I have a small schooling show the first weekend of March. It's just a practice show, but all the big training barns in the area go to it and treat it like a real show. So that being said they all body clip their horses and make them look absolutely perfect. I'm an AOT and was 1 of 2 AOT's at the show last year. I don't want the big training barns looking down at me thinking I don't care about the presentation of my horse.
Last year I only clipped my horse's head and part of his neck, just so that he at least had a more defined shape to his head and didn't look so "backyard." Well... he looked kind of silly because he had long yak hair on the rest of his body, and the hair on his head/neck didn't even grow back a tiny bit like I thought it would have by then. Plus I gave him a bath so then his long hair was SUPER fluffy and just made him look like one of those little show cows when they fluff their hair up.
If he didn't have an open run then I probably wouldn't mind body clipping him for this show. However, he has the choice of being outside whenever he wants to be and March can still be pretty nasty outside.
So I either body clip him and make him look neat and presentable like the other people going, or I leave him with his winter coat and only trim up around his face and legs and hope he doesn't get so sweaty while working there that his hair gets gross and matted. WWYD?
Or are there any ways to get his hair to shed out a bit before then so that he is at least not super hairy, but still has some hair for the weather?
If it were me, I would clip like you did last year and piss on those who look down on you for it. It's a schooling show, not a national championship, and your horses turnout situation is such that he would benefit by keeping the majority of his hair.
"If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."
I think his winter coat is lovely, and if you want it to lay down better, put him in a full slinky, then a sheet over that to flatten it down a little and shine it up. I wouldn't shave his head and throatlatch either since it's such a different color underneath. Just trim the long hairs under the chin, on the fetlocks and muzzle, and bridlepath! Start a new saddleseat trend!
I was going to say blanket him to slick him up, but I wouldn't necessarily go to the expense of a full body slinky. A decent weight blanket for several days prior (as long as he does not sweat) should do the trick.
I am a clipping fool. But you know what? If you feel that you can keep your horse's coat slick (use blankets to flatten it down and good grooming) and you don't feel that he will get too sweaty doing his job, I think you would be perfectly fine not clipping for a schooling show in March. I don't even think you need to do his head. Just trim it up so he doesn't have a yak beard. Good luck!
salymandar, I must admit I'm not a clipping fool haha. I have never body clipped a horse before in my life. That's why I made this thread a month and a half in advance in case I decided to body clip. Then at least it would have a month to grow back in a little bit.
I guess my main hang up was just that I don't want to feel out of place. Being one of the only AOT's at the show makes me feel like I need to be even more on my game so that people don't look down at me and think "what is she doing here?" If I could get over that type of thinking then I'd be good!
If you are going to clip him then I'd at least do something that looks like it was meant to be a working clip for a horse that got a little sweaty but not very sweaty. I wouldn't do a body clip especially if you aren't going to show him again until it gets warmer or if you don't want to keep a blanket on him all the time.
I don't know what an AOT is or whether or not clipping vs. not clipping is the best option for you or your horse, but my hackles go straight up in horror when people spend even 15 seconds of their time worrying that someone might "look down on them" for making a good horsemanship decision. For a schooling show! Yikes.
Personally I like a partial clip, and always try to err on the side of clipping less. You can always take off a little more, but you can't put it back on.
If it were me, I would clip him and blanket him for the remainder of the winter.
Think about it, he'll feel much happier working without all the yak hair, and you'll feel wonderful showing your horse beautifully clipped.
This is my feeling, too. I have had many horses live out fully clipped. You just rug them up and they are much more comfortable (and attractive) in work. I actually have an older guy who goes out at NIGHT year round who is fully clipped. I just make sure I keep him bundled up.
...but my hackles go straight up in horror when people spend even 15 seconds of their time worrying that someone might "look down on them" for making a good horsemanship decision. For a schooling show! Yikes.
Haha, it's just my personality I guess. I want people to take me seriously. I've never had a really bad experience with the BNT's at shows. They are usually really friendly and helpful. But because all the BNT horses are body clipped and dressed to the nines, I feel like I have to as well in order for them to look at me as real competition. It's dumb because I shouldn't care if other people are looking down on me. That shows more about them than it does about me for not clipping my horse for a schooling show.
Here is the problem though. I don't have a hood for him if I do body clip. I only have a blanket w/o hood. I guess I could buy one, but I don't exactly have extra money for something that may only be used a handful of times.
So leave him with some fur, do a superb partial clip, and make sure he's absolutely gleaming everywhere. A nice clip is beautiful, and (IMO) reflects thoughtfulness for one's horse on the days he's NOT competing.
You don't need a hood. While a nice addition, it isn't vital. None of ours have hoods, and they go out all day or all night and are fine. If the back and chest are warm and protected, those are the important parts.