Your Horses Natural Protection from the Elements

Your horses natural coat is a weatherproof barrier from the elements and Native Breeds left to their own devices can and do live out happily all winter without any need for rugging in even the harshest of storms.

As seasonal change bringing with it longer nights and shorter days, so they will grow new thicker winter coats and shed their summer ones, and when the spring comes, the winter coats will be shed for a fine summer coat to help them cope with the heat of the summer months.

Nature equipped horses well for the climate they live in where they evolved, but now people keep all types of horses all over the world, and as such they may need a bit of help to cope with a hostile climate or the demands which domesticity brings to them.

Keeping Horses Unclipped

If you keep your horse unclipped, then resist the temptation to wash the mud from its coat and legs as you will also wash the natural oils in the coat away which waterproof the hair and keep the skin underneath dry.  Washing substantially raises the risk of an attack of mud fever, especially if your horse has areas of pink skin on its legs which is much more prone to infection from the bacteria which cause this condition. It is a much safer practice to wait for the mud to dry properly and then brush it off.

Why Clip ?

People clip their horses coats to make them more comfortable when in work as it helps to stop them overheating. If after being worked you throw a rug over a sweaty horse which has a heavy winter coat, then you risk giving your horse a chill. Clipping is done to ease the load of stable management for owners in the winter when the days are short and daylight hours are at a premium, as horses dry off much quicker without a long coat to trap the sweat, and thus enabling then to be rugged and turned out or put to bed much sooner. It is also its common practice for eventers and competition horses to be clipped in the summer if they have thick coats and struggle with the heat in competition (as does our pony Jessie).

Other instances where an owner may want to clip are when their Horse is afflicted with 'Cushings Syndrome' (which will also make them prone to Laminitis) as they develop a very heavy coat all year round - which must be unbearable for them in the height of summer.

Drawbacks of Clipping

Come the winter, you will have to keep a close eye on the weather forecasts, and if fully clipping them out, will need to have different weight rugs to suit the temperature. Many people will use multiple thinner rugs and build up the layers of protection, even using a stable rug under a turnout rug in times of hard frost, but they can slip over each other, can cause rug rubs and will need to be swapped and changed daily to avoid your horse overheating. You can buy bibs which go underneath the rugs to help protect your horse from these rubs, We use them on our horses and they do seem to help.

If you clip in the summer, and your horse is turned out, you will need to use a summer sheet overnight if the temperature drops, and also with pink skin, there is a risk of sunburn in these areas, so this will also need to be considered.

The trick is to only use the bare minimum clipping style to suit your horses workload. It may look good to have a fully clipped out horse or pony, but if you cannot keep your horse warm by rugging and stabling it properly, it will spend its days and nights shivering its condition off, which at best will increase your feed bill, and at worst be could put their health at risk.

Q. How can Stencilbum clipping templates work with the clipping style I chose ?

A. All Stencilbum custom clipping templates are designed to take a minimum amount of hair off in the area of application (patent pending). As long as the hair is long enough them to stick, you will achieve a result.

Types of Clip

 When deciding what style to clip, the things to consider are workload, the weight (warmth) and coverage of turnout rugs and climate.  The clipping styles shown below are recognized as the most common, but many owners will use artistic license to suit the build of their horses.

Belly & Neck Clip

 It is trimmed from under the belly upwards between the forelegs and along the lower line of the neck and lower jaw. You would usually clip this style for a childís pony or an adultís hack as it allows the horse to be turned out into a field but also the horse can to do some work without getting overly hot. A Variation to this is also known as a 'Bib' clip is where the hair is just clipped around the underside of the neck and down between the front legs,


Chaser Clip

This clipping style and variations of it is often seen in thoroughbred yards where the horse is likely to kick or who's history is unknown.

The hair is removed from under the belly upwards between and around the front legs and up a line on the neck, (dependent on how high you require the line to be).  It is useful on a nervous horse, which is being clipped for the first time as it does not take as long as the others to achieve the desired result.


Trace Clip

These are clipped in two styles, namely the high and the low trace clip. The coat is removed from the belly and the underside of the neck. Leaving the Hair on the head, the topside of the neck, body and legs for warmth and protection. When doing a low trace, only a small section of hair is removed from the belly and neck, whereas  a high trace takes more hair from these areas going further up the horse's flank. The trace clip evolved for carriage driving horses and would follow the lines of harness traces on the underside of the neck and belly, but still remains popular for riding horses.


Blanket Clip

The next progression in clipping from the trace clip, this type well suits a horse which is regularly exercised, but is left turned-out in the field and does various events at the weekends. The coat is clipped completely from the head, neck and flanks, leaving only an area of hair that looks like an exercise sheet over the back and hindquarters and on the legs. The hair on the legs is left mainly for warmth and protection from the elements.

This clip allows horses to be exercised without getting too hot. It also allows them to continue being turned out in the winter with a New Zealand type rug. You would likely use this as a compromise for a horse  which cannot have a hunter clip and kept at grass. The trace clip evolved was often used on carriage horses and follows the lines of harness traces on the underside of the neck and belly, but remains popular for riding horses.


Hunter Clip

The legs as far as the elbows and thighs, and a saddle-patch are left unclipped with this style. The hair on the legs acts as a protection against the cold, mud, cracked heels and injury from thorns, however they can be carefully trimmed and the saddle-patch saves a sore or scalded back.

Care must be taken when clipping around the saddle-patch; if it is too far forward the horse will look short in the shoulder and long is the back. If however it is cut straight behind the shoulder and allowed to come slightly back behind the saddle it will improve the appearance of the horse. This clip is often used on a horse, which is in hard work. Care must be taken to protect your horse from the elements with this type of clip. It is only recommended for hard worked horses.



Full Clip

This is usually applies to competition horses that compete in the winter months. The whole of the coat is removed, including body, legs and head. This clip requires careful stable management. Horses with a full clip need to be rugged up at all times and may need to wear stable bandages to help maintain warmth during the very cold months. These should be applied carefully and evenly, not too tight but must be secure to stop them coming off and becoming tangled possibly causing injury to the horse. Keep spare rugs to hand as your horse is naked with this clipping style and must be carefully managed,  just in case your main rugs becomes unusable or requires repair. Care must be taken to protect your horse from the elements with this type of clip. It is only recommended for hard worked horses.


Notice !

Whilst every care has been take to ensure the accuracy of the information given both in the written text and pictures created, neither StencilBum nor any of its staff can accept any responsibly of any type for injury or damage inflicted by or caused to persons or animals by any operator or a third party who has made reference to this web site.

Owner/Operators of all such appliance should satisfy themselves as to the accuracy of any statements made, and if they are unsure on any point consult the manufacturer direct.


Copyright © 2006 Stencilbum
Last modified: 01/17/10