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View Full Version : Myth or Fact? Shaving muzzle (NOT ears/eyes) is bad for the horse



Tiligsmom
Aug. 21, 2009, 12:55 AM
Hi Coth,

My barnmate and I had a conversation tonight about the "safety" of shaving a horse's muzzle. I have always shaved my horses' muzzles... absolutely HATE the look of chin and muzzle hair on an otherwise meticulously groomed horse.

My friend was told never to shave the whiskers because horses can injure themselves without them :eek:

I find that very hard to believe, but I'm open to hearing both sides!

Vindicated
Aug. 21, 2009, 12:58 AM
I have always shaved whiskers-don't think any of my horses have injured themselves because of it.

That said, I freak when people cut the "feelers" around the eyes...I have seen horses with freshly trimmed "feelers" bop their heads on things...

Foxtrot's
Aug. 21, 2009, 01:00 AM
I agree with Vindicated, in my experience. Never asked the horse though.

spotted mustang
Aug. 21, 2009, 01:17 AM
I think this obsession with hair removal must be an American thing. I don't think people in Europe do that, or do they? I get confused when people shave the insides of their horse's ears and then have to put a fly bonnet on them. Well, duh.

Tiligsmom
Aug. 21, 2009, 01:22 AM
Let's keep the focus to MUZZLE only! I'm not talking about ears or eyes....I don't remove those at all and have no issue with them.

Ambrey
Aug. 21, 2009, 01:26 AM
I have not heard it is dangerous, but that they do use them when they eat. Personally, I just shave under the jaw and chin, maybe trim the longer whiskers, and the ear tufts (but not clean in the ears).

I've seen many dressage horses in shows with big whiskers- quite a difference from all of the h/j horses around that are shaved so meticulously!

spotted mustang
Aug. 21, 2009, 01:32 AM
Let's keep the focus to MUZZLE only! I'm not talking about ears or eyes....I don't remove those at all and have no issue with them.

sorry 'bout that... pet pieve of mine :)

as for muzzle hair, I admit I don't understand what its removal has to do with good grooming? Why can't it stay?

columbus
Aug. 21, 2009, 01:35 AM
Coincidently I have been looking at these lovely all natural horses
fairviewarabianstud.com/sales.html
but I definately do notice my horses are lost without their feelers when they are fresh off. After a while though they seem to do fine without them. Those who are routinely without their whiskers are fine as well. It is just the fresh shaved that are verklempt? PatO

mbm
Aug. 21, 2009, 01:51 AM
the whiskers are there for a purpose! they use them to feel the ground , etc.

most folks i know leave them on.... including me.

Simbalism
Aug. 21, 2009, 02:09 AM
I have always shaved my mare's muzzle (plus ears and eyes). She has never had any issues with eating or bumping her head. I just prefer the clean shaven look.

BuddyRoo
Aug. 21, 2009, 02:15 AM
Actually, in some places it's illegal.

Technically speaking, they do use those whiskers for feel. I personally don't feel that it's abuse, but in some countries, it is not allowed.

mbm
Aug. 21, 2009, 02:29 AM
taking the whiskers is taking one of their abilities to sense the world around them. seems a little silly to me to take that away for vanity.

Piaffing
Aug. 21, 2009, 02:47 AM
I have always shaved them off with never a problem. My last horse I was a little lax in shaving it one winter and he ended up with severe frostbite on his chin because water froze on his whiskers. If the horse was out 24/7 I would be more inclined to leave them, but since mine is stabled, off they come.

vita_impavida
Aug. 21, 2009, 03:28 AM
Cant you clip their muzzle without shaving it completely off?

Kind of like a middle of the road.

I also prefer the shaved look, but as many have said they are there for a reason, so When they are not showing, let them grow a little, and just keep them trimmed. This way everyones happy. Your horse doesnt have a naggy looking muzzle, and yet they have some whiskers for feelers, as they were created to.

Just a suggestion. Clipped still looks ok. :)

Ibex
Aug. 21, 2009, 03:36 AM
I've noticed that my 4yo seems to have more "dings" on her face when I've taken her whiskers off completely. Hairy faces drive me bonkers. We compromise and I trim them but leave her some length; they're just evened up and shortened. Seems to work for both of us!

slc2
Aug. 21, 2009, 08:02 AM
I think horses are more relaxed with their whiskers on. Horses are generally quite good about feeling around in the dark, I've seen them avoid things that weren't even in 'whisker range'. But I feel the whiskers are something that helps them, and so I don't remove them. I don't trim the whiskers around the muzzle or eyes. I trim the ears so the hair is flush with the edge of the ears, but don't clip the insides of the ears. I feel those keep bugs and dirt from getting down in the ears.

I love seeing a good set of chin whiskers trailing in the breeze.

I have no idea why so many Americans are so obsessed with shaving their horses hair all off. It's peculiar. Maybe a hangover from so many years or halter classes, or something.

ridgeback
Aug. 21, 2009, 08:16 AM
I think horses are more relaxed with their whiskers on. Horses are generally quite good about feeling around in the dark, I've seen them avoid things that weren't even in 'whisker range'. But I feel the whiskers are something that helps them, and so I don't remove them. I don't trim the whiskers around the muzzle or eyes. I trim the ears so the hair is flush with the edge of the ears, but don't clip the insides of the ears. I feel those keep bugs and dirt from getting down in the ears.

I love seeing a good set of chin whiskers trailing in the breeze.

I have no idea why so many Americans are so obsessed with shaving their horses hair all off. It's peculiar. Maybe a hangover from so many years or halter classes, or something.

LOL....horses are more relaxed with them on....:lol::lol::lol:

Hunter people shave everything and their horses don't come in with cuts or bumps because of it nor do they eat things they shouldn't. Do what you are comfortable with but don't fall into the trap thinking it is bad to shave their whiskers. It always amazes me how many dressage people act all self righteous about shaving whiskers but they turn around and never turn their horses out. Before I'm jumped I'm talking about the expensive ones and yes the hunters that are in the hundreds of thousands get turned out. :sigh::rolleyes:

Hazelnut
Aug. 21, 2009, 08:59 AM
LOL....horses are more relaxed with them on....:lol::lol::lol:

Hunter people shave everything and their horses don't come in with cuts or bumps because of it nor do they eat things they shouldn't. Do what you are comfortable with but don't fall into the trap thinking it is bad to shave their whiskers. It always amazes me how many dressage people act all self righteous about shaving whiskers but they turn around and never turn their horses out. Before I'm jumped I'm talking about the expensive ones and yes the hunters that are in the hundreds of thousands get turned out. :sigh::rolleyes:

Well, I'd be more relaxed if I wasn't bumping into things cause my feeler whiskers are gone- after all dressage horses deal in nuances. ;)

ridgeback
Aug. 21, 2009, 09:09 AM
Well, I'd be more relaxed if I wasn't bumping into things cause my feeler whiskers are gone- after all dressage horses deal in nuances. ;)

Now I'm ROTLMAO... Exactly how do dressage horses deal in nuances? :lol::lol: A horse is a horse is a horse.

Like I said dressage horses are no more relaxed then hunters and equatation horses...Most of the higher level(expensive) dressage horses don't get turned out...tell me how that is relaxing? I bolded and highlighted the word most so people would not come back and give me their one or two examples of upper level dressage horses that get turned out:) Please go to a hunter show and find all these horses with bumps and scrapes on their heads.

Hazelnut
Aug. 21, 2009, 09:17 AM
Now I'm ROTLMAO... Exactly how do dressage horses deal in nuances? :lol::lol: A horse is a horse is a horse.

Like I said dressage horses are no more relaxed then hunters and equatation horses...Most of the higher level(expensive) dressage horses don't get turned out...tell me how that is relaxing? I bolded and highlighted the word most so people would not come back and give me their one or two examples of upper level dressage horses that get turned out:) Please go to a hunter show and find all these horses with bumps and scrapes on their heads.

I'm glad you laughed, Ridgeback...I was laughing when I wrote it. ;):lol::lol::lol:

SmartAlex
Aug. 21, 2009, 09:52 AM
My horse will not wear a curb bit without his muzzle shaved. The shanks tickle the whiskers and give him face rubbing sneezing fits.

Movin Artfully
Aug. 21, 2009, 10:24 AM
Some horses are definitely LESS relaxed with whiskers.

?? I have found clipping whiskers is one of the easiest ways to make yearlings less head shy/overly sensitive around their muzzles. I've started doing it initially until they are very quiet & totally approachable about their heads- usually twice. They don't get clipped again until they are under saddle for shows.

I want all of my horses to clip with heads relaxed and no twitch. This seems to be a good intro to being a "grown-up" and actually makes them better mentally.

Wayside
Aug. 21, 2009, 10:42 AM
I'm a minimalist, and I rarely clip anything without a reason. However, I'm contemplating clipping my mare's muzzle, since I've pulled her chin hairs a few times doing up her flash. If I ever got to the double bridle point with her, I'm reasonably certain she'd have the same reaction to curb shanks on her whiskers as SmartAlex's horse. She's extremely sensitive.

jumpingmaya
Aug. 21, 2009, 10:52 AM
All I can say is that in Europe.. NO ONE does it... or at least, I rode on the show circuit in Europe and have never seen it done...
Think it's an American thing.... :winkgrin:

alicen
Aug. 21, 2009, 11:45 AM
I'm thinking that finding the origins of this (primarily American?) tradition is going to be harder to find than the origin of the cavesson was. I have a hunch it's related to the hysterical sociological obsession with lawns.

mp
Aug. 21, 2009, 11:46 AM
My horse goes au naturel, unless I'm going to an Arabian show. Then I clip his muzzle and face. He's got a classic, beautiful head and since it's a breed characteristic, I want to make the most of it.

I have never noticed a change in personality or confidence when he's sans whiskers or an increase in dings on his face. And believe me, I'd know if he had an opinion about it. He has NO qualms about expressing himself and I never have to guess what he thinks about something -- good or bad.

Icecapade
Aug. 21, 2009, 11:50 AM
usually something has a historical event tied too it... (why women shave their legs/arms- hemlines shortened and shirts loosing sleeves+ way for people to make money)

but I would imagine its strickly a vanity thing. I tend to not shave much of anything, I'll trim so he doesn't look like a friggin rag a muffin- but I love his head the way it is and I don't want to deal w/ all the health ramifications of him being nekkids w/ all the bugs we have.

Enstride
Aug. 21, 2009, 12:13 PM
I am on the side of not to shave off the whiskers.
I was a professional groom for years and had to shave off everything..horses seemed to have no problem with whiskers off and showed at high levels. I love the look of a clean shaven face...but....
A client imported two warmbloods from Germany and when they got home I Americanized them. Whiskers off and then put the first horse back into his stall. Went to get the second horse to take to the grooming palor and the first horse sounded like it was choking, so I went to see what was happening. He had gone to take a drink from his bucket and I guess he didn't realize how far to go and he was trying to get the water out of his nose. He looked frazzled and was very upset by not knowing such an easy thing. But his whiskers would have stopped him from going too far into the bucket. I felt horrible and realized how much they do use them when they have them. Now I have a really hard time shaving them off for vanity purposes. I have also seen many QH farms that take the eye whiskers off and this definitley is related to how many head cuts and bumps those horses get.
Ialso have a Friesian mare right now that is to go to a Keuring in a few weeks. She has her whiskers while she is here but I will need to shave them off before the Keuring. I really would love to leave them alone but will plan to take them off the week before to let her get use to not having them. Before the choking incident I would have never thought twice about shaving a horse and now it seems such a foolish thing to do.

Ajierene
Aug. 21, 2009, 12:13 PM
usually something has a historical event tied too it... (why women shave their legs/arms- hemlines shortened and shirts loosing sleeves+ way for people to make money)

but I would imagine its strickly a vanity thing. I tend to not shave much of anything, I'll trim so he doesn't look like a friggin rag a muffin- but I love his head the way it is and I don't want to deal w/ all the health ramifications of him being nekkids w/ all the bugs we have.

Shaving muzzles probably came from the same place that ironing and starching the Air Force old BDU uniform did (this is contrary to leg shaving, which originated with 'Hookers Army'-a group of 'loose' women that followed Gen. Hooker and his battalion and found that shaving helped keep the mites, fleas and other critters away....men apparently liked it and conned their future wives into doing the same-remember that next time you shave, you are practicing a tradition that loose women or 'hookers' started). Someone did it, someone else with clout thought it looked good....everyone did it....

I trim my mare's muzzle if I am going to a show, but leaver her au natural otherwise. I have found that horses that spend most of their time with their whiskers have a harder time than those that are shaved more often. Whiskers just act as feelers and a horse that is used to whiskers will likely move their head towards an object expecting the whiskers to let them know when they have come close to the object - sans whisker, means a bump.

quietann
Aug. 21, 2009, 12:22 PM
Can someone post a link to a European GP winner, complete with whiskers and fur in the ears, at a very important show? The photos I see make it hard to see whiskers so I tend to disbelieve the "European horses keep their whiskers" idea.

I am looking forward to letting my mare's whiskers grow out this winter, as well as the return of her full forelock and a very short bridlepath, and her lovely furry little ears. Trainer convinced me that her forelock was too thick so the back bits were shaved, and her bridlepath is about 4 inches long, which is too much. I know it will mean a "mohawk" with a dip in the middle for the bridlepath for a while, but that's OK. Her ears are shaved inside, which now that it's done, I really don't like, and I intend to do the Pony Club "fold ear like a taco and shave off the hair that sticks out" routine next year.

It may be breed favoritism on my part, but she's a Morgan and she should have all that long hair and fuzz! Now that the rest of her mane is grown out fully and is over a foot long, people love how it looks, and putting a running braid in it for showing is way easier than lots of little braids in a pulled mane.

doccer
Aug. 21, 2009, 12:25 PM
I have no idea why so many Americans are so obsessed with shaving their horses hair all off. It's peculiar. Maybe a hangover from so many years or halter classes, or something.

it has to be linked to women having to be shaved too :D lol wonder if that started with a hangover too haha

sorry... back to topic.

Horses have whiskers and other hair for a reason... trim and shaping is good, i don't believe in shaving it all off ;) (horse or human) haha :D

mbm
Aug. 21, 2009, 12:35 PM
Can someone post a link to a European GP winner, complete with whiskers and fur in the ears, at a very important show? The photos I see make it hard to see whiskers so I tend to disbelieve the "European horses keep their whiskers" idea..

every European i have worked with would just shake their head in wonder to see horses with shaved muzzles....

not sure about what they do for high end shows.....

ridgeback
Aug. 21, 2009, 12:37 PM
All I can say is that in Europe.. NO ONE does it... or at least, I rode on the show circuit in Europe and have never seen it done...
Think it's an American thing.... :winkgrin:

Pretty sure they can't shave them at least someone on another thread quite awhile ago said that...animal rights groups??

ridgeback
Aug. 21, 2009, 12:38 PM
I am on the side of not to shave off the whiskers.
I was a professional groom for years and had to shave off everything..horses seemed to have no problem with whiskers off and showed at high levels. I love the look of a clean shaven face...but....
A client imported two warmbloods from Germany and when they got home I Americanized them. Whiskers off and then put the first horse back into his stall. Went to get the second horse to take to the grooming palor and the first horse sounded like it was choking, so I went to see what was happening. He had gone to take a drink from his bucket and I guess he didn't realize how far to go and he was trying to get the water out of his nose. He looked frazzled and was very upset by not knowing such an easy thing. But his whiskers would have stopped him from going too far into the bucket. I felt horrible and realized how much they do use them when they have them. Now I have a really hard time shaving them off for vanity purposes. I have also seen many QH farms that take the eye whiskers off and this definitley is related to how many head cuts and bumps those horses get.
Ialso have a Friesian mare right now that is to go to a Keuring in a few weeks. She has her whiskers while she is here but I will need to shave them off before the Keuring. I really would love to leave them alone but will plan to take them off the week before to let her get use to not having them. Before the choking incident I would have never thought twice about shaving a horse and now it seems such a foolish thing to do.

Maybe the horse is stupid...his lips would have hit the water before he tried to drown himself:rolleyes::eek: My friend has imported 30 european horses and they get shaved right away, ears, nose, eyes etc etc and none of them almost drowned or hurt themselves.

ridgeback
Aug. 21, 2009, 12:41 PM
every European i have worked with would just shake their head in wonder to see horses with shaved muzzles....

not sure about what they do for high end shows.....

Yes and we do the same since most don't turn their horses out...which is more stressful...hmmm

Boomer
Aug. 21, 2009, 12:41 PM
I don't clip the muzzle or eyes. The ears I trim flush with the outside, but don't shave them.

Don't have a problem with folks that shave everything as long as they don't have a problem with me not shaving everything.

Tiligsmom
Aug. 21, 2009, 01:09 PM
These responses just crack me up!:lol:

Does anyone have any FACTs that support either side vs. "they have hair for a reason"? I know I clip my horse's muzzle, leg feathers, and chin because I prefer the appearance. Is it an American thing? Don't know, and doesn't have bearing on this discussion as my question is related to the opinion some hold that clipping the muzzle is a safety issue.

I have yet to read any facts that it is a safety issue. So far, sounds like it lands on the side of "Myth". Perhaps we need the Myth Busters to test it!:p

BTW.... we all have aesthetic preferences regardless of nationality that have nothing to do with functionality, so whether this is American or not has no bearing on the original question!

bort84
Aug. 21, 2009, 01:13 PM
Can someone post a link to a European GP winner, complete with whiskers and fur in the ears, at a very important show? The photos I see make it hard to see whiskers so I tend to disbelieve the "European horses keep their whiskers" idea.

Well, I didn't search for a link, but I know everytime I look through dressage today or look at photos from international dressage shows, the non-American horses nearly always have some fuzz. I think they trim it a bit, but you always see some foam flecked whiskers.

I come from the saddlebred world (and started in arabians), and muzzles, jaws, ears, and fetlocks always get clipped before the show. In arabians, they often take the eye feelers too, which I don't like. My grandma noticed much more head/eye injuries when she was training arabians when the owners insisted on getting the eye feelers off, so she insisted on not, haha. Granted, these horses are inside for much of show season, so flies and foreign objects are less of an issue.

I personally haven't noticed any issues with a closely shaved muzzle, but it does take the horses a minute to get used to it if they've always been fuzzy. I remember one time when we clipped a 3 year old's muzzle for the first time, she went to eat her grain and had a very shocked moment when it hit her lips much more quickly than expected. After that, she was fine though, no choking incidents or anything, haha.

That being said, my guy currently lives outside 24/7, so I leave him with a set of whiskers between shows, and his ears are pretty furry too. Doesn't hurt that he's not the best to clip either, so I've become a little bit less anal about it. My saddlebred friends think I'm crazy with my harry little appy living outside all the time, haha.

ridgeback
Aug. 21, 2009, 01:17 PM
These responses just crack me up!:lol:

Does anyone have any FACTs that support either side vs. "they have hair for a reason"? I know I clip my horse's muzzle, leg feathers, and chin because I prefer the appearance. Is it an American thing? Don't know, and doesn't have bearing on this discussion as my question is related to the opinion some hold that clipping the muzzle is a safety issue.

I have yet to read any facts that it is a safety issue. So far, sounds like it lands on the side of "Myth". Perhaps we need the Myth Busters to test it!:p

BTW.... we all have aesthetic preferences regardless of nationality that have nothing to do with functionality, so whether this is American or not has no bearing on the original question!

I think the hunter world has busted that myth a looooooooong time ago. Again do what you are comfortable with but know you are not hurting them either way it really is personal preference.

OdhinnsMom
Aug. 21, 2009, 01:20 PM
I suspect the amounts of bumps/scratches on the horses head is more a characterisitic of the HORSE itself, and not the presence or absence of whiskers.

I trim the hair under my horses jowels (he looks like a yeti if I don't), and his chin, but have never cut the whiskers on his nose. He has scratches on his head ALL time, because he is always rubbing his head/investigating SOMETHING.

Equibrit
Aug. 21, 2009, 01:22 PM
Don't see the point.

Mozart
Aug. 21, 2009, 01:27 PM
Well, I figure that since horses come with them, there must be some point to whiskers, right? Not that horses are particularly well designed to begin with....

I shave the muzzle of horses going into the hunter ring but not for the dressage or jumper ring. Horse whiskers don't offend me and it is one less thing to do.

A Mythbusters experiment would be fun though. Lets see..a grey horse, a dark stall, a container of treats with an opening only wide enough to accomadate a muzzle...coat the container rim with ink....

trubandloki
Aug. 21, 2009, 01:28 PM
Maybe the horse is stupid...his lips would have hit the water before he tried to drown himself:rolleyes::eek: My friend has imported 30 european horses and they get shaved right away, ears, nose, eyes etc etc and none of them almost drowned or hurt themselves.

My horse is not imported and not shaved and she still drowns herself on a regular basis (so yes, she is stupid). I think muzzle hair has nothing to do with it. :yes:

ridgeback
Aug. 21, 2009, 01:30 PM
Well, I figure that since horses come with them, there must be some point to whiskers, right? Not that horses are particularly well designed to begin with....

I shave the muzzle of horses going into the hunter ring but not for the dressage or jumper ring. Horse whiskers don't offend me and it is one less thing to do.

A Mythbusters experiment would be fun though. Lets see..a grey horse, a dark stall, a container of treats with an opening only wide enough to accomadate a muzzle...coat the container rim with ink....

Yes and just like people they evolve and no longer need them like they once did... Kinda like our appendix.

lewin
Aug. 21, 2009, 01:31 PM
Horses also come with manes and tails that were never meant to be brushed, pulled, or braided. The dredlocks must serve a purpose right? :lol:

I have always shaved muzzles and it never made a difference to the horses. The only clipping that bothers the horse is if you shave naked the insides of the ears you have to watch out for bugs.

Ambrey
Aug. 21, 2009, 01:41 PM
I have always shaved muzzles and it never made a difference to the horses. The only clipping that bothers the horse is if you shave naked the insides of the ears you have to watch out for bugs.

What she really means is "when people's horses get too hairy, I threaten to kidnap them and clip them myself."

Not that I know this from experience or anything :eek::cool::lol:.

(that reminds me, I need to get all my blades sharpened and clip the pony before I come to the barn and find him NEKKID!).

p.p.s. My horse also always has owies all over his face, and I don't usually clip his whiskers. I do agree that it's more "stupid horse syndrome" than a clipping thing.

mbm
Aug. 21, 2009, 01:42 PM
just because you cant figure out why a horse needs them doesn't mean they don't.

at least be honest and say " i don't care if the horse needs them I like the look" and be done with it.

trying to say that they serve no purpose is silly - would you trim your cat or dogs whiskers?

mp
Aug. 21, 2009, 01:48 PM
My horse is not imported and not shaved and she still drowns herself on a regular basis (so yes, she is stupid). I think muzzle hair has nothing to do with it. :yes:

*snerk*

I didn't want to be rude, but I thought the same thing.

quietann
Aug. 21, 2009, 02:03 PM
Well, I figure that since horses come with them, there must be some point to whiskers, right? Not that horses are particularly well designed to begin with....

:lol::lol::lol:

Tiligsmom
Aug. 21, 2009, 02:06 PM
just because you cant figure out why a horse needs them doesn't mean they don't.

at least be honest and say " i don't care if the horse needs them I like the look" and be done with it.

trying to say that they serve no purpose is silly - would you trim your cat or dogs whiskers?

Dogs and cats go through all sorts of grooming processes that remove their "natural" coat/hair.

No one - including me - has said that this hair doesn't serve a purpose. Just like other hair, it's purpose may be less important today than it was thousands of years ago (e.g. underarm hair in humans). Perhaps more of an artifact.

My question was specifically around whether we have FACTS that removal of the muzzle hair is HARMFUL to the horse. I have yet to find/hear evidence, other than horse folklore, that it is indeed HARMFUL to remove the whiskers.

Dramapony_misty
Aug. 21, 2009, 02:08 PM
I grew up learning to clip everything: ears, bridlepath, eyes, nose, jowels, cornets, and fetlocks. Now, I agree with everyone about the ears...those I trim flat so no tufts are hanging out, but there is still enough to combat bugs. I'm also tending to side with those against eyes. But muzzles?! Maybe for a horse on the range trying to find a blade of grass between piles of rocks, but in my grass laden pasture, that's not necessary.

As for the remark of "well, they have them for a reason..." Does that mean it is bad for the horse to pull their manes? They have those but no one seems to be taking up the cry against mane pulling/trimming (exception: certain breeds and disciplines like reining).

Men have whiskers too...should they not shave those since they are there for a reason? If so, we are going to be seeing alot more soup-laden beards :-P


One time I would say that is IS indeed harmful to a horse is if he/she is blind or is going blind as then said horse would need that sense of touch to compensate for lack of sight.

Ambrey
Aug. 21, 2009, 02:08 PM
My question was specifically around whether we have FACTS that removal of the muzzle hair is HARMFUL to the horse. I have yet to find/hear evidence, other than horse folklore, that it is indeed HARMFUL to remove the whiskers.

I believe there is some evidence to that effect in cats, but I'd agree with you wrt horses.

mbm
Aug. 21, 2009, 02:15 PM
no, you just don't want to believe that they need them for a reason - ie: FEELING things. wheter or not you think that usage is is important is immaterial.

i suggest you go hang out iha horse with whiskers and watch them eat in a field etc. you can totally see that they use them .

again, just because you dont want to believe they are important does not in fact change the fact that they are.

trubandloki
Aug. 21, 2009, 02:19 PM
no, you just don't want to believe that they need them for a reason - ie: FEELING things. wheter or not you think that usage is is important is immaterial.

i suggest you go hang out iha horse with whiskers and watch them eat in a field etc. you can totally see that they use them .

again, just because you dont want to believe they are important does not in fact change the fact that they are.

Are you refusing to read her question?

My other horse is trimmed and he seems to graze on his grass nubs (he is basically in a dry lot but he keeps what vegetation is there eaten down to nub length) with out any difficulty. He also does not try to drown himself (like my filly with whiskers does). And no extra facial boo-boos on him either. Actually the horse with whiskers has far more facial boo-boos than the one with out.

OP, I am guessing no real study has ever been done on it. I think it is safe to say that if they were THAT important there would be lots of horribly damaged horses in every hunter/jumper barn.

Let me add that I have seen a shaved horse easily pick out the grain pieces and leave the supplement/medication pieces in his feed tub.

Ambrey
Aug. 21, 2009, 02:20 PM
no, you just don't want to believe that they need them for a reason - ie: FEELING things. wheter or not you think that usage is is important is immaterial.

And you DO want to believe. And there is no objective evidence to prove either side. That's where "agree to disagree" comes in.

Tiligsmom
Aug. 21, 2009, 02:21 PM
no, you just don't want to believe that they need them for a reason - ie: FEELING things. wheter or not you think that usage is is important is immaterial.

i suggest you go hang out iha horse with whiskers and watch them eat in a field etc. you can totally see that they use them .

again, just because you dont want to believe they are important does not in fact change the fact that they are.

No one is arguing with you, mbm, that the horse uses them to some degree, so you can get off that soapbox and stop inferring that we don't want to "believe" they are not used. What people have argued is that the removal doesn't impeded their safety. You haven't provided any data as to why it's HARMFUL to remove them.

mp
Aug. 21, 2009, 02:22 PM
no, you just don't want to believe that they need them for a reason - ie: FEELING things. wheter or not you think that usage is is important is immaterial.

i suggest you go hang out iha horse with whiskers and watch them eat in a field etc. you can totally see that they use them .

again, just because you dont want to believe they are important does not in fact change the fact that they are.

The fact that YOU believe they're important makes it fact, correct?

I don't have to hang out with my horse -- whisker-ed and whisker-less -- to know that he manages just fine either way. No gashes in his head, no drowning in the trough, no poking his eyes out in tall grass.

If your horses aren't bright enough to adjust, then I guess it's a good thing you're pro-whisker.

ETA -- and I am NOT anti-whisker. I'm just anti-blathering and presenting opinions as "facts."

alicen
Aug. 21, 2009, 02:30 PM
Oh my, mbm! Tell it like it is. Are you interested in running for President?

So I got all these great head shots of horses who did not sport whiskers (none on Salinero, none on Max, none on Gal's horses ) then my computer froze. However, I did find this of the Russian Olympic horse, Balagur: http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/0e4h44N0Bd0Ll/610x.jpg

ridgeback
Aug. 21, 2009, 02:38 PM
just because you cant figure out why a horse needs them doesn't mean they don't.

at least be honest and say " i don't care if the horse needs them I like the look" and be done with it.

trying to say that they serve no purpose is silly - would you trim your cat or dogs whiskers?

Here is an interesting poll....For those that believe because they have them there must be a reason therefore they should not be shaved...how many of you circumcised your sons?

ridgeback
Aug. 21, 2009, 02:42 PM
no, you just don't want to believe that they need them for a reason - ie: FEELING things. wheter or not you think that usage is is important is immaterial.

i suggest you go hang out iha horse with whiskers and watch them eat in a field etc. you can totally see that they use them .

again, just because you dont want to believe they are important does not in fact change the fact that they are.

And because you do doesn't change the fact thousands and thousands of hunters/ quarter horses etc etc are shaved with NO SIDE EFFECT:lol: Hunters don't walk around bumping into things nor do they ingest harmful things either.

You ever try to touch a cats whiskers compared to touching a dogs or a horse? Not even the same thing.

Showpony
Aug. 21, 2009, 02:46 PM
Coming from the H/J side, I have worked with zillions of clipped wiskered horses and can't think of any that I have seen cut their nose or running into things. I think the adjust perfectly fine. And yes I do it because it makes them look so much better! Like pulling their manes, braiding, painting feet, etc.

Our barn doesn't clip out the ears unless they are showing or customers are coming to try them. It is amazing how much better the look clipped up and mane pulled.

Tiligsmom
Aug. 21, 2009, 02:47 PM
Here is an interesting poll....For those that believe because they have them there must be a reason therefore they should not be shaved...how many of you circumcised your sons?

HA!!!!:lol:

And.... how many of you trim your finger nails? And how many of your male friends shave? And how many of you shave? Did all of this trimming lead to peril?!?!?:eek:

I've sent my barnmate a copy of this thread so she can make up her own mind about what to do with her horse.

I have not found any evidence that clipping my horses' muzzle is going to put their safety at risk, so I will continue to practice my preference for a cleanly clipped muzzle and jaw line ;).

RedMare01
Aug. 21, 2009, 02:49 PM
Coming from the ASB world, I have always clipped my mare's muzzle (not ears or eyes). Never seen a difference in her when they're clipped vs. when they're not. I will let them grow out to about an inch before I clip them again, so about once a month. She doesn't seem to mind either way.

Caitlin

Ajierene
Aug. 21, 2009, 03:02 PM
I think this is a Filly out of Ferro - and won second place at the inspection....or something:

http://bp2.blogger.com/_j-v9C2Pm9uA/RYn4yqlh0UI/AAAAAAAAAEs/HAQ22xG9fxc/s1600-h/Hanoverian+Mag+Fall+2006+edited.jpg

From website:
http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://bp3.blogger.com/_j-v9C2Pm9uA/RZMPMalh0mI/AAAAAAAAAII/jQvmJH4dlh8/s400/salinero.jpg&imgrefurl=http://westgrangefarm.blogspot.com/2006_12_01_archive.html&usg=__uFMrGuXkApUQVv9DexW4NzDQtBo=&h=320&w=250&sz=64&hl=en&start=19&um=1&tbnid=ivRMij9hpxtfBM:&tbnh=118&tbnw=92&prev=/images%3Fq%3DSalinero%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26sa%3DN%26um%3D1

I'm pretty sure Salinero goes sans whiskers, though:
http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.eurodressage.com/images/2004/04aachen/salinero_6038.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.eurodressage.com/news/happen/2004/december.html&usg=__qW0tifB5otaNS3r-KkzgEhRPJ9k=&h=320&w=250&sz=34&hl=en&start=58&um=1&tbnid=XVNC3Fp6eZU9YM:&tbnh=118&tbnw=92&prev=/images%3Fq%3DSalinero%26ndsp%3D20%26hl%3Den%26clie nt%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26sa%3DN%26start%3D40%26um%3D1

There does not seem to be a rhyme or reason, or cultural backdrop for shaving the horse's whiskers.

Tiligsmom
Aug. 21, 2009, 03:09 PM
..... she's putting Brentina's health/wellbeing at risk!!!:eek:

Photo is from PeopleonHorses.com

jej
Aug. 21, 2009, 03:10 PM
I sincerely hope that all those people who don't believe in trimming their horses' whiskers, also feel equally comfortable not shaving their legs and armpits.

TheHorseProblem
Aug. 21, 2009, 03:36 PM
I am right now looking at page 82 of Visions of Dressage by Elizabeth Furth. It is a picture of Grunox, Monica Theodorescu's horse, with full whiskers.

My last trainer was from Finland, and she influenced me to stop all the shaving and clipping, so my horse gets a bridle path and that's it. And I'm sure there's another 11-page thread on that issue somewhere.

So, I think it's a European thing that extends to female hygiene. When my sister moved to Germany and then came home for Christmas, we wanted to take the clippers to her!:lol:

Enstride
Aug. 21, 2009, 04:27 PM
I think its pretty silly to make fun of others advice when the op asked for evidence that they need or use their whiskers. I stated the horse took on water by not stopping in time(not the same as drowning) He ws startled and confused as to what happened. From my experience, he was no more stupid than another and he was actually quite bright. He obviously waited until his whiskers felt the water and then drank on a regular basis until I took them off and then he didn't get the signal to stop. So that by my book is a fact not an opinion. Sure horses can cope without them. If you read my post you'd know that I groomed professionally on the 'A' level for years and can't say any of them had a hard time without them. But that one incident did make me rethink my view of shaving the whiskers. He clearly used them for something in his world. Why would I take something away that meant something to him. Purely vain to me.

Actually Ridgeback, I have circumcised both my sons and really its for other reason than vanity.
I don't believe there really is a connection to the two. I also shave my legs and armpits..maybe I shouldn't shave my legs(I might get better feel when riding..hmmmm) Armpit hairs, can't find where I might need them to help my senses yet, but if anyone know, please post!! ;-)
So another question to post is why do we shave the whiskers? Is there any reason? Does it or can it enhance a horses way of going? Do they actually travel better? Are they indeed smarter? Maybe its a way to weed out the dumb ones? If they get shaved and bonk their heads...don't buy that one..Maybe we've cracked the secret code.
Who knew were this thread would lead us

merrygoround
Aug. 21, 2009, 04:34 PM
Having watched one old boy stroll up to the electric fence and just reach out til his whisker touched, and then decide "Awww, it's hot", made me realize that those there things are useful. :D I've always had to hunt up a long blade of grass.;)

I suspect that at night they use them as distant early warning devices. :yes:

trubandloki
Aug. 21, 2009, 04:35 PM
So that by my book is a fact not an opinion.



My post about my mare who frequently does the same thing, but with whiskers is fact not opinion also.

She sticks her nose in her bucket after it is filled and is totally shocked when it goes in too far.





Actually Ridgeback, I have circumcised both my sons and really its for other reason than vanity.


I believe the circumcision comment was in response to the people that are posting 'they have them so they must need them'. Nothing to do with vanity.


On that point, do the people that insist that because they have it they need it never do anything with their horses chestnuts?

Enstride
Aug. 21, 2009, 04:39 PM
Chestnuts vs Armpit hairs Same thing to me.

Tiligsmom
Aug. 21, 2009, 04:40 PM
So another question to post is why do we shave the whiskers? Is there any reason? Does it or can it enhance a horses way of going? Do they actually travel better? Are they indeed smarter? Maybe its a way to weed out the dumb ones? If they get shaved and bonk their heads...don't buy that one..Maybe we've cracked the secret code.
Who knew were this thread would lead us

HA! :lol::lol::lol: Maybe we should use it for pre-purchase!

My reasons for getting rid of muzzle hair is PURELY aesthetic preference! I would stop the practice if there was evidence that it was harmful.

What I appreciate about being able to access an entire WORLD of horse people on this BB is that I can test/challenge/validate information that comes from my small section of the world. I don't like to blindly follow local folklore without getting a broader perspective ;)

PaddyUK
Aug. 21, 2009, 04:49 PM
Dressage horses, show horses, hunters etc are all trimmed in the UK.

Paddy

doccer
Aug. 21, 2009, 04:50 PM
I sincerely hope that all those people who don't believe in trimming their horses' whiskers, also feel equally comfortable not shaving their legs and armpits.

aha! :D lol it all comes down the leg/armpit shaving prejudice! Are you saying you can tell how shaved a woman is by looking at her horse??

:yes:

arabhorse2
Aug. 21, 2009, 04:57 PM
I HATE muzzle and fetlock hair. HATE, HATE, HATE! :mad: :lol:

Seriously, I kept Conny show clipped his entire life, and he never had near death experiences by water trough, cutting himself up, or bonking into things.

The only hair I left was in the ears, because I know that's there to keep out bugs. I did trim the longer ear hairs, because it looks neater.

Mack is the only horse I have allowed to go 'au naturel'. Mostly because you can't get near his face with clippers, and at 22 y/o, I'm not going to stress him out by making him submit to being clipped. He's a pasture pouf anyway, so what does it matter? He does get his fetlocks trimmed, though.

I like my horses the way I like my men; clean shaven! :D

klmck63
Aug. 21, 2009, 05:05 PM
I intend to do the Pony Club "fold ear like a taco and shave off the hair that sticks out" routine next year.


That's what I do. I think it looks better than a completely shaved ear. We call it 'clipping off the old man ear hairs' :lol:

My horse that shows has his muzzle clipped, old man ear hair clipped, fetlocks and bridle path. My non showing horse has her fetlocks and bridle path clipped. I leave the muzzle. If she actually grew ear hair I'd clip that too, but she doesn't.

IF he didn't naturally have ear hair like this: Gatsby (http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=215960&l=841d248fab&id=1640370101) I would probably leave his ears too, but he was born with this much hair and just keeps growing more!

The clipping the feelers around the eyes and completely shaving the ears is a breed show (AQHA) thing in my experience. Even though I don't like the look, I have never seen a horse that bumped it's head or had any other problems because of it. (I boarded at a barn with AQHA people for a year and a bit, no lack of feeler related accidents so far as I could tell).

Gloria
Aug. 21, 2009, 05:06 PM
So another question to post is why do we shave the whiskers? Is there any reason? Does it or can it enhance a horses way of going? Do they actually travel better? Are they indeed smarter? Maybe its a way to weed out the dumb ones? If they get shaved and bonk their heads...don't buy that one..Maybe we've cracked the secret code.
Who knew were this thread would lead us

Why? As far as I am concerned, because everybody else is doing it. You see, I show hunter so I body clip my horse head to toe including inside ears, why? because if I don't, my horse will look out of place and improper among all the sleek beasts.

See in this country, If a woman shows up in bathing suit with full natural armpit and leg hair, she is considered improper. Well, hell, in many countries, it is just as normal or proper to show off all those hair.

For me? I wish there will be a day when it is considered improper socially to have naked ears (horse I mean). Both of us hate clipping inside the ears but we do it because that is what the custom here dictates.

Foxtrot's
Aug. 21, 2009, 05:41 PM
Would anybody in hunterland dare go with whiskers, and would they place?

mbm
Aug. 21, 2009, 05:47 PM
re: chestnuts - unless a horse is out where it can walk thru scrub, they will need help keeping them trimmed - just like hooves...

it is not the same as whiskers.

and to help turn this around.... i have not heard any scientific reason *to* clip their whiskers, etc... all i am hearing is it is for vanity/looks.

and yup, underarm hair has a reason as does body hair - those reasons are not invalidated just because we remove it for vanity.

ridgeback
Aug. 21, 2009, 06:01 PM
re: chestnuts - unless a horse is out where it can walk thru scrub, they will need help keeping them trimmed - just like hooves...

it is not the same as whiskers.

and to help turn this around.... i have not heard any scientific reason *to* clip their whiskers, etc... all i am hearing is it is for vanity/looks.

and yup, underarm hair has a reason as does body hair - those reasons are not invalidated just because we remove it for vanity.

TO EACH ITS OWN...If you don't want to clip your horse DON"T and if you DO...DO. Point is it does not hurt the horse...I'm far more concerned with the number of horses that have to live in a stall 23 hours a day then I am their whiskers.

ridgeback
Aug. 21, 2009, 06:02 PM
Would anybody in hunterland dare go with whiskers, and would they place?

Of course they would it is just a style thing kinda like braiding manes...Why do we spend 50 bucks to braid their mane....it is just what is required for that discipline.

mbm
Aug. 21, 2009, 06:03 PM
RIGHT! but if you are going to clip at least be honest with yourself and admit it is for VANITY and that you are taking a natural element from your horse and it *will* affect him - even if you think it wont!

Ambrey
Aug. 21, 2009, 06:10 PM
I sincerely hope that all those people who don't believe in trimming their horses' whiskers, also feel equally comfortable not shaving their legs and armpits.


You do? I don't.

ridgeback
Aug. 21, 2009, 06:12 PM
RIGHT! but if you are going to clip at least be honest with yourself and admit it is for VANITY and that you are taking a natural element from your horse and it *will* affect him - even if you think it wont!

NO IT WON"T....MY GOD YOU ARE THICK:D:winkgrin: Just like taking my appendix isn't going to effect me. It is not Vain to want to have a clean turned out horse just like you wouldn't go into the ring with dirty clothes or with chaps on or a dirty saddle pad. No different then braiding, or wearing a shadbelly and a top hat. How about all your dressage GODS taking the natural element of a grazing animal and locking it in a stall 23 hours a day...

slc2
Aug. 21, 2009, 06:27 PM
Not really. No judge is going to place a horse differently because its whiskers are untrimmed, even in hunter land. They can't even see the whiskers from where they sit, and even if they could, it's not going to be a factor. People lose ribbons because they go off course, they ride incorrectly, they mess up, NOT because they didn't trim their horse's whiskers. This is something that people just arbitrarily want to do because they want to do it.

Foxtrot's
Aug. 21, 2009, 07:38 PM
..it's called monkey see, monkey do :)

I don't "do" hunters, but I do love the look and the style.

Pity the OP: she's only interested in the muzzle and the thread took a life of its own.

Coppers mom
Aug. 21, 2009, 07:52 PM
RIGHT! but if you are going to clip at least be honest with yourself and admit it is for VANITY and that you are taking a natural element from your horse and it *will* affect him - even if you think it wont!

Careful mbm, your holier-than-thou is showing ;)

I clip mine regularly. Both of them would look like yaks if I didn't. Neither have ever tried to drown themselves, poked an eye out, or caused themselves any harm because of it.

As a side note, the horse who stuck it's nose too far in water was just flat out stupid, it had nothing to do with whiskers. Seriously, if the horse felt water running up it's nose and didn't say "Oh noooooo!!! Too deep! Abort! Abort!", then I'm sorry, he's just not the sharpest crayon in the box. Probably why he was sold to America anyways, the Europeans were just tired of having to save him from his own water bucket :lol:

Fairview Horse Center
Aug. 21, 2009, 08:08 PM
TO EACH ITS OWN...If you don't want to clip your horse DON"T and if you DO...DO. Point is it does not hurt the horse....

Exactly! I clip muzzles, bridle paths, and the edges of closed ears. No horse, or even foal has had any different reaction (eating, nursing, drinking, etc.) to having a clean muzzle. Sometimes for a big show, I have even cleaned up the long wiskers around the eyes, and again, no horse has gotten an eye injury.

It won't hurt, so clip if you like, and don't if you don't like.

MistyBlue
Aug. 21, 2009, 08:21 PM
Muzzle whiskers are feelers. However removing them does not affect the horse in a negative manner. They acclimate to the difference very quickly and the muzzle whiskers aren't performing a really necessary task anyways. Completely unlike cat whiskers...comparing any predator and any prey isn't ever a good analogy. The two types of animals are so vastly different you might as well compare humans and aliens...or humans and horses. :winkgrin: Cat's whiskers serve an important necessary function, horse whiskers do not.
If comparing horses to other species helps in understanding maybe try comparing shaving a horse's muzzle to someone cutting their fingernails shorter. If you let your nails grow longer (or wear artifical tips) and shorten them a whole lot...that first 24 hours of shorter nails means your fingertips feel a bit odd and you might type/dial phones/whatever a tad differently at first. After the first 24 hours...everything feels normal again. Same with horse whiskers. A horse without whiskers is not suffering or impaired...only humans can come up with this type of nonsense. :lol:
People, stop attributing non-equine emotions and traits to your equines. It does neither human nor horse any good in the long run.



Seriously...horses drowning due to shaved muzzles....:lol: :rolleyes: :lol:

MEP
Aug. 21, 2009, 08:29 PM
re: chestnuts - unless a horse is out where it can walk thru scrub, they will need help keeping them trimmed - just like hooves...

it is not the same as whiskers.

and to help turn this around.... i have not heard any scientific reason *to* clip their whiskers, etc... all i am hearing is it is for vanity/looks.

and yup, underarm hair has a reason as does body hair - those reasons are not invalidated just because we remove it for vanity.

Please enlighten us! What are the reasons for underarm/body hair??

(I also have this life-size vision of horses walking through thick scrub to trim their chestnuts!)

Thank you MB:
People, stop attributing non-equine emotions and traits to your equines. It does neither human nor horse any good in the long run.

Of course, then, I always have to wonder: What Would Aunt Esther Do????

Mach Two
Aug. 21, 2009, 08:40 PM
I guess people who don't shave their faces, armpits, or legs might also be able to sense more things because of the extra hair, and that is there for a purpose too....personally I like horses' faces clipped, and leave "eye winker" guard hairs on if they are not being shown, and are turned out at night and there at trees etc around. And during bug season I leave the hair inside the ears, but trim the outside.

But to me, an ungroomed horse face reminds me of the European women's unshaved arm pits and hairy legs, and long chin hairs. It just looks unsightly to me, and the horse does not look like he is being shown to his best advantage "ungroomed" around the face. Just my opinion. Don't mean to offend anyone who does not shave legs or armpits.

Tilly
Aug. 21, 2009, 08:42 PM
I clip my mare's muzzle. She has never injured herself because she doesn't have her whiskers. I can understand why some people don't clip them. I just prefer how the horses look when they've been clipped, IMO, they look far more polished.

ETA: I also do her eye whiskers, but I don't clip out her ears. I just trim whatever sticks out and maybe edge them a little.

ponyhunter62
Aug. 21, 2009, 08:45 PM
nope i have always shaved my ponies muzzle and never has she injusred her self.
the only thing they are good for are for flies!

Mardi
Aug. 21, 2009, 08:46 PM
Actually, in some places it's illegal.

Technically speaking, they do use those whiskers for feel. I personally don't feel that it's abuse, but in some countries, it is not allowed.


Which countries ?

MistyBlue
Aug. 21, 2009, 08:48 PM
Yes mbm...underarm hair on a human body does have a purpose.
Do you know what the purpose is?
I'll fill you in and then you can decide if you want to keep yours or not:
Humans still have underarm hair to trap odor from the sweat glands under the arms. As we evolved from very hairy mammals to less hairy mammals (when we started wearing other mammal skins over the millenia we no longer needed our own body hair for warmth and sun protection) we still kept light body hair as a vestige of what we had. But we kept it heavier in our "scent" zones...specifically because during evolution the last things to evolve are the traits used for reproduction. Nature's way of keeping us from going extinct.
Groin and underarm hair catch, amplify and prolong body odor...body odor *was* the way we attracted the opposite gender for breeding purposes. Human body odor is the same as animals...but on a lesser scale as we evolved.
Now few humans are attracted by the scent of an odorous armpit or crotch, but since evolving takes many many many *many* centuries we haven't quite lost our underarm hair or other body hair yet. If a person wants to keep their sweat based (and other bodily fluid based) scents then by all means keep the underarm hair.

Sometimes I'm shocked at the lack of basic understanding of how animals (human and non-human) function, act, react and basic behavior.
Horses will not drown without muzzle whiskers...and humans will not become lonely hermits without pit hair.
Please, take my word on that.

Ride On
Aug. 21, 2009, 09:15 PM
Sue Blinks never clipped her horses muzzles it helps them feel when they can not see clearly. In Europe they do not clip muzzels Sue said to me if a judge can see the hairs on the horses face they are not watching the ride. :)

pferdefreund
Aug. 21, 2009, 09:44 PM
Heike Kemmer and Bonaparte -- not shaved

http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/08xk1X3ahj9FN/610x.jpg

slc2
Aug. 21, 2009, 09:47 PM
so cute!

Enstride
Aug. 21, 2009, 10:11 PM
OK!! All the references to drowning are a bit ridiculous. Please reread my post. It was never stated that the horse almost drowned.
That has been taken a bit too far out of context...

sid
Aug. 21, 2009, 10:20 PM
When I boughht Boleem, I had him shipped to Hilltop Farms for several months for Select Breeders' Service to collect and freeze..with Scott and Suzanne keeping him fit and in work for return to competetion -- I was puzzled that his was pristinely showered and show groomed when I picked him up....but he was "bearded".:lol:

This was an international horse and USET long listed,so I was going "huh"? Why would they leave his whiskers on?

I think it is a cultural thing, but I also believe that cutting off those "feelers" for horses that live outside in the winter, especially, is not a good thing. They catch frost and can save lips from frostbite. For older horses who may have eyesight problems, they are also an aid that nature gave them, IME.

They are there for a reason! I've really changed my "they look pretty clean shaven" way of thinking. Once I got "Bo", and realized his whiskers made no difference in how he was judged in performance, I no longer clip anyone (though I do love the clean-shaven look...;))

Each discipline has its own "look".. in dressage it's not so much about the look of the horse, but they way they perform, whiskers or not. "Pretty is a pretty does". This is why I like dressage. It all comes down to performance..all aobut the horse, not to the look.

lil'redbarn
Aug. 21, 2009, 10:24 PM
Heike Kemmer and Bonaparte -- not shaved

http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/08xk1X3ahj9FN/610x.jpg

How can you tell? she still has her coat on....




:)

Tiligsmom
Aug. 21, 2009, 10:29 PM
How can you tell? she still has her coat on....


ROFLMAO :lol::lol::lol::lol:

ridgeback
Aug. 21, 2009, 10:31 PM
Each discipline has its own "look".. in dressage it's not so much about the look of the horse, but they way they perform, whiskers or not. "Pretty is a pretty does". This is why I like dressage. It all comes down to performance..all aobut the horse, not to the look.

Not to be rude but as Barney Frank asked what planet do you live on. Dressage is one of the MOST political disciplines as all the non-warmblood people can tell you. By the way hunters aren't about looks unless you are in the conformation ring.

egontoast
Aug. 21, 2009, 10:37 PM
By the way hunters aren't about looks unless you are in the conformation ring.


very amusing

ridgeback
Aug. 21, 2009, 11:01 PM
very amusing

Why thank you:) :eek:

asterix
Aug. 21, 2009, 11:06 PM
I have a dear friend who is a neurobiologist -- specializes in sensory systems in animals such as the bumps on an alligator's nose (one of her professional claims to fame is the discovery that these sense subtle changes in water pressure, such as when a prey animal slips into the stream across the way -- very cool!). She tells me that as she learned more about how much horses use their muzzle feelers she realized it absolutely had a negative impact on their ability to sense their immediate environment, and swore never to clip them again.

Good enough for me. Just because you have seen your horse compensate does not mean they don't use them for something. We have a three-legged dog in the neighborhood -- compensated? yes. Missing something useful? Also yes.

Your horses, your choices, but please don't think there is some kind of actual "evidence" behind the suggestion that these sensory organs are "meaningless." Horses use them, and horses miss them. If how they look is more important to you than that, that's your choice.

JMurray
Aug. 21, 2009, 11:27 PM
the best thread in a long time. Absolutely hysterical. Who knew muzzle hair could last this many pages.

ridgeback
Aug. 21, 2009, 11:40 PM
I have a dear friend who is a neurobiologist -- specializes in sensory systems in animals such as the bumps on an alligator's nose (one of her professional claims to fame is the discovery that these sense subtle changes in water pressure, such as when a prey animal slips into the stream across the way -- very cool!). She tells me that as she learned more about how much horses use their muzzle feelers she realized it absolutely had a negative impact on their ability to sense their immediate environment, and swore never to clip them again.

Good enough for me. Just because you have seen your horse compensate does not mean they don't use them for something. We have a three-legged dog in the neighborhood -- compensated? yes. Missing something useful? Also yes.

Your horses, your choices, but please don't think there is some kind of actual "evidence" behind the suggestion that these sensory organs are "meaningless." Horses use them, and horses miss them. If how they look is more important to you than that, that's your choice.

Yes sometimes scientist see what they want to see. Horses don't compensate just like I wouldn't compensate losing my appendix Clip if you want to clip and leave the whiskers if you want to leave them.

Fairview Horse Center
Aug. 21, 2009, 11:40 PM
Horses use them, and horses miss them. If how they look is more important to you than that, that's your choice.

All hair is useful in some degree. IMO, horses can use those extra few inches of banged tail a LOT more than a few wiskers, but if you care more about how they look, ... :winkgrin: :lol: :lol:

ridgeback
Aug. 21, 2009, 11:42 PM
All hair is useful in some degree. IMO, horses can use those extra few inches of banged tail a LOT more than a few wiskers, but if you care more about how they look, ... :winkgrin: :lol: :lol:

Ha ha ha good one...So stop pulling their manes for God sake that can't feel good not to mention a long mane helps with bugs...hey they wouldn't grow it long if there was no reason...right??? :lol::lol:

Tiligsmom
Aug. 21, 2009, 11:52 PM
Even with some of the more creative (and entertaining!) arguments here in support of keeping muzzle hair, there is still no evidence indicating the practice of clipping muzzle hair is harmful.

So, for those of us who prefer a clean shaven look, we can rest easily now knowing that we aren't irrevocably harming our beloved horses!:p

MEP
Aug. 21, 2009, 11:52 PM
Yes mbm...underarm hair on a human body does have a purpose.
Do you know what the purpose is?
I'll fill you in and then you can decide if you want to keep yours or not:
Humans still have underarm hair to trap odor from the sweat glands under the arms. As we evolved from very hairy mammals to less hairy mammals (when we started wearing other mammal skins over the millenia we no longer needed our own body hair for warmth and sun protection) we still kept light body hair as a vestige of what we had. But we kept it heavier in our "scent" zones...specifically because during evolution the last things to evolve are the traits used for reproduction. Nature's way of keeping us from going extinct.
Groin and underarm hair catch, amplify and prolong body odor...body odor *was* the way we attracted the opposite gender for breeding purposes. Human body odor is the same as animals...but on a lesser scale as we evolved.
Now few humans are attracted by the scent of an odorous armpit or crotch, but since evolving takes many many many *many* centuries we haven't quite lost our underarm hair or other body hair yet. If a person wants to keep their sweat based (and other bodily fluid based) scents then by all means keep the underarm hair.

Sometimes I'm shocked at the lack of basic understanding of how animals (human and non-human) function, act, react and basic behavior.
Horses will not drown without muzzle whiskers...and humans will not become lonely hermits without pit hair.
Please, take my word on that.

99% correct answer! The armpit hair actually traps pheromones which our bodies exude and of which we are not consciously aware. Pheromones act as some sort of trigger for attraction. (Sniffing pheromones is what horses/dogs/cat do when they are showing the flehmen response:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flehmen_response

And actually, I'm not sure that it is completely clear why we lost the 'weight' of our hair (although our bodies still have the same amount of hair as furry mammals do, our hair is just much finer.) Unfortunately hair is not preserved in the fossil record, so it's not clear when that change took place. Evolutionary forces act on random changes in the DNA (which generally have to be benign or neutral to be passed on). :lol:

quietann
Aug. 22, 2009, 12:53 AM
Thank you to those (few) people who posted photos of "whiskery" European dressage horses.

Maresy may get shaved one more time (for an open show in a few weeks, with all-breed halter classes), but after that... here we come hairy mare!

Foxtrot's
Aug. 22, 2009, 01:21 AM
Well, Misty Blue - thanks for sharing even if it was a little more than some of us needed to learn on COTH :) :) The darndest subjects turn into the funniest threads. I should learn to read them all, just in case I miss something really, really important.

Dazednconfused
Aug. 22, 2009, 01:34 AM
If your horse is dumb enough to hurt himself for want of a few whiskers, maybe that's a sign of natural selection at work. :lol::lol::lol: Unbelievable.

Coreene
Aug. 22, 2009, 02:09 AM
This broad brush a few of y'all are painting "Europeans" with re body hair is a bit too much generalization. Just an aside. Maybe your Tante Helga von Hanover has bushy pits and hairy legs, but most assuredly do not. :lol:

lewin
Aug. 22, 2009, 04:41 AM
Did anyone read the study that found that women were most repelled by the scent of close relatives, and that only women who were ovulating found the scent of men attractive? See armpit hair is useful! It keeps you from accidentally mating with relatives or when you are infertile. ;) Oh noes we are damaging ourselves for vanity!

Yes I clip my horse for vanity, just like I bathe her, sand her feet, buy pretty saddle-pads, and brush her mane for vanity. Bathing has just as much potential for damage than muzzle-clipping. All that water can strip the oils from her coat and dry out her feet I've heard. Now will someone please call animal cops before I clip Ambrey's and my horses muzzles again?

Heck some of my horses have eyes, ears, tails, and bellies completely hairless:

http://i264.photobucket.com/albums/ii193/tercesflow/seahorse/Seahorsies022.jpg

PaddyUK
Aug. 22, 2009, 08:33 AM
[QUOTEOf course, then, I always have to wonder: What Would Aunt Esther Do????[/QUOTE]

Waxing or Electrolisis. At the nearest Equine Spa.

Paddy

Coreene
Aug. 22, 2009, 08:54 AM
Aunt Esther would do nothing of the sort. Her grooms would have taken care of it for her! As for her own defuzzing, Aunt Esther would never, ever discuss something of such a personal nature.

AnotherRound
Aug. 22, 2009, 09:38 AM
As always, the soul of discretion and the source of reason.

grayarabpony
Aug. 22, 2009, 09:44 AM
Horses' whiskers have no function, but cats' do? :confused:

So what are whiskers -- Nature's vanity? :lol:

ridgeback
Aug. 22, 2009, 09:46 AM
Horses' whiskers have no function, but cats' do? :confused:

So what are whiskers -- Nature's vanity? :lol:

YEP

grayarabpony
Aug. 22, 2009, 10:00 AM
Of course whiskers have a function. They may not help that much, but they do serve a function, and so I leave them.

The next question is what to do with that mane???

ridgeback
Aug. 22, 2009, 10:25 AM
Of course whiskers have a function. They may not help that much, but they do serve a function, and so I leave them.

The next question is what to do with that mane???

Well we can agree to disagree on this one. If they serve a function it is so minimal it makes no difference:D Our appendix no longer serves a purpose nor does our tail bone so the docs say.

Hazelnut
Aug. 22, 2009, 10:46 AM
Mammals have tactile hairs on their face...eyes, muzzle...etc. There is more research in other animals as to the sensitivity and the animals use of these hairs...but equines have tactile hairs and we shave them off. Someone might have already said this. I have not read the thread since my last cryptic post on page one.

MistyBlue
Aug. 22, 2009, 12:31 PM
Horses' whiskers have no function, but cats' do? :confused:

So what are whiskers -- Nature's vanity? :lol:


Muzzle whiskers are feelers. However removing them does not affect the horse in a negative manner. They acclimate to the difference very quickly and the muzzle whiskers aren't performing a really necessary task anyways. Completely unlike cat whiskers...comparing any predator and any prey isn't ever a good analogy. The two types of animals are so vastly different you might as well compare humans and aliens...or humans and horses. :winkgrin: Cat's whiskers serve an important necessary function, horse whiskers do not. (adding in: do not perform a necessary function)


Highlighted for clarity. Never said horses' whiskers are completely without function, stated that their function is not a necessity. Which they aren't, as evidenced by the tens of thousands of horses who have their muzzle whiskers shaved off. None have had to change their lifestyle or have had it be detrimental to their health or safety in any way. Remove a cat's whiskers and watch what happens. My horses, although rarely shaved, haven't ever lost their balance, walked wonky, banged into things or gotten their heads stuck in anything if they're whiskerless. :winkgrin:

Coreene
Aug. 22, 2009, 12:44 PM
Dunno, Misty. Every time I shave Oliver's whiskers, he thinks he is Salinero and we spend a lot more time riding long and low.

angel
Aug. 22, 2009, 01:09 PM
If I am going to show, my horses are clipped within an inch of their lives. However, I no longer shave the inside of the ears. Learning experience! One night I had to ride an evening class, and as I entered the ring, a bug flew into my mare's ear. She started shaking her head, and shaking her head. Even though I pulled up, and scratched in her ear for her, it did no good, and I had to scratch the class. No more ear shaving for me!!!

MistyBlue
Aug. 22, 2009, 01:12 PM
Dunno, Misty. Every time I shave Oliver's whiskers, he thinks he is Salinero and we spend a lot more time riding long and low.
He's trying to stay below the radar. :winkgrin: :lol: :winkgrin:

angel
Aug. 22, 2009, 01:17 PM
By the way, last I checked, most men also have whiskers. Do you prefer your man with face hair or not? Does this affect them in any way to be shaved? I seem to remember in the Bible where it was the head hair that was not supposed to be cut!:lol:

ridgeback
Aug. 22, 2009, 01:18 PM
By the way, last I checked, most men also have whiskers. Do you prefer your man with face hair or not? Does this affect them in any way to be shaved? I seem to remember in the Bible where it was the head hair that was not supposed to be cut!:lol:

I vote for clean shaven just how I like my horses:winkgrin:

Ambrey
Aug. 22, 2009, 01:27 PM
http://i264.photobucket.com/albums/ii193/tercesflow/seahorse/Seahorsies022.jpg

But as long as you don't ride them BTV, you are OK with those ;)

Showpony
Aug. 22, 2009, 01:28 PM
Me too ridgeback! Clean shaven horses, men, and me!! I think long wiskers on horses (and men) looks awful. The one picture someone posted of the the horse with hidiously long whiskers looked terrible. I am a professional body clipper and hunter person so I am REALLY anti hair. I would be embarassed to go to a show, show horses to customers, or have public pictures of my ponies without being clean shaven. But that is just me. Hate fetlock hair too.

mypaintwattie
Aug. 22, 2009, 02:22 PM
I shave muzzle, bridlepath, ears, and fetlocks before a show, and then let them grow out a little before clipping them again. They never get too long or "au natural" since I show at least once a month. Even if I wasn't showing everything would be clipped since that's the way I was taught. I grew up riding H/J where it's the norm, then moved to 2 very BNT (think USET Olympic team members) dressage barns where it was the exact same thing- shave it all off! No horse ever seemed harmed by taking off their whiskers. Only time I didn't shave anything was when I cared for 2 icelandics- they must be left completely natural per their breed.

Mr.GMan
Aug. 22, 2009, 03:30 PM
I have always heard leaving them on helps protect from flies. Now, I believe the "feeler" theory. I trimmed, not totally off, but to about 1.5-2" long the whiskers of my gelding and trimmed his eyelid whiskers too(just as long as the muzzle ones above). Within a couple of days, he got his big head into trouble, sewing half his eyelid back on, and then his nostril(about a 1" section) got torn and had to be sewn back on the next day. My vet loved me that week!

TheHorseProblem
Aug. 22, 2009, 04:21 PM
By the way, last I checked, most men also have whiskers.

*Some* woman have a few whiskers also. Trust me, they are useless.

KBG Eventer
Aug. 23, 2009, 01:55 PM
I've been told it's illegal in Germany and viewed as animal cruelty.

I clip my horse's muzzle for shows :lol:. I think I'm the only one at the (dressage) barn. My horse doesn't act any different, and he definitely finds food just fine (if that's one of the concerns?).

Ambrey
Aug. 23, 2009, 02:15 PM
Boy can you imagine PETA/HS with animal control showing up on our door steps taking the horses because we have clipped the muzzles. :eek: Scary thought at what a law like that could do over cutting hair/wiskers. :no:

Brings a whole new meaning to the headline "64 horses seized from Arab breeder for neglect and cruelty!"

Tiligsmom
Aug. 23, 2009, 02:57 PM
Well...my friend read this thread and decided to go ahead and clip her mare's muzzle despite some of the drowning and head injury risks. :eek:

She arrived at the barn the next morning after she clipped her muzzle, wondering if she would find her mare still standing, and...to her relief... her mare was eating, drinking and showed no signs of head trauma or water in the lungs. Whew....injury avoided! :p

Fairview Horse Center
Aug. 23, 2009, 03:03 PM
Oh, what a cruel, heartless person she is. :winkgrin:

willowoodstables
Aug. 23, 2009, 06:14 PM
The North American versus European tradition can translate to body hair too LOLOL as in shaved pits versus non shaved pits ..sorry couldn't help myself!!

I clip muzzles, bridle paths ears etc to show and at home between shows. No bumped eyes etc, and doing up curb chains or nose bands with longer whiskers hurt them (or so they act) when pinched when buckles are done up. So I have clean shaven heads, pits and leg hairs LOL

spotted mustang
Aug. 23, 2009, 06:48 PM
The North American versus European tradition can translate to body hair too LOLOL as in shaved pits versus non shaved pits ..sorry couldn't help myself!!

I understand that a new wave of body-hair removal has now gripped the Europeans as well (at least the Germans). There was a recent article in the Spiegel about it. Apparently, among some German males it is now customary to shave off ALL body hair; that's right, ALL of it - head, pubic, armpits, limbs. One of my Mom's friends does this. He thinks hair is "gross", and he explained that he could never "do" it with a woman who has hair "down there".

I just don't get it. I prefer my mammals with hair. Washed and groomed, but with hair. If I wanted hairless, I would go mate with an earthworm.

TheHorseProblem
Aug. 23, 2009, 08:53 PM
I understand that a new wave of body-hair removal has now gripped the Europeans as well (at least the Germans). There was a recent article in the Spiegel about it. Apparently, among some German males it is now customary to shave off ALL body hair; that's right, ALL of it - head, pubic, armpits, limbs. One of my Mom's friends does this. He thinks hair is "gross", and he explained that he could never "do" it with a woman who has hair "down there".

I just don't get it. I prefer my mammals with hair. Washed and groomed, but with hair. If I wanted hairless, I would go mate with an earthworm.

Thank you for sharing that.:p

twofatponies
Aug. 23, 2009, 08:56 PM
You can always figure if a thread has gotten to more than 100 posts, it's either a trainwreck or hilarious! So I thought I'd check in and see which... :D

Janet
Aug. 23, 2009, 09:15 PM
To the original question.

My opinion is that horses that HAVE whiskers DO use them to a certain extent.

But horses that are kept trimmed do fine without them.

The problems come with horses that are used to HAVING whiskers get them trimmed.

Ideally, they should be kept long all the time or shaved all the time.

twofatponies
Aug. 23, 2009, 09:32 PM
Well...my friend read this thread and decided to go ahead and clip her mare's muzzle despite some of the drowning and head injury risks. :eek:

She arrived at the barn the next morning after she clipped her muzzle, wondering if she would find her mare still standing, and...to her relief... her mare was eating, drinking and showed no signs of head trauma or water in the lungs. Whew....injury avoided! :p

The BO shaved my horse's muzzle (and chin) one day when we were going to take pictures. I usually don't, but oh well. She didn't bump into anything either. It is easier to buckle chin straps and so on without snagging the hairs. I've left it grow out again, which looks silly - 1/2 inch stubble. :D

Fairview Horse Center
Aug. 23, 2009, 10:19 PM
I actually only clip my horses for shows, so they usually get done once or twice a year. The babies get done the first time usually at 3 to 5 months. They have never done anything different, find those udders easily, and never get a scrape. Put a halter on them though, and they totally think they can't nurse for a bit. Some get rather p*ssy with frustration. Makes me wonder just how foals nurse that wear halters all of the time. ;)

jej
Aug. 24, 2009, 09:45 AM
Hmmm... don't know about European horses or women!

I live in Canada, and ride an American Thoroughbred. We're both shaved and /or clipped. The custom of the country, you know! At least that's what I tell my coach!

Maren
Aug. 24, 2009, 10:53 PM
Interesting and entertaining discussion.

From what I could deduct in a quick search, there is no study out on the use of whiskers in horses. However, from other mammals, rodents in particular (because they're easy to investigate) we know that whiskers not only function with sensory input, but are represented in their own region in the cortex of these animals (known as the barrel cortex, first published in 1969). This barrel cortex is a part of the primary somatosensory cortex and displays an organized representation (or map if you will) that corresponds with the arrangement of facial whiskers on the surface. A certain set of neurons fires when one single whisker is moved. It is much like the visual cortex or other regions in the brain that show organization in columns, which is believed to be one of the fundamental underlying principles of how neuronal input is processed in the brain. Long-term removal of the whiskers leads to substantial sensory deprivation that often, thanks to a certain degree of plasticity displayed by even an adult cortex, can be substituted by other parts of that region (or gets lost entirely). Btw, much like the visual cortex at a young age (in rodents) - you deprive sensory input from one eye and you can see how ocular dominance shifts occur in a highly organized fashion in the visual cortex.

I think Janet has the best point: if a horse is used to a life w/o whiskers, and if indeed it has a sensory representation in a region similar to the barrel cortex (which has a very clearly defined function in rodents for example), then that horse is probably fine. In horses that are not used to having their whiskers removed, this may lead to problems that none of us are truly aware of right now. Who can say what we really do by messing with the delicate neuronal network? Just because there is no immediate and visible "bad reaction" by the horse doesn't mean we are free to go.

That said, I'm a European living in America, I shave (body hair is not whiskers, and I started that before I cam to the US ;-). I don't clip my horses, not in Europe, and not in the US. All facial hair stays, especially around the eyes (I have seen very bad injuries occur in freshly clipped horses that all of a sudden lost their whiskers around the eyes - 99% of them in happened later the lights went out).

And no, there is no law in Germany saying it's illegal to clip your horse. That definitely is myth!

Tiligsmom
Aug. 24, 2009, 11:13 PM
Interesting and entertaining discussion.

From what I could deduct in a quick search, there is no study out on the use of whiskers in horses. However, from other mammals, rodents in particular (because they're easy to investigate) we know that whiskers not only function with sensory input, but are represented in their own region in the cortex of these animals (known as the barrel cortex, first published in 1969). This barrel cortex is a part of the primary somatosensory cortex and displays an organized representation (or map if you will) that corresponds with the arrangement of facial whiskers on the surface. A certain set of neurons fires when one single whisker is moved. It is much like the visual cortex or other regions in the brain that show organization in columns, which is believed to be one of the fundamental underlying principles of how neuronal input is processed in the brain. Long-term removal of the whiskers leads to substantial sensory deprivation that often, thanks to a certain degree of plasticity displayed by even an adult cortex, can be substituted by other parts of that region (or gets lost entirely). Btw, much like the visual cortex at a young age (in rodents) - you deprive sensory input from one eye and you can see how ocular dominance shifts occur in a highly organized fashion in the visual cortex.

I think Janet has the best point: if a horse is used to a life w/o whiskers, and if indeed it has a sensory representation in a region similar to the barrel cortex (which has a very clearly defined function in rodents for example), then that horse is probably fine. In horses that are not used to having their whiskers removed, this may lead to problems that none of us are truly aware of right now. Who can say what we really do by messing with the delicate neuronal network? Just because there is no immediate and visible "bad reaction" by the horse doesn't mean we are free to go.

That said, I'm a European living in America, I shave (body hair is not whiskers, and I started that before I cam to the US ;-). I don't clip my horses, not in Europe, and not in the US. All facial hair stays, especially around the eyes (I have seen very bad injuries occur in freshly clipped horses that all of a sudden lost their whiskers around the eyes - 99% of them in happened later the lights went out).

And no, there is no law in Germany saying it's illegal to clip your horse. That definitely is myth!


Interesting extrapolation .... We now know that your pet rats won't do so well if you shave their whiskers. You Hunter folks who've been doing this for eons.....how are your old mounts dealing with life?

ridgeback
Aug. 25, 2009, 12:04 AM
Interesting extrapolation .... We now know that your pet rats won't do so well if you shave their whiskers. You Hunter folks who've been doing this for eons.....how are your old mounts dealing with life?

They are just fine:) :lol::lol:

Have you ever touched a cats whiskers and a horses? They aren't the same are they:no::no:

ridgeback
Aug. 25, 2009, 12:05 AM
Interesting and entertaining discussion.

From what I could deduct in a quick search, there is no study out on the use of whiskers in horses. However, from other mammals, rodents in particular (because they're easy to investigate) we know that whiskers not only function with sensory input, but are represented in their own region in the cortex of these animals (known as the barrel cortex, first published in 1969). This barrel cortex is a part of the primary somatosensory cortex and displays an organized representation (or map if you will) that corresponds with the arrangement of facial whiskers on the surface. A certain set of neurons fires when one single whisker is moved. It is much like the visual cortex or other regions in the brain that show organization in columns, which is believed to be one of the fundamental underlying principles of how neuronal input is processed in the brain. Long-term removal of the whiskers leads to substantial sensory deprivation that often, thanks to a certain degree of plasticity displayed by even an adult cortex, can be substituted by other parts of that region (or gets lost entirely). Btw, much like the visual cortex at a young age (in rodents) - you deprive sensory input from one eye and you can see how ocular dominance shifts occur in a highly organized fashion in the visual cortex.

I think Janet has the best point: if a horse is used to a life w/o whiskers, and if indeed it has a sensory representation in a region similar to the barrel cortex (which has a very clearly defined function in rodents for example), then that horse is probably fine. In horses that are not used to having their whiskers removed, this may lead to problems that none of us are truly aware of right now. Who can say what we really do by messing with the delicate neuronal network? Just because there is no immediate and visible "bad reaction" by the horse doesn't mean we are free to go.

That said, I'm a European living in America, I shave (body hair is not whiskers, and I started that before I cam to the US ;-). I don't clip my horses, not in Europe, and not in the US. All facial hair stays, especially around the eyes (I have seen very bad injuries occur in freshly clipped horses that all of a sudden lost their whiskers around the eyes - 99% of them in happened later the lights went out).

And no, there is no law in Germany saying it's illegal to clip your horse. That definitely is myth!

How often and how long does your horse go out a day when you lived in Europe and now in CA. Thanks

EiRide
Aug. 25, 2009, 12:54 AM
To the original question.

My opinion is that horses that HAVE whiskers DO use them to a certain extent.

But horses that are kept trimmed do fine without them.

The problems come with horses that are used to HAVING whiskers get them trimmed.

Ideally, they should be kept long all the time or shaved all the time.

I would agree with this based on one imported horse that a friend brought over from Europe. Came in the barn, got clipped, was very upset by his loss of feelers (not the clipping itself). He refused to eat or drink long enough to worry the vet. They have not clipped him again. :-)

BTW, he was a jumper, but is now full time dressage.

I don't pull manes, clip, or bang tails on anything not actively competing. I pull manes and muzzle clip the ones who compete.

Foxtrot's
Aug. 25, 2009, 01:56 AM
Couple of years ago I went to a racehorse barn in Calgary. There they threw the oats right into the stalls on top of the shavings. Somehow, the horses managed to glean the oats and separate every darned grain out of the shavings. No notes taken on how many shavings they ate. My eyes widened at this - they said the horses all managed fine and no doubt they all had their whiskers on for that feat of gastronomic expertise.

BTW the eye whiskers look absolutely beautiful to me. Would never remove them, the longer the better. I would pull mane, remove beard, whiskers, jowel hairs, fetlock hair and long ear fuzz if I wanted to present a horse looking its best and not like a woolley mammoth.

Gloria
Aug. 25, 2009, 11:18 AM
I'm not sure it's a valid comparison between rats, cats, and horses. Cats (and rats I believe) use their wiskers to navigate their environments in the sense that they don't get into holes too small for their body. If they can enter a hole that is big enough so their wiskers don't touch, they know they can safely enter without risk of getting jammed. As we all know that is different for horses. Horses don't live their lives getting into holes.:)

I'm not saying whiskers in horses do absolutely nothing. I'm just saying to compare what rats or cats do with their wiskers with what horses do with theirs don't seem valid to me.

As I said, I show hunter pleasures in addition to dressage and we body clip horses before shows to present a crystal sharp image. There are many show horses that live to their ripe old age without signs of negative effect.

mademoiselle
Aug. 25, 2009, 02:39 PM
I tried to stay away from that ... but I will bite.

I think that there is no questions that whiskers are useful for horses, not to the extend of cats and such, but they help them to feel their surroundings (food on the ground, water in a bucket). Obviously they can adapt and manage a perfect happy life without them but it doesn't mean that whiskers are useless.
Ridgeback, I feel that your arguments are not well chosen. Attack people who don't believe in shaving muzzles by telling them that they don't turn their horses out, is like comparing oranges and apples. It's not because people don't turn their horses out, that it makes it right for you to shave the muzzles. It just makes two people wrong ;-)

I, for example, turn my horses out (they go out at least 14 hours a day), some of my stallions are turned out with other horses and have a social life, and I still don't think that shavings whiskers is a healthy thing.
I have done it on one of my stallions to conform to the look and because my trainer goes nuts when I don't. I'm trying now, to leave him 'au naturel' and I feel better about it.

I think that the point saying that you don't need your appendix, so horses don't need their whiskers in not a good one either. If you really want to compare things, maybe you should see how it is to live without eyelashes. Can you live whithout them, no doubts. Are there cases where you wish you had them if you shave them, probably.
And to be honnest, if the whiskers clipped or not clipped is what the judge is going to look at to see which horse is going to place in front of the other, you are having the ride of your life.
In my experience, when I didn't get good scores, or pin O/F in the hunters, it was usually because I missed a change, or a distance, or that my horse was crooked in the leg yield, or whatever.
I never had a ride amazing enough, that the only comment the judge could come up with in the collective marks, was : 'nice pair, but would look better with a clipped muzzle'.

To sum it up, I don't think horses are in danger when you do it, I think they adapt, but I don't think it is without consequences either and so it's a question of deciding on how important look is for you.

Go ahead now, you can rip on me

Tiligsmom
Aug. 25, 2009, 03:01 PM
mademoiselle - There are consequences to everything we do, so that's a given and not a terribly useful addition to this discussion.

The question had to do with identifying harm caused as a result of shaving the muzzle. In this thread, there are 2 legitimate arguments for keeping muzzle hair: 1) If the horse is blind and they need additional/auxiliary ways of navigating their environment, 2) If the horse is new to an electric fence, the whiskers may help prevent a shock (although you do want a shock so they'll learn to stay away!). Beyond that I've read conjecture, extrapolation, and moral indignation.

No one here has said a horse will score higher with a shaved muzzle. Those of us who shave, prefer the look....that's all. We all have aesthetic preferences... If this thread had produced sound, solid fact that my horse will be harmed in some way as a result of my shaving him, then I would reconsider the practice. To date, I've not read any such evidence.

ridgeback
Aug. 25, 2009, 03:57 PM
I tried to stay away from that ... but I will bite.

I think that there is no questions that whiskers are useful for horses, not to the extend of cats and such, but they help them to feel their surroundings (food on the ground, water in a bucket). Obviously they can adapt and manage a perfect happy life without them but it doesn't mean that whiskers are useless.
Ridgeback, I feel that your arguments are not well chosen. Attack people who don't believe in shaving muzzles by telling them that they don't turn their horses out, is like comparing oranges and apples. It's not because people don't turn their horses out, that it makes it right for you to shave the muzzles. It just makes two people wrong ;-)

I, for example, turn my horses out (they go out at least 14 hours a day), some of my stallions are turned out with other horses and have a social life, and I still don't think that shavings whiskers is a healthy thing.
I have done it on one of my stallions to conform to the look and because my trainer goes nuts when I don't. I'm trying now, to leave him 'au naturel' and I feel better about it.

I think that the point saying that you don't need your appendix, so horses don't need their whiskers in not a good one either. If you really want to compare things, maybe you should see how it is to live without eyelashes. Can you live whithout them, no doubts. Are there cases where you wish you had them if you shave them, probably.
And to be honnest, if the whiskers clipped or not clipped is what the judge is going to look at to see which horse is going to place in front of the other, you are having the ride of your life.
In my experience, when I didn't get good scores, or pin O/F in the hunters, it was usually because I missed a change, or a distance, or that my horse was crooked in the leg yield, or whatever.
I never had a ride amazing enough, that the only comment the judge could come up with in the collective marks, was : 'nice pair, but would look better with a clipped muzzle'.

To sum it up, I don't think horses are in danger when you do it, I think they adapt, but I don't think it is without consequences either and so it's a question of deciding on how important look is for you.

Go ahead now, you can rip on me

Please give me consequences because 32 years in the hunter/jumper world I have never seen one...

Maren
Aug. 25, 2009, 04:13 PM
Ridgeback, you asked:

How often and how long does your horse go out a day when you lived in Europe and now in CA. Thanks


Our horses at home live in a 24/7 year-round full turnout barn and decide themselves when they go in and out. This is a breeding/training operation my family has run for many years and we breed, raise, train and show horses out of these living conditions up to CCI** level in eventing and the equivalent of 4th level in dressage and Level 6-7 show jumpers. Our babies are born in the herd and our retirees (we keep everybody, mare or sport horse until the end) live with the rest of the gang.

Since I live in So Cal, horse gets turnout every day in a sand paddock because the big luxury of grass that we have in Germany is non-existing here.

All with muzzle and all ;-))

mademoiselle
Aug. 25, 2009, 05:23 PM
Ridgeback,
Ok, so I'm going to try one example, then I'm done.

It seems that horses use the whiskers to feel their surroundings, particulary under their mouth where they can't see. It helps them to judge the distances, the type of material (soft, hard, liquid ...), bla, bl, bla... Think a little bit like the tip of your fingers in the total dark. You use your hands and fingers to not run into things. Well, obviously they use their eyes for most things and only rely on their whiskers for spots where their eyes can't see. Blind spots.

So, if you have been around horses that are blind from one eye, you know that many of them don't have any issues. I can tell you dozens of stories of them adapting and living a perfect life with only one eye (CCI**** horses going clean around XC, Grand Prix Jumpers, Granat the International olympic dressage horse).

If I follow your logic, here is the statement I could make
1) Most horses with one eye do just fine and don't show any side effect
2) Most horses have 2 eyes
3) Many show horses have had top level career with only one eye

Therefore, the 2nd eye on the horse is useless and doesn't really do anything
Therefore, for X, Z, Y reason we could remove an eye from any horse that is born and they would be fine.

And my answer, would be yes, you can do it, yes it's true that most horses don't show any signs of being bothered by having only one eye, but it still not making it ideal. Horses can adapt and live a perfect life with one eye or a clipped muzzle, but it is not natural.

And yes, I took that example to be very dramatic. And yes, I had a horse that was blind one eye and nobody knew it!!!

Alpha Mare
Aug. 25, 2009, 05:30 PM
http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20090824/sc_livescience/theappendixusefulandinfactpromising

After following this thread for a few days I have to say this was a very timely article on Yahoo. In case you have trouble with the link, the gist of the article is that the appendix probably had some use in earlier, less antiseptic days, is more common than Darwin thought among many types of animals, and may return to use with certain treatments for fighting infections.

The parallel to the face whiskers holds for me - probably of use to the horse, not a death sentence if removed but gives the horse more options if the horse is allowed to keep them.

My mares keep their whiskers but are trimmed fetlocks and under jaw, outside of ears (just to declare my stance in this discussion).

carry on

ridgeback
Aug. 25, 2009, 05:30 PM
Ridgeback,
Ok, so I'm going to try one example, then I'm done.

It seems that horses use the whiskers to feel their surroundings, particulary under their mouth where they can't see. It helps them to judge the distances, the type of material (soft, hard, liquid ...), bla, bl, bla... Think a little bit like the tip of your fingers in the total dark. You use your hands and fingers to not run into things. Well, obviously they use their eyes for most things and only rely on their whiskers for spots where their eyes can't see. Blind spots.

So, if you have been around horses that are blind from one eye, you know that many of them don't have any issues. I can tell you dozens of stories of them adapting and living a perfect life with only one eye (CCI**** horses going clean around XC, Grand Prix Jumpers, Granat the International olympic dressage horse).

If I follow your logic, here is the statement I could make
1) Most horses with one eye do just fine and don't show any side effect
2) Most horses have 2 eyes
3) Many show horses have had top level career with only one eye

Therefore, the 2nd eye on the horse is useless and doesn't really do anything
Therefore, for X, Z, Y reason we could remove an eye from any horse that is born and they would be fine.

And my answer, would be yes, you can do it, yes it's true that most horses don't show any signs of being bothered by having only one eye, but it still not making it ideal. Horses can adapt and live a perfect life with one eye or a clipped muzzle, but it is not natural.

And yes, I took that example to be very dramatic. And yes, I had a horse that was blind one eye and nobody knew it!!!

We can agree to disagree then...

Fairview Horse Center
Aug. 25, 2009, 05:41 PM
I, for example, turn my horses out (they go out at least 14 hours a day), some of my stallions are turned out with other horses and have a social life, and I still don't think that shavings whiskers is a healthy thing.

I have done it on one of my stallions to conform to the look and because my trainer goes nuts when I don't. I'm trying now, to leave him 'au naturel' and I feel better about it.


To sum it up, I don't think horses are in danger when you do it, I think they adapt, but I don't think it is without consequences either and so it's a question of deciding on how important look is for you.



So does that mean you don't bang tails on your stallions or show horses? Or is look more important to you than the consequesces of that. It goes without saying that pulling or shaving the TOP of the tail can actually be torture to a turned out horse. You don't do that either do you?

Does anyone on this thread bang, pull or clip the tail on their dressage horse because looks are more important? :eek:

:cool:

OH, and while we are on those outsides of ears, they have MUCH more use to the horse than whiskers. Anyone clip them? um, for vanity? ;)

(for the record, I clip muzzles, outsides of ears, and long bang the tail, but would never do the top of a tail on a horse that gets turnout.

ridgeback
Aug. 25, 2009, 05:53 PM
So does that mean you don't bang tails on your stallions or show horses? Or is look more important to you than the consequesces of that. It goes without saying that pulling or shaving the TOP of the tail can actually be torture to a turned out horse. You don't do that either do you?

Does anyone on this thread bang, pull or clip the tail on their dressage horse because looks are more important? :eek:

:cool:

OH, and while we are on those outsides of ears, they have MUCH more use to the horse than whiskers. Anyone clip them? um, for vanity? ;)

(for the record, I clip muzzles, outsides of ears, and long bang the tail, but would never do the top of a tail on a horse that gets turnout.

How about those people that choose to put their needs before a horses...meaning keeping one that can only be turned out in a small sand pit...I'd say they are doing more damage then those of us that turn out in grass fields and clip their muzzles...just saying:lol: Only pointing this out to the self righteous.

mademoiselle
Aug. 25, 2009, 06:21 PM
So does that mean you don't bang tails on your stallions or show horses? Or is look more important to you than the consequesces of that. It goes without saying that pulling or shaving the TOP of the tail can actually be torture to a turned out horse. You don't do that either do you?


No I don't ... My current show horse has a very, very high tail set and he would look really weird with a banged tail way over his hocks :eek::eek::eek:

And yes, with the bugs here, I would not want to pull the top of his tail, I would rather have him being happy in his pasture.


OH, and while we are on those outsides of ears, they have MUCH more use to the horse than whiskers.
Call me lucky but he is not furry and has almost no hair there, so I don't have to do it.

And no, as I said earlier, my horses are turned out, they don't stay in a sand box but in a luxh pasture and get plenty of 'being a horse' time. They are pampered, they look good, well I'm sure I'm biased, but I always have people commenting on how beautiful they look, ... and most importantly, they are treated like horses. They get filthy rolling in the dirt, they socialize with some buddies, they have a good horsie life.

Fairview Horse Center
Aug. 25, 2009, 06:30 PM
And no, as I said earlier, my horses are turned out, they don't stay in a sand box but in a luxh pasture and get plenty of 'being a horse' time. They are pampered, they look good, well I'm sure I'm biased, but I always have people commenting on how beautiful they look, ... and most importantly, they are treated like horses. They get filthy rolling in the dirt, they socialize with some buddies, they have a good horsie life.

Good for you!

Gloria
Aug. 25, 2009, 06:57 PM
Ladies lighten up won't you. For god's sake, it is whisker we are talking about huh? If I did not know better, I would think we were talking about life or death of our beloved animal or something. :eek:

mp
Aug. 25, 2009, 06:58 PM
Ladies lighten up won't you. For god's sake, it is whisker we are talking about huh? If I did not know better, I would think we were talking about life or death of our beloved animal or something. :eek:

Or mascara or something.

Fairview Horse Center
Aug. 25, 2009, 07:58 PM
I just returned from taking my horse for training with a German certified trainer and licensed GERMAN dressage judge. She wanted me to clean him up a bit, and specifically stated to trim his muzzle, etc. :lol: :lol:

I told her the internet chat said it was cruelty to animals in Germany.

She said she knows MANY German top level riders that trim muzzles. It, like here is a personal choice on what you like the looks of.

Good to hear it is not life and death in Germany. :winkgrin:

Coreene
Aug. 25, 2009, 08:50 PM
Or mascara or something.OH MEIN GOTT IN HIMMEL, has anyone tried Maybelline Stilletto mascara yet? FABULOUS. And this from a die-hard Maybelline fan of the pink one with the green top. Probably the same mascara, but FABULOUS brush that is just beyond divine.

Don't leave home without it. ;)

ridgeback
Aug. 25, 2009, 10:28 PM
Ladies lighten up won't you. For god's sake, it is whisker we are talking about huh? If I did not know better, I would think we were talking about life or death of our beloved animal or something. :eek:

I think you are reading to much into it...Everyone is fine:D

TheHorseProblem
Aug. 25, 2009, 11:10 PM
OH MEIN GOTT IN HIMMEL, has anyone tried Maybelline Stilletto mascara yet? FABULOUS. And this from a die-hard Maybelline fan of the pink one with the green top. Probably the same mascara, but FABULOUS brush that is just beyond divine.

Don't leave home without it. ;)

Mascara...is that something I'm supposed to wear?

Fairview Horse Center
Aug. 25, 2009, 11:23 PM
Mascara...is that something I'm supposed to wear?


Nope. :sleepy:

Ambrey
Aug. 25, 2009, 11:31 PM
Nope. :sleepy:

I put on mascara for my show. Apparently nobody was impressed :cool:

petitefilly
Aug. 25, 2009, 11:33 PM
Mascara...is that something I'm supposed to wear?

Only if your horse has really long eye lashes! Maybe you could get that new stuff Brooke Shields is pushing on TV ads to make your horse's eyelashes the toast of the town.

Some people don't shave their legs or armpits, now that's a fact.

:):):):):):)

EiRide
Aug. 26, 2009, 12:50 AM
Does anyone on this thread bang, pull or clip the tail on their dressage horse because looks are more important?

Well, I do not bang or clip the tops of tails. Everyone here has the tail they came with. :-)

I do clip muzzles on competing horses and I pull manes, but never touch the forelocks, ears, or eye-feelers. I do not clip or pull anything on any horse not competing.

texang73
Aug. 27, 2009, 03:29 PM
the whiskers are there for a purpose! they use them to feel the ground , etc.

most folks i know leave them on.... including me.

Ditto. I also leave eye and ear hair. I only trim a small bridle path. I do bang the very bottom of the tail.