How to clip a design or saddle pad on your horse


  • Well, you don’t need many fancy tools, although you might need a bit of practice…and the ability to remind yourself that it will all grow out…


  • Regardless of what style of clipping you do on your horse, it might be a good idea to leave some hair over the withers and down the spine a bit. Clipped hair is shorter than a summer coat until it grows a bit, so that furry saddle pad might be a good idea. Oh, and video below – with a mistake!


very shiny bay horse on the grass

Full body clip with a saddle patch remaining.


How to create saddle pads and designs


  • Step one – draw it out. Use a water-based marker in a contrasting color to your horse and trace a numnah or half pad for the saddle area. For designs, you can use masking tape, a stencil, or draw freehand.


I place the half pad, then trace around it. I go wider than I think I’ll need, so I can do some fine-tuning if I have to.


  • Step two – grab some clippers that have a blade that takes off a lot of hair. A #30 blade is good. Hold these clippers like a pencil, and at an angle, to trace the lines you have drawn or taped. You may need to flip the clippers around to find the perfect angle to cut a line into your horse’s coat.


Use a blade that removes a lot of hair to edge out your design. Think #30 blade or so.


  • Step three – Clip the rest! For fuzzy designs that will be on a clipped rump, start a bit bigger so you can work in. For clipped designs on a fuzzy rump, start a bit smaller so you can clip out. I switch to a #10 blade to clip the actual design, it leaves more hair than a #30 or #40.


stencil for design on your horse

Stencils are helpful, too.



  • If you find that your horse has some marker lines remaining, grab a damp cloth and you should be able to wipe them away.



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


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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



Easy Out No Rinse Shampoo

Hot water kettle

Grooming Oil