2018 Miniature Horse World Magazine April E-magazine - Page 23

Each part of the horse may be clipped for different reasons. Legs are often closely clipped from knees and hocks to the ground, including the fetlocks and hair over the coronary bands. Legs are clipped for multiple reasons, but initially it was done as a courtesy to judges, to allow the horse’s strengths and fine qualities to be more easily seen, and to prove that the horse had nothing that needed to hide behind hair. Faults like bowed tendons, wind puffs, broken hoof axis and the like can be obscured by hair. Clipped out legs say, “I have nothing to hide”.

It is easier to get clipped white markings clean, as well. Some types of horses with heavier feathering can have the visual impact of the horse’s quality of movement altered by the removal of all of that hair. Skin conditions of the lower legs can be better managed and treated when the surrounding areas are clipped out. Clipped areas are certainly quicker to wash and dry.

Clipping bridle paths is for the horse’s comfort and our convenience. It can be a trial to find a place to hang the halter on a horse with a heavy and untidy mane. A clipped bridle path can also visually slim the appearance of a thick throatlatch, or change the appearance of the length and proportion of the neck. We clipped horses’ heads originally for their comfort when wearing tack. Lots of leather over sweaty, greasy hair is a perfect lead-in to a horse rubbing his head on animate and inanimate objects or even rubbing his bridle right off.

In the judge’s view, a reasonably clipped head presents a finer appearance, allowing the horse’s sparkling personality to shine through those expressive eyes. One of the signs of quality in horses has long been a clean, finely chiseled head. Quality is evident in head, bone, and hair. Shaggy works for collie dogs, less so for show horses!

Clipping can be a drawback, however. Nobody loves clipper tracks, which are evidence of dull blades, a dirty hair coat, and a hasty job. The timing of a clip job can also make a big difference in its effectiveness. I have done full body clips many times on my dun, buckskin and grulla horses the day before a big show and won the championships. Those colors clip well, without a significant color change. But I have also had to show a scary pink horse after body clipping a liver chestnut too close to the show date. That did NOT go well with my chosen attire! If you do not know what color your horse will be after a body clip, I advise clipping at least two weeks prior to the event. Using hot oil treatments after clipping can help restore the gleam and color to some extent.

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