Teach Me:
Clipping your Horse

01 March 2018

Don't let the cold stop you from clipping your horse's coat

In the first part of our new video series, trainer and former 3-star event rider Venetia Chamberlen offers her expert advice on clipping, explaining how and when to do it and why it is so important in the winter.



The Beast from the East has led to freezing weather across Europe this week, with the Siberian snowstorm leading to several inches of snow and treacherous conditions. While winter may be a time that many of us wish to wrap up, it’s still so important that working horses have their hair trimmed to keep them healthy and in good condition.


In this video, Venetia takes the clippers to her horse "Possible Mission", explaining that the 3-star eventer has just returned from a break...

"I need to clip his hair off now or otherwise he’ll get sweaty"

“He’s just come in from his holiday and has grown a nice thick coat,” she says. “He’s been back in work for three weeks and has needed his coat to keep him warm in the cold weather. He’s now about to start trotting and in three weeks’ time he’ll start cantering and then jumping. I need to clip his hair off now or otherwise he’ll get sweaty.”


While Perfect Mission is about to start working hard for the season, it’s important that horse owners consider the needs and requirements of their animal. Before firing up the clippers, think carefully about how much hair you need to remove. Take your horse’s workload, lifestyle and age into consideration.


Venetia adds: “For a horse that’s just hacking they may not need a full clip. It may just have a trace clip if it’s not doing much work.”



What clip does your horse need?

A NECK AND BELLY CLIP: This is an underside trim which is ideal for the horse in light work who is turned out.


LOW OR HIGH TRACE CLIP: A cut that is suitable for animals in light or medium work, it follows straight horizontal lines along the horse’s body. A higher trace can include the whole or part of the head.


HUNTER CLIP: Worth considering for the horse in light or medium work, it is a variation of the full clip, but with leg and saddle patch hair. A higher trace can include the whole or part of the head.


BLANKET CLIP: This offers warmth over the back but allows cooling during and after harder exercise.


FULL CLIP: For the horse in hard work, this is when the whole coat is taken off. It is essential that horses that have been given a full clip are kept warm, especially at night.

"They're happier
horses for it"

Many may fear the impact of leaving their animal with no coat in the winter, but Venetia maintains that clipping is essential, and that blankets can help them beat the cold. 


“I have layers of rugs of all different thicknesses and I’ll put them on whichever thickness is required or layer up,” she says. “They’re much better off walking around in the field and happier horses for it.”


To learn more, sign-up for FEI Campus, a free e-learning platform full of certified content about horses, how to take care of them and much more!​



Text by Richard Mulligan