First clip advice

laura_nash

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Hi All

I'm about to clip my horse for the first time (my first time clipping, not his being clipped) and looking for any advice.

I have a second-hand pair of liveryman arena's and am planning on buying a second pair of blades before starting. Horse is a woolly yak, but happy hacker only so don't mind if I have to do him in two stages or not the tidiest job. I want to take off the whole body but leave head and legs.

Luckily my horse loves being clipped (usually dozes off) so no problems there.

I've read up on it and I gather blade tensioning is a big issue. Then its just brushing and oiling regularly and checking they don't get too hot. Anything else to remember to do or not do for a total newbie? I've bought an extension lead with a breaker.

Getting him clean will be a problem as I don't have access to a stable and he will get too hot in a rug, can I clip him dirty (providing he's dry and mud brushed off)?

Thanks
 

Auslander

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I'd recommend getting someone who knows how to clip to help/show you! It's a skill that needs to be taught, just the same way any practical skill needs to be taught. Horses used to be so much better clipped when the world and his wife weren't able to go out, buy a set of clippers and go at their horse with no idea what they're doing! Rant over...

Most importantly for the horse - take care to hold any wrinkly bits taut before clipping them, and take great care round the soft skin if the stifles - it's very easy to cut a horse there.

My biggest bugbear when it comes to clippping is leg lines that don't follow the muscle line of the leg, and horrible edges on blanket/trace clips. Before you even turn the clipper on, stand back and look at your horse, and decide where you are going to clip - then draw the lines on him with lipstick/saddle soap/liquid chalk.

Clipping well takes skill and practice,so don't be disappointed if your first effort isn't very good
 

_OC_

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That would be telling!
Please make sure you get the right blades for the job.....nothing more frustrating than getting starting and to find you have brought fine blades which would not cut....this happened to me a lot of years ago.....though did find them handy to have when asked to clip a TB.....I would also wear your hard hat just as a precaution and have another person there....really handy for holding legs up.I have learnt to listen to the noise of my clippers and know when they don't sound right. A really clean horse will give you a much better clip ,so I would use some elbow grease and give a really good brush. Just for the record I did my cob as a full clip last week ,thought I had selected the newly sharpened ones,to find that it was a set due for sharpening ....had to come home and get the ones that had be done.....I will get one set sharpened three times before I dispose of them......Good Luck and stay calm when clipping is my tip :)
 

Catherine94

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I was taught to clip by being handed a pair of clippers and being told to get on with it :) A few things to remember are to clip against the lay of the hair, always keep the blades flat against the horse and overlap by a few cm each stroke to avoid clip lines. Use long strokes and take your time. I'd also recommend wearing something like overalls to keep the hair off your clothes as it can be a nightmare to get rid of. Regarding him being clean, he doesn't need to be immaculate but there mustn't be any clumps of mud as they will damage/blunt the blades. Good luck :)
 

Kezzabell2

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my tip is to make you sections as long as possible! like do one long line all the way up his neck! if you doing them in small strokes it can look really rubbish and patchy!!

Stop every 10 mins and brush the hair off the clippers and re-oil!! I've had my clippers for 10 or more years and they are still going strong, I think this is because I've always oiled and cleaned them!

I tend to put the wire over my shoulder, so there is no chance of the horse stepping on it!

I too have liveryman clippers, can't remember if they are arena or not! but the tension that works best for my blades is, tighten them as much as you can, then do 2 and a half full turns backwards, they might need a little more or less but usually that works well for me :)

Give yourself plenty of time and wear something that you don't mind getting hairy in! a hat/cap is usually a good call to keep your hair clean
 

Micropony

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At the risk of stating the obvious, get mane and tail out of the way before you start to avoid any accidents! I plait up both and then put on the tail guard I use for travelling.
And wearing your riding hat is definitely good advice!
 

Fiona

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You definitely need a helper, even if its only for 10 minutes to do round your horses elbows as front legs need to be pulled out.

Oil and remove hair from blades and air filters every 10 min at least..

Use proper clipper oil.

Best of luck..

Fiona
 

Orca

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...

My biggest bugbear when it comes to clippping is leg lines that don't follow the muscle line of the leg, and horrible edges on blanket/trace clips. Before you even turn the clipper on, stand back and look at your horse, and decide where you are going to clip - then draw the lines on him with lipstick/saddle soap/liquid chalk....
This! I've seen so many leg lines where they shouldn't be, that I actually thought a new clip must have been developed since I was involved with horses. Definitely best to mark your outline and make sure your horse is standing square when you do. Just allow plenty of time and you'll be fine. Expect your first few clips to take a lot longer than expected.
 

Sparkeyboy

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I was taught to clip by being handed a pair of clippers and being told to get on with it :) A few things to remember are to clip against the lay of the hair, always keep the blades flat against the horse and overlap by a few cm each stroke to avoid clip lines. Use long strokes and take your time. I'd also recommend wearing something like overalls to keep the hair off your clothes as it can be a nightmare to get rid of. Regarding him being clean, he doesn't need to be immaculate but there mustn't be any clumps of mud as they will damage/blunt the blades. Good luck :)
I second this. It is helpful to have a helper, even with a quiet horse as they can pull the front leg forward so you can do the difficult bits. Any wrinkly areas pull the skin taught before clipping so you don't cut him. People recommend drawing chalk lines onto the coat so you have a guide to follow but still to this day I can't get chalk to stick to their coats! So i use duck tape and use that as an outline and clip below it, you get lovely straight lines. You can de-stickify it by sticking it to your clothes first.

Also, watch for the clippers getting warm. If he's good at being clipped try and do his face early on as the clippers will still be cool. You can test them by placing the back of the clipper (where the blades usual screw in) on the back of your hand and see how warm they are.

Don't try and do too much for your first time, you can always go back and take more off :)
 

Merlod

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Defo need a second pair of blades so you can just change them when they get hot instead of having to stop and wait!

Personally I wouldn't clip through mud, give your horse a good groom the night before, hot towelling and douse in mane and tail, then put a lightweight on. I'm sure he won't die from one night with a rug on, it will honestly make your life so much easier having a clean horse to clip..

Tensioning is very straightfoward - just check the manual as I think it differs between brands/ models of clipper.

My horse used to be difficult to clip due to a bad past experience with a horrible clipper lady (which I won't go into) but he is very good now, and even though he is good I always clip his head the day after because I know it would make him nervy doing it first and by the time i've done everywhere else he's getting bored and it's just better to do it the next day (along with tidy ups) when the clippers are cold.
 
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It is important to use an RCD/circuit breaker on the socket into which the clippers are plugged, for safety, just in case the horse steps on the cable or you accidentally catch the cable with the clipper blades; the RCD would stop you getting electrocuted.
 

laura_nash

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Thanks for all the replies, lots of helpful tips.

I hadn't thought about a helper for holding the front legs so will have to have a chat with OH. We have some "pavement chalks" that OH uses for drawing on walls etc, so I'll see if they draw on him for the lines, he also has a chalk line (string covered in chalk powder) that might work if not.
 

HashRouge

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I'm another that learnt to clip by being given a pair of clippers and told to get on with it, on a very difficult to clip horse *sigh*. I was an SJ groom, so had to do a nice job, too!

A lot of the essentials have already been mentioned, but I'd add that if you can't get chalk to show on the coat (I never can) then simply start your lines lower than you want them, then gradually take more hair off. Or higher than you want them, in the case of the legs. Also, try to do your lines in one go, or as much as possible, as they will be straighter.

The horse doesn't need to be spotless (I've never seen the need for bathing before clipping) but just make sure you have given a good brush over beforehand. The trick about putting the wire over your shoulder is a good one, I feel much better knowing it is out of the way!

I love clipping, it's actually really easy once you get used to it :)
 
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