Which clip is right for my horse?

Autumn is here! Horses and ponies are getting that little bit fluffier!  Traditionally it is time to start to clip now as our horses coats change ready for the colder months ahead. But what type of clip is suitable?  Selwood Equine have put together a handy blog about the types of clip you can give your horse and what work load level each type is best suited to.

Why clip?

Horses coats change with the seasons.  They grow thick coats in preparation for the colder winter months and their skin produces more grease in winter too. The extra grease produced helps protect them against the wet and cold weather that winter brings. These changes in their coats are ideal for keeping horses naturally warm and protected against the elements.  However, our domesticated riding and competition horses find work difficult and even unhealthy if they carry a thicker coat and are worked regularly to the point of sweating.

In order to minimise sweating and to help horses dry off and cool more effectively, we clip their coats off and then replace the lost coat with rugs as required.  Clipping will prevent your horse from catching a chill.  Clipping a horse will make him look very smart and it will also make your grooming time and routine much easier.  Horses that compete or ones that remain in work throughout the winter months benefit therefore from being clipped.


Full – this is where everything comes off. The body, legs, head, face and ears.

Hunter – The legs, half the face, the ears and a saddle patch are left on.

Blanket – The legs, half the face, the ears, and the coat over the back down the horses sides and over the quarters is left on.

Bib or Neck & Belly – removes the hair from the front of the neck and chest, sometimes the clip is continued under the belly to the girth position

Trace – the trace clip is similar to the chaser clip but it leaves most of the hair on the head and only half the neck is removed, again the legs are left on.

Irish – removes the hair from around the neck and armpits.  Some people clip the head and create a line from the poll to the point of the stifle. Leaving the hindquarters, hind legs and forelegs with hair.

When to clip?

Most horses are clipped in September or October, but depending on the amount of work you do with your horse and the breed of your horse will depend on when you will clip.  Some competition horses are clipped all year round if their work load requires it.

Which one is right for my horse?

It is important to think about the amount of work that your horse will be doing during the winter months.  Also if your horse will be living in a stable overnight or out in the field.  Also what rugs you have available to use as well.  If you need to buy in rugs make sure you do this before you clip your horse!

The full should only be used for horses in a full programme of consistent hard work.  The blanket is ideal for horses in medium work.  The chaser is perfect for horses in medium – light work.  This is particularly suited to ponies.  The trace is ideal for horses in moderate work.  The Irish is ideal for young horses or horses in very light work.  The bib is ideal for horses in very light work and that are turned out throughout the winter.  Remember that you can always clip more off if the work load increases, but you cannot add it back on if your work load drops!!  You can also get creative with your clips if you are brave enough, take a look at these amazing designs below!

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