Train your horse to be clipped!


Horses, magnificent illogical creatures that they are, often feel like clippers are going to eat them. Of course, it’s a real possibility, haha.  It’s your job to train your horse to be clipped.  This is handy for wound management, touch-up trimming, and body clipping.  


Use kind training methods 


  • It’s often quite easy to train your horse to be unafraid of clippers if you have a kind system in place that lets your horse take his dang time. We often fail as horse people because we want to go from green broke to grand prix in a day, when we really need to take some time.


Have your horse training basics in place before you start


  • I have a fairly consistent way to train horses to like the clippers, but before you even try, be sure the following circumstances are true:


  • Your horse has a specific reward that he knows for a job well done. I tend to err on the side of “no treats” and stick to a kind word, a scratch, a nice pat.


  • There is no timeline for the training to happen.


  • You are OK with starting over from square one if you push your luck one day and it ends badly.


  • You can devote 1 minute a day, every day, to this. Nothing more.


  • You know, for sure, if your horse is OK or most definitely NOT OK with cords. Decide which item – the clipper or the cord – you will help him be confident around. Working on both at the same time might be more frustrating for you and definitely confusing for your horse.


clipper cord and handle

Cords are VERY MUCH the harbinger of death for some horses. Start with a cordless pair for that type of chicken/horse.


Be safe when training your horse


  • Here’s how I get going. I typically like to train a horse to tolerate the clippers when he’s not tied up.


  • Any anxiety about the clippers can escalate from the anxiety of not being able to escape. I also do not reward for a negative reaction. For example, my horse steps away from me and snorts. No reward. My horse stays still, reward.


  • You want to reinforce the desired behavior of acceptance and ignore the undesired behavior, his reaction. If you reward his reaction of panic in an attempt to soothe him, you have just confirmed that he should be afraid of the clippers.

The steps for positive horse training with clippers.


Steps to train your horse:


  • My horse gets to look at a pair of clippers. On the shelf in the grooming stall, or in my hand as I’m standing 5 feet from him, or in the grooming box.




  • This could go on for a week.


  • Then I use the clippers just as I would any other grooming tool. I just lay it on him and rub it around. The clippers are NOT ON. Every day for as long as needed until your horse gives absolutely zero cares about the clippers.




  • Then you can turn it on, far away from him. Watch for a reaction. No reaction? REWARD. Reaction? Go back a few steps, maybe even start over.




  • Once the sound of the clippers is no big deal at all, then they start to get closer to my horse. Maybe I have started at 20 feet away, and I more to 18 feet away. Look for reactions. No reaction is good! A curious reaction is even better!


You might need train for weeks or months.


  • Keep up with LOTS OF REWARDING.


  • At some point, you will actually touch the clippers to his body when they are ON. Start with a millisecond and work up accordingly as long as his reaction is calm and accepting.


use trimmers to outline a design on your horse


  • Remember – you can’t build an empire in one day. Some things take time, and the slower you go, the more confidence your horse will have. The positive reward system gives your horse a reason to accept the clippers instead of just being forced into a tense situation.


And now just imagine what other amazing things you could train your horse to do!


Video on tips for clipping sensitive areas.


Read the complete guide to clipping horses for more handy tips.

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Thank you!