Clipping – Preparation is key

Whether you love clipping or hate it, being prepared is the best way to make it go smoothly and end with a neat and tidy finish.

It’s that time of year when the clipper blades are getting sharpened and most horse owners are digging out their clipper overalls. Given that as we write this it’s only October, it can feel like we have months of clipping and re-clipping ahead of us so it pays both financially and time-wise to make the whole process as easy as possible.

Our clipping clinics at LLEP are always busy. Designed to provide a service to horse owners who have particularly difficult horses to clip we know just how important it is to make sure the preparation before getting started, is spot on.

Sharp blades

Blunt blades tug at the hair and can cause the clippers to overheat – not only is this really uncomfortable for the horse but you will be left with lines all over your newly clipped horse. You also risk damaging your clippers which can be very costly so make sure you have plenty of sharp blades before clipping season starts.

Service your clippers

Always get your clippers serviced annually, there is nothing worse than getting halfway through a clip and the clippers give up. Not only that, if they go bang in a big way, your horse can get a fright and that is not what anyone wants.

Oil and blade wash

Have plenty of clipper oil and blade wash at the ready. If you are skimping on either of these because you forgot to order some more, you run the risk of your blades blunting too quickly or the clippers overheating. We love the Wolesley blade wash and clipper oil.

Don't clip a dirty horse

Dirty horses is something that we see all the time at our clipping clinics. Mud, dust and scurf embedded in the coats causes tugging of the hair and excess heat of the blades. It blunts the blades and can often break the teeth of the blades. It is not uncommon for us to use four blades just to clip one dirty horse which costs money.

On top of that the horses that we are clipping are all at our clipping clinics for a reason, they are either extremely nervous or occasionally just naughty! Given a nice, gentle clipping experience we believe all horses can accept being clipped, so why do we as owners, create a situation where we are going to make the whole thing miserable for them!

Many of us are time poor and especially if you are clipping a horse that has been sedated, the time it takes to clip is essential. Clipping a dirty, sweaty horse takes a lot more time than a clean one

Want a Perfect Clip? Preparation is Key


Bath the horse the day before you plan to clip – if you can’t bath them get stuck in with a rubber curry comb and a bit of old fashioned elbow grease


Hot Clothing – this is a fantastic method to remove dirt grease and gives them a really deep clean. You will need:

  • Two buckets with water as hot as you can bare
  • Some Dettol, Baby Oil or a specific hot oil product – we love Supershine from Smart Grooming or the Sharpley’s Hot Oil
  • A flannel or microfibre cloth

Put a tiny amount of the product you are using into one of the buckets, dunk your flannel in and wring out any excess water. Rub your horse all over including going against the hair to make sure you get right down to the skin. Regularly rinse out your flannel in the second bucket of clean water before dipping back into your hot wash.

Top Tip – Hot clothing is fantastic after clipping as well to remove any excess grease, oil from the clippers and loose hair