Equestrian Confessions – Body Clipping

Equestrian Confessions – Body Clipping

I know it’s the time of the year to complain about body clipping and horse hair everywhere and how much of a colossal pain in the ass it is, but I have a confession.

I like body clipping.


Now that confession comes with some clarifications. I like body clipping my horse. I like body clipping my horse when he’s not over the experience and refuses to stand still for legs & face.  But even with those two caveats, this is not a chore I dread.

There’s something about clipping that is peaceful to me. My clippers aren’t the giant industrial size ones, and they make a quiet hum in my hand. I like burying my fingers in his fluffy, clean winter hair and then brushing it away as I glide the clippers over the curve of his back. When I clip, I feel like I’m unwrapping a present with each swipe of the blades. What I’ll find underneath the winter fuzz is a bit of a mystery when I get started.


Of course sometimes it’s fungus. I never said all presents were amazing.

It’s an added bonus that Simon is usually a perfect gentlemen for clipping. He tends to get impatient towards the end when I save legs for last, but otherwise will stand rock solid while I go over all the tickle spots. Since he’s a good guy, I try to reward him for his patience by lots of cookies and scratches while I work. There’s no universe where I can clip Simon’s ears without a giant battle, but I try to make the rest of clipping a positive experience for everyone.


Naked horses, clean blankets and crisp smelling air are some of my favorite things heading into winter. Normally I am driven forward this time of year by excited notions of Christmas and our favorite year end show in late November. This year I am not excited by the holidays, but still take pleasure in the simple acts of getting my horse ready to go just in case.


I joke that Simon is the most stable relationship in my life right now, but it’s true. There’s comfort and familiarity in the routine – horse hair in your bra and all.

24 thoughts on “Equestrian Confessions – Body Clipping

  1. I really wish Val was more patient about body clipping. He gets so hairy and I love a nice, clipped horse, but he’s kind of a jerk about it, and since he lives out it doesn’t really make sense. Simon looks so nice though!

  2. I’ve never body clipped (I don’t ride much in the winter and my guys are field kept) so I don’t know if I’d like, but generally I enjoy any job with a visual measurable difference afterwards, so I’m thinking this wouldn’t be too bad. This post has a couple great one liners by the way. I laughed at the fungus reference and horse hair in your bra. lol

  3. My horse stands like a statue for clipping and I too find it very relaxing and zen. Love being alone in a quiet barn just clipping in nice big strokes.

  4. I like body clipping, too! Gina is excellent for it. And I love how easy it is to groom her when she’s body clipped! (Way easier than poor unclipped Moe, who is a mess of mud and matted hair every time I see him.)

  5. One I stopped showing, I only clipped my horses when they started shedding in the spring. I was allergic to the loose hair so it was necessary for me to do it then. I LOVED clipping horses. I was planning to clip Termite the day before his birthday this year, but had to have him euthanized the day before that (age 33 … I went out to give him a noonday snack, and he was down in the pasture and unable to get back up).

    Due to health issues I’m not getting another horse now, and maybe never. I so miss clipping.

    I also used to clip horses for others who showed or just wanted them to look spiffy. Fun IF, and only if, they actually got the horsers bathed as thoroughly as I required.

  6. Clipping is one of my most favorite things on the entire planet. I must have a sickness. My mare, who is such a twit about some things, stands for an entire body clip… no tranq… just stands. It’s amazing. I clipped about a month ago and I’m already twitching to do it again.

  7. Yup, I got the fungus present this year! But I agree, I don’t mind clipping. I don’t like the scratchy hair feeling afterwards but that’s what a nice hot shower is for!

  8. I’ve never done a full body clip but I do love the little pieces that I do with Tris. It’s a chore – like vacuuming or doing the dishes – where there is a clearly defined difference from point A to point B, and you can sort of zone out while doing it.

  9. I rarely clip my horses, but I totally GET this post because… wait for it… I find giving lion cuts to cats therapeutic (given that the cats are sedated first). It’s something the vet I work for and other techs dread, but I just peacefully go along, methodically removing matted hair until the kitty looks brand new (and slightly ridiculous).

  10. I enjoy clipping my horse too. He’s actually clipped 3-4x a year. He also get impatient when i get to legs/face so I often save those for the next day. I think he prefers the 2 day process. I have Lister Stars which aren’t giant and i end up going over his whole body in with my small wahls to smooth clip lines to perfection – also good for the bony parts. I’m also glad it’s a skill I have learned for myself and don’t need to rely on anyone 🙂

  11. My allergies are all “NO MORE BODY CLIPPING FOR YOU!!!!” So I have hired the job out the last two years. But when I used to do it, I did body one day and legs the next (or sometimes vice versa). My boys seemed to appreciate it. Probably because I take forever.
    Your boy looks fantastic, you did a great job! I always needed a few days before photos 😉

    1. Have you tried clipping while wearing a surgical mask, long sleeved tightly-woven cotton shirts, etc? With my allergies, I had to do this, but it was well-worth it. I couldn’t afford to have someone else do it, plus I really loved clipping. 🙂

  12. I don’t hate it but I don’t love it either. It’s much more affordable to clip him myself so I’ll keep doing it and hope that I to learn to love it. Also ears are awful!

  13. I’ve always wanted to learn how to clip my horse. I did do her legs for the first time this summer. I’m sure it’s somewhat like mowing the lawn…instant gratification. You can stand back at the end and say “look what a difference I made”.

  14. I always go into clipping thinking about how much I love it, and then about halfway through I remember that I really don’t. I do love the finished product though!

  15. My first clipping experience also revealed to me that I kinda enjoy it!! I’m glad Simon is such a gentleman! Next year he will have to get an appropriately-nerdy quartermark. 🙂

  16. I love body clipping! I’ve gotten to where I can do a horse the size of yours, start to finish in about 2 hours including breaks. There’s a trick to doing the ears on horses who don’t like having it done. My daughters pony was a total shrew at it. As in she had to be twitched, eared down and you had better work fast because she was determined everyone involved must die! She was totally convinced her little 10 hand self was the one to take you out too. The last time I did her ears, she wasn’t a total angel, but she wasn’t a Hells Angel either. Win!

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