Horse Showing

Wooly Horse Hair Clipping

December 18, 2013

Learn to clip your horse’s white legs for horse showing.

Start with a larger blade and fade to prevent abrupt clipping lines. Journal photo.

Start with a larger blade and gradually fade to prevent abrupt clipping lines. Journal photo.

By AQHA Professional Horsewoman Margo Ball with Christine Hamilton in The American Quarter Horse Journal

When I’m judging, especially early in the show season, I see a lot of horses clipped so they have a noticeable clip line where the white hair stops. But you can blend that hair so there is no ugly, distracting clip line.

Remember: Make sure that the hair is clean before you clip. It saves your clippers and you get a better cut.

Where to Start

I start with a No. 10 blade on a thicker winter coat. You can always work your way down to a finer blade size, blending as you go, but you can’t start too fine and take it back.

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As they get their summer coat, you keep moving up to larger numbers (smaller sizes) on your blades. When the horse has a little bit more hair on their leg; the longer it is, the trickier it is to blend the hair. The key is to clip lightly with long, smooth strokes.

I start high on the leg and go down the back of the leg, clipping the longer hairs. I’ll also take all the long hair off at the back his fetlock and pastern.

Then I move to the front of the pastern, clipping up, starting at the coronet.

You don’t want a noticeable clip line where the white hair ends and the dark hair begins. I clip the white hair pretty closely, but as I reach the dark hair, I blend. I do that by angling the clippers away with just a slight twist up with my wrist as I reach the dark hair. You want to clip the white hair close but not too closely.

Personally, I don’t like to clip the white legs so that it looks pink; the hair is there for protection. You clip close because it’s easier to keep clean if you get a spot or a stain on the white.

Then I go back over the whole leg, front and back with a No. 15 blade. I turn the clippers over and get all those longer winter hairs with long, light strokes. I am careful to blend the hair where it goes from white to black. I focus on the front because any clip line would be more noticeable there.

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Where the hair is blended, it should feel pretty even, just a gradual thickening of the hair as you run your hand from the pastern up the fetlock and onto the leg.

I clip carefully around any small scars. And, before I go into the show ring, I’ll use a little touch-up spray to make that scar less noticeable in the shorter hair.

Brush any hair off; use your hand or a rag to cover the coronet, and spray the area lightly. You can go back with a towel and blend it better into the hair. If you do get some on the hoof or your hands, a little alcohol will take it right off. Be sure to do this before you put on any hoof polish.

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