Which Clip Is Best For Your Horse?

Which Clip Is Best For Your Horse?

It’s getting to that time of year again where we start to think about clipping our horses. Before clipping your horse it is important to understand if and why clipping is a good option for your horse, how to correctly clip and what type of clip best suits your horses’ needs. Carrying on from our clipping blog in December, we will now focus on the different clips that you can use.


Points  to consider before you clip your horse

Before deciding on the type of clip, there are a few factors that you need to consider, which will help you decide what type of clip best suits your horse. Will you be keeping your horse in a stable or will they be turned out? This can help you decide what rugs to put on your horse after clipping and the amount of hair that will be clipped. What sort of work load will your horse be undertaking? Horses in heavy work tend to be fully clipped, whereas horses in light to medium work may be kept unclipped or have a small clip like trace or blanket.

It’s good to know what rugs you are going to be using. For example, if you give your horse a full clip, you won’t want to keep him in a lightweight stable rug, you would want him in a heavyweight rug, or use layers to keep him warm. Its all in the planning! If you know how much your horse sweats, you can decide if a big clip is needed, or if they could cope with a bib or blanket clip. Its also important to know how you horse responds to be being clipped. If they are nervous or don’t like being clipped, take your time, don’t rush and give them plenty of reassurance.


With these points in mind, we can now look at the different clips that you can give your horse:

1. Full Clip

A full clip involves clipping all your horses hair. This type of clip is usually for horses in heavy and regular work, like competition horses. It ensures that the horse dries out quickly after strenuous work. With this type of clip it is advised that they do not get turned out during the night, unless they are heavily rugged and have leg bandages to keep their legs warm.

 2. The Hunter Clip

The Hunter clip is another clip for horses in heavy to medium work, like the name suggests, it is mostly used for hunters. The horse is clipped except for their legs (hairy legs protect the skin from water and mud), and the saddle area, where the coat helps protect the back from the saddle. Again, the horse will be loosing a lot of their coat, which means rugging is essential.

3. The Blanket Clip

Image result for blanket clip on horse

The Blanket Clip is recommended for horses that are in medium work, and once again, the hair is left on the legs for warmth and protection. The area where an exercise sheet would be is left unclipped, which means your horse won’t get too hot while being worked. This type of clip is good for horses that can’t have a hunter or full clip if they live on grass 24/7.

4. The Bib Clip

A Bib Clip is the most simple of all the clips. It just takes off hair from the front of the neck and chest. With this clip, some people also carry on the clip under the belly to the girth line. This clip is perfect for horses in light work and horses that are turned out during the winter months.

5. The Trace clip

The Trace Clip is actually two clips in one, the high and the low trace clip. The coat is removed from the underside of the belly and the chest and neck. The hair is left on the legs for protection once again. To provide more warmth and protection, the head hair is left on for this clip. This clip is suited for horses in medium work and that are turned out during the day (once again, with rugs on).

6. Chaser Clip

The Chaser Clip is not too dissimilar to the blanket clip. With a chaser clip, hair is left on the neck, to ensure neck muscles stay warm. Again, this clip is ideal for horses in medium work and who are turned out during the day.

7. The Irish Clip

The Irish Clip is a very straight forward clip to do, which makes it ideal for young horses that may not yet be used to the clippers. Its also great for horses in light work. With this clip, hair is removed from the areas that the horse will sweat the most from (neck and armpits) This means that sweating will be reduced but the horse will still be warm in the most important places.


So there you have it, the most common clips that you may see around this winter. But as always, all horses are different and need to be clipped to meet their own needs.

If you want some more information about clips and also the actual art of clipping, have a look at this video of Mark King and her former groom clipping one of their horses: Mary King Clipping Masterclass