Prep your horse for body clipping!


The “secret” to a lovely body clip, trace clip, or trimming is to start with a wildly clean horse.  With a few simple steps it’s easy to prepare your horse for clipping. 

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If you want the following things for your horse while clipping:


  • Comfort
  • Speed
  • No skin pulling
  • An even finish

And if you want the following things for your equipment while clipping:


  • Hot knife through butter
  • Keeping your clippers sharp
  • Cool blades as you clip along


You should prep your horse and your clippers:


  • Make your horse super clean
  • Make your horse super slippery
  • Make your clippers oily


up close of clipper blade teeth

Sharp blades = clipping success


Tips for grooming your horse before clipping


If bathing your horse is not an option:


  • Curry comb your horse until you could theoretically lift a car once your arms recover. Maybe try out your entire collection of curry combs and grooming gloves on your horse.



  • If you don’t have a vacuum, immediately write a letter to the powers that be to make a vacuum appear, or just dandy brush a lot. Then soft brush. Then dandy. Then soft.  Keep going! 


  • Hot towel your horse. This lifts and removes any remaining dirt and dust. Don’t be super concerned with stains; they will get clipped off.


How to hot towel your horse for clipping


  • The premise of hot toweling is using steamy cloths or sponges to curry your horse.  Gather a few essentials, and then get going.  You will need: 


      • One bucket of HOT water
      • One rinse bucket with cool water
      • An assortment of cloths or sponges
      • Kitchen gloves
      • No-rinse shampoo
      • Maybe a cooler for your horse if the weather is chilly
      • Insta-hot kettle if you don’t have hot water 


Hot toweling steps 


  • Start by grooming your horse.  Be as thorough as possible about lifting all of the dirt and dander from your horse.  


  • Mix a few capfuls in a gallon of hot water.  Toss in your cloths.


  • Wearing kitchen gloves (unless you have nerves of steel), take out a cloth and WRING IT within an inch of its life.  The cloth should be barely damp, but warm and steamy.  By the time you finish wringing, the cloth has cooled enough. 


  • Use your cloth like a curry comb, working against the hair growth direction.  Your horse should not be wet. 


  • Work in small areas, and toss your dirty cloth in the rinse bucket to use again later.  


  • Cover your horse with a cooler if they are too damp.


  • Cycle through your cloths until your horse is done!


  • Reward yourself, it’s hard work. 



horse getting shampoo with a brush

Scrub scrub scrub, rinse rinse rinse.


If all conditions are a go for bathing your horse:


  • Shampoo your horse after thorough grooming. I like a simple, shine-enhancing shampoo, as this helps to create a great coat for clippers to slide through.


  • Rinse until the cows come home.


  • During the drying process, which will involve towel drying and lots of coolers and absolutely no rolling, spray your horse with a shine enhancer. I use a tiny bit of grooming oil before and after body clipping and trace clipping.


  • The combo of dirt removal and slickifying of the coat allows your clippers to work at maximum efficiency. Using the grooming oil creates just enough stick that the hair stays relatively clumped together as you clip, reducing the amount of airborne hair.


grooming oil on a horse after clipping

Grooming oil makes your horse’s coat slick and shiny – which makes your horse easy to clip! Use before and after a clip.

How to oil buff your horse before and after clipping


  • Oil buffing is the simple way of adding shine and conditioning to your horse’s coat.  You do not need much grooming oil at all – a few capfuls should be plenty for your horse’s entire body. 


Using grooming oil after clipping brings back shine and conditions the hair coat. 


Oil buff without water


  • If you prefer to groom your oil into your horse, use a brush, sponge, cloth, or grooming mitt.  One tiny dollop is all you need, and then start to brush or curry the oil into your horse’s coat.


  • Using an absorbent towel or sponge may need more grooming oil until your cloth is saturated. 


  • Use a stiff brush to work the oil into the longer hair for thicker coats. 


  • You may get oily patches using this method, but it’s not a big deal.  


Oil buff as a rinse


If the weather is good, you can make a grooming oil rinse for your horse.  You can use this on a dry horse, and it works quite well after a bath as a final rinse.


Mix a few capfuls of grooming oil into warm water. Swirl it around with a sponge or cloth.  Your cloth will pick up enough oil to shine up your horse without them becoming greasy.


Sponge on, then sweat scrape.  Tah-dah, you’re done and ready to clip.



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



Hot toweling instructions.


Oil buffing tips



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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.

Shapley's Easy-Out No Rinse Shampoo 32 fl.oz
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Shapley's Hi Shine Shampoo, 1-Gallon
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SHAPLEY'S Medi-Care Med Shampoo W/Tea Tree & Lemon Grass, 32 oz
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Shapley's No.1 Light Oil
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Shapley's No.2 Heavy Oil

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Thank you!