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Trace or Full body clip?

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  • Trace or Full body clip?

    Hello everyone,

    I'm at the point where I cannot stand my guy's long fuzzy bear coat any longer! It is definitely clip time, so I have started debating which route to go.

    Throughout winter, he will be in medium to heavy work. Probably 3-5 days a week? This includes flatwork and jumping.

    Also, it is worth mentioning that he gets an EXTREMELY heavy coat. When I say he is like a little wooly bear, I am not kidding. That is the problem I keep coming back to when I think of doing a trace clip. He still sweats a lot on his back under the saddle, and if that area isn't clipped, it will still be a problem. He also has an assortment of heavy blankets and lightweight sheets, so blanketing isn't a problem.

    I've only clipped him once before during the winter, and I had a friend of mine do it. We went with full body, and he had to be knocked out (so I'm not sure how this is going to go, anyway!). He's gonna be sober this time.

    Advice? I am not sure which clip is the best option for us right now.

    Thanks everyone!

  • #2
    Try this link -all sorts of different clips that might fit the bill



    • #3
      My mare gets super fuzzy in the winter too. I usually do a full body clip. I have attempted a trace on her a few times but just give up and do a full clip. For one, it is easier!! I don't have to worry about making nice neat lines that sort of match on both sides. (Though I tell myself that there is no way to see both sides of the horse at the same time to know that they match exactly!!) I also found the one time I did do it, she still got too sweaty even on the furry parts for her to cool out and dry quickly enough to put away. She lives out all all year around, BTW.

      I used to do my clips with a regular pair of OLD Oster clippers. I use a 7F blade since it is just a bit longer than a 10. Though it doesn't come as wide like you can find 10's in (though I have never used a wide 10). It would take me about 1-1/2 hours to do my 17.2 hand mare. My lovely husband bought me a pair of the big Osters a few years ago. It takes me a bit less time with them. Maybe an hour or a bit less?

      She has gotten pretty good about it now after being clipped several times easch winter for multiple years now ;-)

      I have OTTB that is a royal pain the butt to clip. He isn't afraid of them, he just DANCES, non-stop. I sedate him for my piece of mind, and his survival!! (I am a vet so I have the luxury of having easy and immediate access to good drugs. Others have go thru their vet which I know is a pain the butt. BUT Dormesdan is now available as an oral paste, in case you weren't aware of that. Talk to your vet if you are interested in that option?)

      SInce my mare lives out all year, after I clip her she of course in a blanket. I have heavy wt Rambo that she wears. I am in OK and the temps in the winter can range from 50's to as low as occasional single digits. When clipped she does well in that temp range even in a blanket this heavy, at least in a Rambo. But can't comment on the breathablity in that wide of a temp ranges for other brands of blankets.

      And... if you start with one of the clips and don't like it you, you can change your mind. If you trace clip now and find it isn't enough, just take the rest off. If you full clip and find it is too much, when you re-clip him in later, just do a trace. So remember, you CAN change your mind. It isn't a perm decision. ;-)


      • #4
        Originally posted by MeghanDACVA View Post
        And... if you start with one of the clips and don't like it you, you can change your mind. If you trace clip now and find it isn't enough, just take the rest off. If you full clip and find it is too much, when you re-clip him in later, just do a trace. So remember, you CAN change your mind. It isn't a perm decision. ;-)
        I always start with a bib clip, move on to a trace and then, if it's not enough, clip higher up.

        I'm lucky in that my horse seems to enjoy the clipping. I usually clip him out in the field using my cordless clippers. It must tickle him because he will try to "groom" me in return.
        Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
        EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


        • #5
          full clip is easiest. : )
          Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


          • #6
            My guy has the same problem- sweats like it's 90 degrees all winter. I tried a traditional trace last year, but it didn't really seem to help other than the under-chest area. I still spent 30 min+ cooling and drying him.

            I decided this year to do a build-your-own trace...I'm going to body clip him from bottom of neck back because he lives outside and I don't want to buy a huge blanket with a neck warmer. I'll keep an eye on how that works out, and if I think he still needs less fuzz come Januaryish, I'll break down and buy the neck warmer, and do a full body clip.

            Luckily I don't show in the winter time. He's going to look like a science project
            The best is yet to come


            • #7
              Full Body

              I say full body. Based on your anticipated work program this winter, you'll appreciate the added time you can spend riding and enjoying your horse, and not 30 minutes attempting to dry him off and cool him out afterward. I spent the first years of my body-clipping life with my TB mare Willow - she of the silken hair - and the hunter clip was good for her, probably because she didn't have crazy-hairy legs. My TB gelding Rhodes was like me - hirsute in the leg department, and while I experimented with hunter clips on him, he almost always looked like he was wearing UGG boots. And honestly, once I clipped his legs and realized how much easier it was to dry him off and keep the winter funkies at bay (as well as, more importantly, being able to palpate tendons and keep track of his limb status throughout a winter work program) I sucked it up and just committed to clipping legs as part of the protocol. If you do legs in the fall, you can sometimes get away with just doing the hunter clip in winter/spring.
              When blood is the beverage of choice, the sharpest fangs feed first.


              • #8
                So far I have just done a narrow-necked bib. Last night, after a light (walk trot) workout flatting, it took a half hour for the rest of his neck, belly and chest to dry. Ugh.

                I am going to take some more off the neck this weekend I think. I'd like to come up with some kind of clipping pattern that leaves shoulder hair where horses often get a blanket rub...if that makes sense. This is my first winter with this horse and he has a new blanket, so I have no idea if this will be an issue or not.

                Wondering if anyone has ever done anything like that?
                DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/


                • Original Poster

                  Thanks for all the feedback, guys!

                  At this point I'm leaning towards the full body clip... but I'm thinking of leaving his legs and possibly head still hairy. Does that still count as a full body?


                  • #10
                    I do a steeple chase clip--or variation thereof.

                    Only one line....you run a diagonal line from their withers to their stifle--and take off all the hair in front. So all the hair off their neck, belly, shoulders and part of their side. It is like leaving a quarter sheet of hair on them (and hair on their legs). Takes no time at all to do. I find it keeps them as cool as a full body clip i.e. if they are sweating, they would have been sweating with a full body clip.

                    Then I will fully clip them before spring.

                    I almost always leave the hair on their legs unless I'm heading south...then I debate and sometimes take it off.

                    Clipping the hair off their head is a big thing for cooling them...plus, if you don't, they look funny. If they are bad though...you leave it (or just do part of it--check bone and below and leave the hair on their ears and front of head but they do look a little funny).
                    ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


                    • #11
                      I think climate/environment plays as big a part as workload. Is he inside at all? Shelter outside? Heated or no heated barn? Average temps in your area?

                      I have always done a trace because my horses lived in a barn that was just as cold as outside, and had no shelter outside. They have extreme collections of blankets, but since it can get down to -40C with the windchills, even when being in hard work 4-6 days a week I couldnt take more off.

                      This year I have since moved to a place in a valley so less wind, and a heated barn, and the Novice-but-getting-ready-for-Training horse has a hunter clip. Sooo much nicer, but I just never could have done it before without doing him a disservice.


                      • #12
                        I always do a full body-that way, there is no wondering about what clothes they need. They need all of them!
                        I leave legs hairy. I do faces only as far as the cheek bones. Everything else goes.

                        I always have had to drug this horse to death and then have 3 of us zooming the clippers over him so we could get him finished before he showed any signs of life. He's been on stall rest this month and I am working on clicker training him to the clippers. After only 5 days of clicker work, he has gone from shaking and snorting at me from the back corner of his stall to standing on the cross ties with the running clippers going over his whole body. If I had the blades in, he'd be clipped by now. Maybe you want to give the clicker a try before you enter into the clipping battle!? It really is quite amazing.
                        Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.


                        • #13
                          I always do a blanket clip on my fuzzy beast. He looks quite strange (to me, anyway) with just a trace clip, so I take all the hair off the neck and chest and leave him with a "quarter sheet" of hair. I also clip half the face - I clip the undersides, and leave the front of the head alone.

                          But Purp said it best - full clip is the easiest since you don't have to worry about taking off the hair evenly.
                          "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

                          So, the Zen Buddhist says to the hotdog vendor, "Make me one with everything."


                          • #14
                            I second bornfree's suggestion. I used that clip on my gray mare last year and will do it again this. She lives out (with shelter available) unless the weather's really nasty. But we can have very warm winter days in South Central Texas and that steeplechase-type clip (which I found in the Horse Journal a couple of years ago) was very good for her and our variable weather conditions.


                            • #15
                              For the amount of work he will be in and the kind of coat you are describing and the fact that he sounds like a sweater, you'll be better off with a full clip. They are, actually, the easiest, and the easiest to maintain, blanket wise (like Pol said, never any doubts!).

                              Speaking of winter skin funk, I've come to the realization that when I clip Vernon AGAIN in a few weeks, the legs are going to have to go. Anyone have a hockey mask I can borrow???


                              • #16
                                I fox hunt all winter (southern OH and Northern KY), sometimes galloping hard, but I also like him turned out as much as possible all winter (with blankets). What I do is:

                                Early Oct - full body, everything above the elbows
                                Approx early Dec - trace
                                sometimes one more trace late Jan
                                mid Feb to early March, depending on weather - back to full body

                                Mine does not get as wolly as yours sounds.


                                • #17
                                  Confucius say: you can always take more hair OFF, but it's harder than heck to put it back ON.

                                  Clip some, observe, clip more if you need to.

                                  Personally I like the look and functionality of a modified 'chaser clip--draw a straight line from the throatlatch to the stifle, clip everything underneath except the legs. Looks awesome and turns out to be just the right amount for me and mine most of the time.
                                  Click here before you buy.


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Thanks everyone!

                                    It's been a few days and the verdict is... full body! I clipped him on friday night, so there's no going back now. He was actually a complete angel without any drugs whatsoever. I didn't even have to hold him - he stood there and ground tied like a perfect angel. I was so impressed!

                                    I did leave his legs hairy and his face somewhat, but other than that he's totally bare. And let me tell you, after riding yesterday and having zero sweat to deal with, it was wonderful!

                                    Thanks for all your input and advice, everyone!


                                    • #19
                                      For those that haven't clipped yet, I always leave a small "saddle pad" unclipped. And, if you're going to leave anything unclipped, or try to make a line, etc, get yourself a silver perm marker to draw the lines on a dark horse, black perm marker for a gray, its saved me from doing the "even up the right side/even up the left side" dance many times!
                                      I used the dormosadan oral gel and found it helped quite a bit. I also prepped my suspicious youngster with about a month of clipper prep that started with turning the clippers, but leaving them a good distance away, for every grooming session.
                                      I did a full body clip, leaving a small saddle pad, but I did the legs one day and the rest of the body two days later to break it up.


                                      • #20
                                        sounds like I did a variation of the 'chaser clip but I kinda tweaked it a bit. I did it about 10 days ago and it's been great! I ride 5-6 days a week and he gets pretty sweaty but dries fast with this clip. Both of my horses are out 24/7 with free access to their stalls (though they rarely go in them in the winter - summer yes, to stand by the fans, but winter, no). He is well blanketed at all times when it is chilly. I'm obsessive since they are right here

                                        A pic of my clip: