopping button for horse products

You can click these links if you want to shop for horse supplies easily. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, which are not a penny more for you. I couldn’t be more grateful for your support!  You can also visit my Amazon storefront here:  PEG storefront.

Thank you!