I’ve been riding since I was 13… it’s been about 18 years now since I took my first (western) riding lesson on a horse named “Windbreaker” back home in Pennsylvania. Over the years, I’ve owned 10 horses, leased about 6 or so, ridden probably close to if not over 100, used to do a lot of exercising work at large barns, keeping school ponies & horses in shape or working sale horses or riding other boarder’s horses for them while they were out of town. I did a lot of showing. My first horse show was back in 1998, w/t under saddle. From there I went up to w/t/c and then long stirrup, which included some small crossrails. Eventually I showed hunters and schooled at home through 3’6″. I used to love being at horse shows… Well, I STILL do 🙂
And despite all the time I’ve spent over the last 12 years at horse shows— I never quite got the braiding down, ever. I guess mostly I kept my horse’s manes too short to braid. And I never got the whole braiding the tail thing. I’m trying to learn, but I have a braiding brain block.. LOL. (Say that 3 times real fast).
One other thing I NEVER DID, was do any type of body clipping of a horse. NEVER, not once. I never had my horses clipped in the summer, and I only ever clipped their muzzles, chins, and fetlocks and bridle paths.
Well, now adays since I’m mostly living horseless in my life… I do have an abundance of ponies, though. (LOL.) Two ponies can be an abundance, right?
Anyway, a few weeks ago my husband and I took our annual trip to the Midwest horse fair and I purchased body clippers. They’re nice. I got sold on a smaller, handheld set, instead of the monster shearers that take 2 hands, most of your shoulders and all of your upper body to support. LOL. So, I got these really nice clippers and then waited for the weather to warm up enough to shear my ponies naked !!
Dixie the mini grows such a thick winter coat that it takes until June to shed completely. Luke the hackney gets a “normal” coat, no different than any other horse, but I figured since I have the clippers, I’ll clip him too.
So, last Sunday, the weather finally turned super hot.. the temps went to 90 and after 4 weeks of waiting to body clip, I read some tips, watched a video and headed to the barn.
2 years ago, my husband, borrowing the big shearers from the owner of a barn where were at back then, clipped the mini. He left “carpet marks” throughout her coat and had long strands of hair still hanging in some areas, like under belly. He didn’t clip her legs, and then he decided to buzz off her mane, so he clipped 1/2 of it and left the other side of the mane intact. She looked awful. My husband also took off the hackney’s forelock that year and I’m still waiting for that to grow back satisfactorily. So…. the husband is now banned from using any type of cutting instrument anywhere near either pony 🙂 LOL.
I love keeping my horses show-ring worthy, even if they’re not showing. I never let my horses’ manes get out of control, always keep their faces clipped, and then I do a spring “spruce up” that usually involves clipping feathering on their legs and things like that. I never clip ears. But when my husband took it too literally a few years ago and cut manes OFF, I told him never to touch the grooming supplies again. LOL.
So, after reading my manuals, watching my DVD and reviewing clipping pointer fact sheets I picked up at the fair, I headed out to the barn in the 90 degree heat. Clip against the hair growth in small short strokes and overlap each stroke so you don’t leave long hairs. That was about the gist of it basically. It took an hour, in which Dixie stood actually pretty darned well. After about 45 minutes she got bored and started getting ansy, so I did have to fight with her a little for 20 more minutes just to finish a few areas.
She looks great! I was very proud of myself with my first body clip. I figured I’d use the mini as a Guinea Pig because if I screwed her up, at least she doesn’t show, so it didn’t matter. But she looks terrific. I even clipped her whole face, her legs, under her belly, everything. She’s totally naked now and she looks awesome.
It’s actually kind of hard to tell in pictures that she’s body clipped, I guess… but if you compare these pictures to ones of her earlier this month, then it’s pretty obvious, I guess. I’ve put up two pictures of her from early May for comparison!!
And then, after the hour I spent clipping Dixie, I gave the clippers a slight break, some oil, and cleaned them up for pookey pony….
Now, since Luke shows & doesn’t get a hairy coat I didn’t want to body clip him.. Otherwise, I think come winter, he won’t be hairy enough to stay warm (he’s pasture boarded – outside all the time no matter what). So, I decided to do a high trace clip. Maybe this was something risky because I’ve only just a few minutes beforehand finished doing my first body clip ever. The trace clip would be harder…. more like drawing, and I SUCK at drawing! LOL.
So I got Lukey all cleaned up and took some chalk and drew my lines on him. I tried my best to stay even on both sides, which was basically impossible, I think. But all in all, it looks good. He took a little longer to do, and he was really getting impatient by the time he was on crossties for almost an hour and half. I still have a little minor trimming to do, but I figure I could just do that the next time he needs to go anywhere. Which – since I’m not going to press the showing issue with the husband – could be never.
So anyway, here’s my first high trace clip ever. Luke has a racing stripe, LOL. He’s streamlined and more aerodynamic, so he goes faster now 🙂 Just kidding.. but he sure does look sexy with his high knee action when he runs around the arena! He’s a great pony and so much fun to watch move!!