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Horse Clips: Which is the right one for your Horse?

Updated: Sep 5, 2023


A horse that has just been clipped.

"In this article, we will discuss the different types of horse clip. While we are not qualified to offer instructions on how to clip a horse, we will provide an summary of the different styles of clip available so you can decide which is best for you and your horse although a lot will depend on what you are going do with your horse.

Horse clipping can be problematic so unless you are experienced in this or you have someone at hand to help you, who is, it may be best left to a professional.


The different types of clip.


A chart showing the different types of horse clip

Why clip your Horse?


There are several reasons why horse owners might opt for clipping their horses. It's not just about appearance, are practical purposes too. In this article we will look at the different types of horse clip so you can decide which one is right for your horse.


One of the key perks of horse clipping is temperature regulation. In hot weather, a thick coat can trap heat, making it hard for horses to stay cool. This can lead to overheating and related health issues. By giving your horse a clip, you can help them stay comfortably cool.

Clipping also plays a role at horse shows and competitions. A well-groomed, clipped horse emits professionalism and can make a real impact in the arena. Looking the part is often as crucial as performing well in these events.


Clipping for skin conditions.


There are a few skin conditions that may benefit from horse clipping:

  • Lice infestations: Clipping the coat of a horse can help to remove lice, as the shears can cut off the lice and their eggs.

  • Fungal infections: Fungal infections such as ringworm can be more easily treated if the hair coat is clipped, as the medication can be applied directly to the skin.

  • Allergic dermatitis: Allergic dermatitis is a skin condition that can be triggered by allergies to things like dust, mold, and pollen. Clipping the coat can help to reduce the amount of allergens that come into contact with the skin, which can help to alleviate the symptoms of allergic dermatitis.

  • Excessive sweating: Some horses sweat excessively, especially during hot and humid weather. Clipping the coat can help to reduce the amount of sweat that the horse produces, which can help to keep the skin healthy and prevent skin infections.

  • Rain rot: Rain rot is a skin condition that is caused by bacteria and is characterized by scaly, crusty lesions. Clipping the hair coat can help to remove the infected hair, which can help to prevent the spread of the infection.

It is important to remember that while clipping may be beneficial in these situations, it is not a alternative for proper medical treatment. If your horse is experiencing any of these conditions, it is important to consult with your vet for the appropriate course of treatment.


In addition to these benefits, clipping can also make it easier to care for a horse's coat. Long hair can be more prone to tangles and mats, which can be difficult to brush out and can lead to skin irritation. By clipping the hair short, you can make it easier to brush and groom your horse, which can help to keep their coat healthy and shiny.

7 different types of clip for horses.


Bib Clip (see chart above)


So, let's talk about the bib clip, a kind of horse grooming trick. With this one, you trim the hair on a horse's chest and throat area, leaving a sort of "bib" of hair around the neck. People often go for this style when they plan to ride their horses in the heat. It helps keep the horse cool while still giving some protection to the chest and throat.


When you're going for a bib clip, you'll in a sense give the chest and throat a shorter haircut, but leave the rest of the body as is. This makes the horse look more sleek which is handy, especially when riding in hot weather.


All in all, the bib clip strikes a balance between warmth and mobility. It's a good choice for various activities and weather conditions.


The Strip Clip.


To strip clip a horse, start by removing a thin strip of hair from the jowls down the underside of the neck and under the chest. Only remove as much hair as necessary, and stop at the girth area or continue the clip under and along the belly.


Alternatively, take the strip clip one step further by clipping a large triangle of hair from the neck to the flank. This will remove all the hair under the belly and also trim the hair on the lower part of the shoulder.

The Irish Clip


An Irish clip, also known as a half clip, is a type of horse clip that involves removing the hair from just one half of the horse's body, typically the hindquarters and flanks. This type of clip is often used for horses that are ridden in mild weather, as it helps to keep them cool while still providing some warmth.


The Trace Clip.


Let's talk about the trace clip, a technique used in horse grooming. With this approach, you trim the hair on the horse's neck, shoulders, and hindquarters while leaving the rest of the body as it is. People often go for this style when they plan to ride their horses in chilly weather. It helps keep the horse warm while still allowing for comfortable movement.


The trace clip is somewhat similar to the full clip, where you remove all the hair from the entire body. However, with the trace clip, you leave some hair behind. This remaining hair serves as insulation and protects the horse's skin from the elements.


To achieve a trace clip, you'll typically give the neck, shoulders, and hindquarters a shorter trim while leaving the rest untouched. This creates a sleeker appearance, which is particularly handy when riding in cold weather.


All in all, the trace clip strikes a practical balance between keeping your horse warm and ensuring they can move freely, making it suitable for various activities and weather conditions.


The Blanket Clip.


Blanket clip: A blanket clip involves removing the hair from the horse's neck, shoulders, and hindquarters, as well as the belly and flanks. This type of clip is often used for horses that are ridden in very cold weather, as it provides maximum warmth while still allowing for freedom of movement.


The Hunter Clip. A hunter clip is a type of horse clip that involves trimming the hair on the horse's neck, shoulders, and hindquarters shorter, but leaving it longer on the legs and tail. This type of clip is often used for horses that participate in hunting or jumping events, as it helps to keep them cool and agile while still providing some warmth.


The hunter clip is similar to a full clip, which involves removing all of the hair from the horse's body however, the hunter clip leaves a little more hair on the body, which can help to protect the horse's skin from the elements and provide some insulation.


To create a hunter clip, the hair is typically trimmed shorter on the neck, shoulders, and hindquarters, while the legs and tail are left longer. This helps to create a more polished and professional appearance, which is often important for horses that are being shown or competed in hunting or jumping events.


Overall, the hunter clip is a variable and practical choice for many horses, as it provides a balance of warmth and agility that is suitable for a variety of activities and weather conditions.


The Full Clip.


The full clip involves removing all of the horse's coat, including the legs, head, and ears, which leaves the horse without any protection from the elements. This type of clip should only be used for horses in hard competition work that do not usually have turnout during the winter. It is important to practice careful stable management using rugs and blankets to prevent the horse from getting cold or developing conditions such as rain scald or mud fever.


In conclusion, whatever type of clip you decide on for your horse, it is vital that you use blankets and rugs at all times during cold conditions. More on Rugs HERE


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Sharon Shinwell a co-author of the popular book "Ride With Confidence," which was forwarded by Kelly Marks, the well-known Horse Whisperer.


Sharon Shinwell

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"This article represents the personal views and opinions of the author and should not be taken as representative of the official policy or position of any organization, professional, expert, or individual."




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