The groom in me would love to clip him. He's a big, woolly mess and I would love to see what he looks like under all that coat. But he's been through some huge changes in the last few weeks (death of his companion, moving here, etc), and hasn't been clipped in so many years, that I think I would just send him into a swivet.
Besides, my going horse seems to need ALL the blankets...I don't know if I could afford to keep them both as bundled as they need want.
I waited until spring and then clipped him! During the winter I just dealt with that fact that he was going to look nasty.
Be aware that your regular body clippers may not be able to get through the curly hair. As my guy got older I actually had to use sheep shears to get the worst of it off. Then I would bathe and go over with my regular body clippers.
Our Cushings Pony had the exact same coat, thick, coarse and curly like wool... impossible to groom and combine that with dandruffy dry skin... poor thing. I DID resort to a modified clip that removed the longest guard hairs and curls only, not his whole coat. That helped a lot. And this year our vet switched him from compounded Pergolide to Prascend tablets -teeny pink tabs that melt instantly in warm water. Easy to use and he grew an ENTIRELY different coat this winter. It's still thick and lush, but NOT coarse, NOT curly, and not long. I haven't clipped him this year. He also seems to have a major shed in late January, after which he grows a more normal coat in...strange.
If you don't want to clip now, I'd start with the round curry with the long pointy tines. That should be able to break up some of the hard hair-gel places. Then I've vaccuum the !@#$ out of him. If your vet is wet/dry, you can then bath him in small sections then suck all the water off with the vaccuum. Just keep a cooler over the rest of him while you work.
I would just deal with the fur for now, then once spring comes, Zoom! Clip it all off. That's my plan. I look at my furball pony and cringe, but I do keep a sheet on her if its sloppy out, we get pretty mild winters (only going into the teens a handful of days) so she is warm enough.
In spring, I cannot wait. She is getting a head-to-toe clipping makeover.
I used the hairbrush on him yesterday a little bit (well, a dinky little hairbrush that was in the yucky grooming bucket in the storage shed of his run in...I have a big paddle brush with his stuff). It DID help and I was able to break up some of the curls and get his coat to fluff again. Now, I'm sure as soon as he gets wet again, they'll stick back together, but at least I have a tool now!
He IS shedding, which is good to see. But I'm sure I'll still end up clipping him sometime this spring. Even as a young man it took him a long time to let go of all that hair...and usually he was getting fluffy in August. Back when he was still competing he was usually the first or second horse to get clipped ever fall. Whatever horse was going to the the early October three day, then Neigh