Alright COTHers, I want a single, definitive answer on this- is there any point during late winter/early spring that it is "too late" to clip?
I'm hearing everything from it's okay to clip before they've started shedding, it's okay to clip before mid-february because of the changes in daylight, it's not okay to clip post-december, and that it's just hunky dory to clip any ole time of the year.
The horse in question is a light grey TB mare living in southern New England. At her old barn she had 24/7 access to a four-sided shelter but was never kept in, accompanied with less blanketing earlier in the season than I would have appreciated she is now a wooly freakin' mammoth. She has now moved to her new barn and will begin working again (thanks, indoor!), and I cannot imagine that especially once work increases so wont the sweat level....
Assuming everyone says I can go forward with clipping (please, please do- she is a YAK I tell you!) which clip is appropriate? I'm kind of stuck between a high trace (she tends to sweat most in those areas) and just going in for the kill and doing a full. I have many blankets for her... light turnout, turnout sheet, medium turnout, medium stable, heavy turnout, a bit heavier turnout, medium-heavy neck cover, and probably more fleece liners/cotton sheets than is appropriate. She gets full day turnout with shelter and is a nice tight barn at night. She's just starting back into work now, but will be going (even if just lightly initially) 5-6 days a week.
Oh an one last thing- anyone want to clip her for me?!
The reasoning is that the summer haircoat is well on its way, and that clipping now is removing some of that. Haircoats change along with length of day, unless you keep the horse under lights, and then it's a different game.
Obviously, many here clip whenever.
Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.
You can clip whenever you won't and it won't matter. The only thing it could change is if you did a partial clip like a trace then sometimes there can be a slight color difference. I have clipped in May and my horse has gotten a beautiful, shiny summer coat both times I did it with no extra work on my part (I don't even clip clean!)
If you have some shows coming in a month or two and you can handle the additional blanketing then maybe consider a full clip. I only fox hunt and in a few weeks I will redoing the trace clip on my mare and taking off more hair. I don't do a full clip because I hate to be married to a rigid blanketing routine.
I have been a professional clipper since I was 15 and I have clipped horses as early as September & as late as July. I can't think of one of my clip jobs turning out poorly because of how late or early in the season I clipped. In fact I clipped my own mare last April the morning of a show & her summer coat was just as shiny & full of dapples as the year before when I didn't clip her at all.
I would clip. The sunbleaching probably would not reach the part that would be left from clipping. If I was showing in March (There is a show at the end of March I often go to) my horse would be clipped for that.
My friend has a bay Fresian cross mare. She has had trouble with anhydrosis. She grows a fairly thick coat. She usually has her clipped about 3-4x per year. She was clipped in the fall, will be clipped again probably mid-March, and usually at least once during the summer. Her coat is always nice and shiny. I usually clip my chestnut TB mare around mid-March to get away from having to deal with shedding, plus we start doing clinics and some schooling shows so it easier to cool her out and keep her clean.
Clip. My daughter clipped her fuzzy mare this weekend, and maresy is SOOO much happier without all the fur. Daughter got on bareback and mare arched her neck and pranced around the arena. Of course she may be thinking we are getting her ready for a show too lol.
I'm clipping my MOOSE tonight! He's a clyde/tb cross and has about 1.5" of hair all over his body. I won't even begin to tell you about the feathers on the legs...and the "angel wings" on both sides of his bum
With the temps being 30 degrees one evening and 65 the next...the hair has GOT to go!