Some of you may be considering a clip on your equine and if you have not you may want to. If you ride a lot during the cooler months your fuzzball may get overly sweaty. The longer winter coat takes a extra time to dry and if it stays wet may chill your friend. But that does not mean you need to clip all of the hair off. If you do a full clip you will want to blanket your partner for sure. It is nice to leave the hair on the legs for protection especially if you foxhunt or ride out on trails.
Here are some options.
The Strip Clip—This is similar to us unzipping a coat to let a little heat out. From the chest between the forelegs and down the belly toward the sheath or udder is taken off. You do not need to additionally blanket for this one as most of the hair remains.
The Blanket Clip—This resembles a blanket of hair being left on. Only the neck and belly areas are removed or there may be slight variations. A quarter blanket could be used as a template too.
The Trace Clip—Imagine the height of the traces on a carriage when the horse is hooked up in harness. From below this point is clipped. There are variations. The underside of the neck may be partially clipped or the flank area may be followed as well. The hindquarters may or may not be clipped.
The Hunter Clip—This leaves a patch of hair for the saddle area to ensure the back is protected and the hair on the legs is left on for armor.
Groom your horse well before you clip. Dirt quickly dulls the blades and gums them up. Plus it can get you off course of the area to clip.
Hold your body clippers so the blade is parallel to your horses (pony / mules) skin and against the direction the hair lays. This is typically about a 45° angle.
Accustom your horse to clippers before you jump in. You may end up with a botched job if you do not take your time. Make sure your blades are sharp too. Your partner may express the displeasure of their skin being pulled by the dull portions.
Clean your clippers often with the little brush and oil them to keep them running smoothly.
Cold weather clipping can begin as early as September; do not take the last clip after January as the summer coat is coming in. Clipping from the Autumn Equinox to Winter Solstice is best.
If you opt not to clip make sure you properly cool your horse after a ride. You can use a cooler to help keep warmth in toward your sweaty partner while wicking away the moisture.