Horse Showing

Bridle Path 101

November 12, 2008

With a little practice, patience and good advice, you can show clip your horse’s bridle path.

By Christine Hamilton

There are many reasons why a horse can be difficult to clip:

He might be sensitive to the feel or to his head being touched; he might be genuinely afraid from a previous bad experience or abuse; or maybe he’s a newcomer to the process and needs some time to get used to it.

As a trainer of halter horses, AQHA Professional Horseman Randy Jacobs of Dover, Ohio, knows a lot about clipping horses.

Here is his tried-and-true advice on setting yourself up for clipping success, even if that’s not what your horse has in mind.

  • A safe place to clip. You want the area clear, nothing around that your horse can get into trouble with. And the lighting must be good. Choose a quiet area, out of traffic, not in the middle of an aisleway. At a horse show, you should do it in a stall.
  • The right horse clippers. Randy recommends an adjustable set that allows you to adjust the blade to cut different hair lengths. You also want to buy the quietest set you can find. Jacobs has an additional smaller set just to use in the ears; those are especially helpful in clipping foal ears.
  • Sharp blades. “Don’t use dull blades,” Randy advises. “When you’re clipping real fine baby hair, they’ll dull in a hurry.” He also recommends having blades sharpened only once.
  • A clean horse. One of the biggest mistakes Randy sees people make is to clip a dirty horse. “That will kill blades in a hurry,” he says. That doesn’t mean your horse needs a full-blown bath, just wash whatever you plan to clip.
  • Horse clipping assistance. “I don’t recommend anyone clipping a horse by themselves without anyone else around,” Randy says. “You never know what can happen to you and your horse. Usually, we have a helper to hold the horse, especially with our babies.”

Get more helpful showing tips with AQHA’s Beginner’s Guide to Showing report. You’ll learn how to prepare for a show and how to find the best trainers to help you. You’ll get horse grooming tips and fashion advice, as well as tips on being a good sport.

As the World Turns

Check out the latest on the 2008 AQHA World Championship Show, taking place right now in Oklahoma City. Numerous world champions have already been crowned in some of the most popular events, including these amateur classes: barrel racing, horsemanship, pleasure driving, showmanship, cutting, working cow horse, ranch sorting, heading, heeling, team penning, western pleasure and many halter classes!

Much more excitement is still to come. Stay on top of the latest World Show news, brought to you by The American Quarter Horse Journal.

Better yet, make a trip to Oklahoma City to see the world’s most talented Quarter Horses in action!

General admittance tickets are available for $7 and reserved seating for $10. For more information about purchasing tickets through State Fair Park, contact OK Tickets at (405) 948-6827, or click here. For individual box seat sales, call (405) 948-6807.

The AQHA Beginner’s Guide to Showing offers advice on how to find a good show horse and how to negotiate the purchase. You’ll learn about saddle fitting, legal medications, ways to keep your horse’s locks luscious, and much more. Download your copy today!