Body Clipping for In and Out of the Show Ring

Kristen Pierce of Centerline Equine Clipping, a Wellington, FL based professional clipper discusses her favorite type of clip that is a universal option for horses of all occupations, even those dealing with some health complications. 

Body Clipping for In and Out of the Show Ring

Body clipping isn’t only for horses in heavy work. Retired horses, cushingoid horses, those with allergies or other health complications such as anhidrosis all benefit from being clipped, too. These horses in particular may even need more coat maintenance than your Grand Prix jumper in order to keep them feeling as comfortable as possible or for keeping their symptoms at bay. 

Depending on the climate they live in, this will essentially determine what type of clip is best suited for them. Out of all the clip options there are to choose from, it can be overwhelming to figure out which type is the right choice for your horse.

A clip option that is an excellent type for all horses whether in show, moderate work, light work, or no work at all is a full body clip with blended legs. Removing the coat from nose to tail and from above the knees and hocks is perfect for those who are in work. For horses not in the show ring, this clip can be modified by leaving the coat on the face and ears, but of course tidying up the long hairs along the jawline and stray hairs from the inner ears. Blending the legs at the knees and hocks leaves the coat length on their lower limbs which primarily helps protect their skin from flies and other annoying insects. Trimming away any long hairs on the backside of the lower legs as well as just above the coronet band helps to keep the legs looking natural yet neat. 

Which Blade is Best?

Now, if your horse is turned out to pasture or only in light work, why would a full body clip be necessary? Keeping a short coat, especially at this time of year when horses are beginning to shed out will keep your daily grooming time to a minimum and keep your horse’s coat and skin healthy. With a longer coat length, the natural oils, sweat, mud, dirt and debris that your horse picks up when you’re not around ends up suffocating their skin, becoming dry, flaky and oftentimes resulting in fungus. For these horses, it is not necessary to use a #10 blade, which is the common show-clip length. A T-84 blade would be the best option for horses who are outside often, or who are taking a short break from the show ring. This blade will leave the coat length a little bit longer than a #10 to help protect from flies and also still offering some natural UV protection. If you are worried about bugs and over exposure to sunlight, there are plenty of solutions for this such as fly sprays, sunscreen sprays or fly/UV sheets. 

An example below is Dolce, a Paso Fino who is in light work with a full body clip and blended legs.

Before clipping, his coat growth here is moderate, but he has long hairs along the backside of his lower legs.

Photo by Kristen Pierce.

After clipping, his coat is healthier, has a more natural shine, and his lower legs are tidy and clean while still having some coat growth to protect him from insects and the sun.

Photo by Kristen Pierce.

Before and after the hind legs were blended just above the hocks, with the extra long hairs trimmed along the backside and coronet band for a neat, clean finish. 

Photo by Kristen Pierce.

When to Seek Professional Help

Leg blending is not for the beginner clipper. Clipping the legs in general, is also not for the beginner clipper. It’s a good idea to seek a professional for any type of clip involving the legs as the delicate structures of their limbs could be vulnerable to injury. Professional clippers know the ins and outs of clipping legs and other hard to clip areas. If your horse has never been clipped before or tends to be a little bit antsy, a clipper will know how to handle your horse in the most positive way possible. A knowledgeable clipper will know how to keep them comfortable with their equipment, ensuring an excellent clipping experience for your horse. If you are even the slightest bit doubtful, it is always best to hire a professional. They will ultimately have your horse looking brand new and show ring-ready in less time than you’d think, without track marks and with some of the highest quality equipment on the market.

About Kristen and Centerline Equine Clipping

Kristen Pierce is a professional clipper based in Wellington, Florida and the owner/operator of Centerline Equine Clipping.  Check out Kristen and Centerline Equine Clipping’s social media platforms for more grooming guidance, and contact her for your grooming needs.  Follow Centerline Equine Clipping on Facebook and Instagram

Photo by Ashley Zipperlen.