Clipping Styles – Why Clip Your Horse & What Clip To Use?

Lincolnshire Show - Vincent Clipped & Winning

Your horses coat is its weather-proof barrier and Native Breeds can usually live out happily all winter without needing to be rugged up. Finer non-native breeds will almost always need to be rugged up depending on the weather.

Featured image shows Vincent, clipped & hogged, winning the heavyweight cob at Lincolnshire
Your horses coat will grow thicker in the winter, and this can cause a problem if you ride, exercise or compete regularly. The thicker the coat the more likely your horse will sweat up during exercise.

If you ride, exercise and compete regularly but decide to keep your horse un-clipped, then you should monitor how hot your horse gets during work, and limit the amount of work in case your horse overheats.

By Debbie …[userpro template=card user=author]The Tack Room
Likewise, if you rug up a sweaty horse that has a full winter coat, and don’t walk it off to allow it to cool down properly, you risk giving your horse a chill.

Owners mainly clip their horses coat to make their horse more comfortable in work, to work for longer and to prevent overheating. Your horse will cool down and dry off much quicker without a full winter coat that traps the sweat & heat.

Clipping can also help when a horse has Cushings, as this can cause them to grow a very heavy coat all year round.

You should always use a suitable clipping style, one that suits your horses workload. A fully clipped out horse or pony may look good, but if you don’t work, exercise or ride everyday it’s unsuitable. Unless your horse is kept warm using the proper rugs and comfortable at night in its stable, it will simply lose condition.

Types of Clip

When deciding what style of clip to use you have to consider three things;

  • Workload, how hard will you work your horse or pony.
  • Rugs, the weight (ie warmth provided) and coverage of your turnout rugs, and
  • The weather, how cold is it going to be.

The clipping styles shown below are recognised as the most common and your horse or pony should be clipped by a professional groom.

You’ll easily notice the difference between an amateur clip and a professional. It’s a bit like do-it-yourself hairdressing or visiting the salon … try Show Prep & Livery Services.

Bib Clip – Neck & Chest / Belly & Neck
Show Prep & Livery Services - Bib ClipYour horse or pony is clipped around the underside of the neck and down between the front legs or from under the belly upwards between the forelegs and along the lower line of the neck and lower jaw. You would usually use this clip for a horse or pony that will be turned out and will do some light work or hacking.

Chaser Clip
Show Prep & Livery Services - Chaser ClipYour horse or pony is clipped from under the belly upwards between and around the front legs and up a line on the neck, (dependent on how high you require the line to be). This clipping style and variations of it are often seen in thoroughbred yards. It is useful on a nervous horse, which is being clipped for the first time as it does not take as long as other clipping styles.

Trace Clip
Show Prep & Livery Services - Trace ClipYour horse or pony’s coat is removed from the belly and the underside of the neck. Leaving the hair on the head, the topside of the neck, body and legs for warmth and protection. The trace clip evolved for carriage driving horses and would follow the lines of harness traces on the underside of the neck and belly. It is popular for hacking & riding horses.

Blanket Clip
Show Prep & Livery Services - Blanket ClipThe blanket clip is the next step up from the trace clip. Your horse or pony is clipped completely from the head, neck and flanks, leaving only an area of hair that looks like an exercise sheet over the back and hindquarters and on the legs. The hair on the legs is left mainly for warmth and protection from the elements. This type of clip suits a horse or pony that is exercised regularly, is turned-out in a paddock during the day, stabled at night and does occasional events at the weekends. The blanket clip lets you exercise your horse or pony without risking it getting too hot.

Full Clip with Legs On (Hunter Type Clip)
Show Prep & Livery Services - Full Legs On Hunter ClipYour horse or pony will be clipped fully but the legs will be left on. The hair on the legs acts as a protection against the cold, mud, cracked heels and injury from thorns. The Hunter Clip is often used on a horse in hard work, with or without the saddle patch. The hunter clip traditionally leaves a saddle patch but careful consideration should be given to the positioning of the saddle patch. Incorrect positioning can spoil the look of your horse; if for instance it is too far forward your horse will look short in the shoulder and long in the back.

Full Clip with Legs Off
Show Prep & Livery Services - Full Legs Off ClipYour horse or pony will have the whole coat removed, including body, legs and head. This clip style is commonly used on horses or ponies that compete in the winter months. Horses or ponies with a full clip need to be rugged up at all times and may need to wear stable bandages to help stay warm during very cold times. Spare rugs should be available just in case your main turnout or stable rug becomes wet, unusable or requires repairs.