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Horse Articles :: Clipping a Horse

Clipping a Horse

There's a chill in the air and winter is imminent. And just like peanut butter goes with jelly, winter goes hand-in-hand with the age-old question: should I clip my horse, or blanket him?

This is a tough questions, and there is no hard-and-fast rule. The right answer to the question is very individual.

So let's start with the easiest population first. If you are planning on laying your horse off during the winter—in other words, if winter spells vacation and the most arduous thing your horse does during the winter is eat and sleep and maybe walk a few steps from here to there—the answer is simple. Let your horse's coat grow. Without interference, the thick, heavy coat most horses grow naturally should keep him nice and warm during the winter months, providing he is just spending time in the barn and pasture.

If you choose to let your horse's coat grow, whether or not he requires extra blankets will depend upon your horse. Heartier, warm-blooded breeds like the Morgan might only need blanketing in the most inclement of weather, while cold-blooded, thin-skinned breeds like the Thoroughbred will almost certainly need extra blankets.

Now, if your horse works during the winter, you'll have to think more carefully about whether you clip him or blanket him. Why? Well, no matter how cold the weather the horse's thick winter coat will cause him to sweat during work. What is the result? A wet coat. Think about yourself for a second, and how you feel after a few hours of arduous play in the snow. You come inside all sweaty and wet, right? And doesn't it feel great to take all those wet clothes off? Well, the horse has no such option. He's stuck with his coat! And a horse who stands around in a wet coat is risking illness.

So what to do? If your horse is working during the winter months, it is smart to clip him. But, you say, there are so many clips! Which one to choose? Well, that depends upon how much your horse sweats and the amount of work he's been given. A good way to go is to start with the most basic clip and go from there.

To simplify, the five clips, in order from most basic to most complicated, are: the pony clip, the trace clip, the blanket clip, the hunter clip, and the full clip.

In the pony clip hair is removed from the neck and chest, the areas that the horse sweats the most. In the trace clip, hair is removed from the underside of the neck and stomach. A "high" trace clip goes well up the horse's flanks, while a "low" trace clip ends lower on the horse's flanks. A blanket clip removes all the hair on the neck and flanks, but leaves a blanket-shaped area over the back and hindquarters. The legs remained unclipped as well. A hunter clip, usually reserved for horses in hard training, leaves hair only on the legs and saddle area. The most extreme clip, most often seen on show horses, is the full clip. This clip removes all hair from the horse's body.

If you choose to clip your horse, you will have to blanket your horse to make up for the loss of winter coat. But there are so many blankets on the market today. Which one is right for your horse? Easy! Any blanket that keeps your horse warm and dry, actually stays on, and isn't routinely shredded is the right blanket for your horse. Finding the right blanket is often done by trial and error; talk to others about what has worked on similar horses in similar climates, and go from there.

About the Author
Ron Petracek is the founder of Equine Internets vast 15 site classified and social network. You can view its amazing size here Http:// or to further your equine habit please visit our forum by clicking here and start posting Need to sell a horse or tack? place a free ad here and always the barn door in left open on purpose.










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