Be clipping perfect with expert tips from Nettex's brand ambassador and top show producer Lynn Russell, and Nettex clipping expert Serena Kidd.

Gear checklist

Before you start

  • Have all your equipment ready to go – see the Nettex gear checklist above.
  • Make sure you have the right blades for your horse’s coat. They come in different grades so coarse blades are best for woolly ponies and finer grade blades for thoroughbreds.
  • Bath your horse the day before with a conditioning shampoo, or if it’s very cold, wash over with Nettex Lavender No-Rinse Wash. When your horse is nearly dry, spray all over with Nettex Coat shine. This makes clipping easier, helps minimize tram lines and blades stay sharper for longer.
  • Wear overalls to save yourself from picking horsehair out of your underwear for the rest of the day.
  • If your horse hasn’t been clipped before, practice with him first by using mini clippers or an electric toothbrush. Keep him busy with a Nettex Supalyx Tasty Treat so he associates clipping with something tasty!
  • If he is still very unsure, try giving him a Nettex Calmer Syringe Paste Boost about an hour before you start. If even this doesn’t work, you may need to ask your vet to come and sedate him.
  • However safe and experienced your horse, you should have someone with you in case of emergency, to help with clipping tricky areas like around the legs and to share that bottle of wine when you finish.

The perfect clip

  • A hay net is useful initially, but when clipping around the head and neck it will need to be removed so your horse doesn’t move his head around and mess up your artwork.
  • Have a rug handy to cover clipped areas to prevent the back and quarters getting cold.
  • Run clippers and ensure tension has been set correctly for an even clip. Oil liberally.
  • When clipping check the blades are not getting too hot. This is done simply by touching the flat side of the blades against the palm of your hand.
  • Oil regularly to prevent placing stress on the clipper motor. Depending on type of coat this may need to be done at 10 minute intervals. Brush the hair away from the blades at the same time to prevent them clogging.
  • If you hear a difference in the running of the blades it is likely you need to re-oil and clean them.
  • If the blades start to snatch at the horse's coat it is likely they are starting to blunt so new blades will need to be used.

There are different types of horse clip and the style you choose is going to depend on various factors, including the type of work your horse is in, whether your horse is stabled, the extent to which your horse feels the cold, the types of rugs you have, and whether your horse has been clipped before.

Full Clip - this involves removing all the coat, including the head, ears and legs. You might consider a full clip if your horse is in hard work with no turnout during the winter, but be careful as a full clip leaves your horse with no protection from the elements, which necessitates careful stable management.

Blanket Clip - ideal for horses in medium work, the blanket clip takes hair from the areas prone to sweating, while leaving hair on the areas that aren't. This means your horse still has some warmth in places but doesn't sweat excessively during work.

Hunter Clip - this type of clip is suitable for horses in medium to hard work. The clip removes hair from most of the body, but leaves the legs and where the saddle sits. As with the full clip, careful stable management is needed throughout winter to ensure your horse doesn't get too cold.

Irish Clip - a very distinctive clip that removes hair from the areas that the horse sweats most, including around the neck, shoulders, armpits and belly. This is a quick and easy clip that is best for young horses and those in light work.

Bib Clip - the most basic clip involves removing a small section of hair from the front of the neck and chest. Some people like to extend this down so that it runs partially under the belly too, which is why it is often called the 'neck and belly clip.' It is perfect for horses in light work that are mostly turned out during the winter.

Finishing touches

  • When you’ve finished, use Nettex Lavender No-Rinse Wash to wash away hairs and prevent itching.
  • Rug your horse with a fleece or cooler until dry.
  • When dry, remove the rug and spray your horse all over with Nettex Coat Shine.
  • Brush with a soft brush and you should end up with one shiny clipped out ned!

If you have any questions on clipping, don't hesitate to get in touch! Feel free to comment below with any advice for our other readers.

Written by: Hannah