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Theories on when to clip the first time in a season

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  • Theories on when to clip the first time in a season

    My current theory makes sense to me, but it might not make sense to Mother Nature.

    This is the first year in a long time I have not clipped the beginning of October because of shows. But this year I won't need to clip until mid Nov., so I am holding off, in hopes that I can get by with only clipping twice.

    Now to my theory: I am leaving him nekkid to encourage the coat to grow quickly in hopes that the longer it is when I clip for the first time, the less winter hair he will have "available" to grow for the rest of this winter.

    Biologically, does this make sense? Does any given horse have X" of hair to grow, so if he is clipped after 1" has grown, then he will/can only grow 1" more?

    Or will a horse's coat keep growing depending on how cold he is, and not based on how much coat just got clipped off?

    This is coming up tonight because, for the first time it is going to get cold (in the 40's) and I have not blanketed any of the horses. None are clipped, so nature should kick into overdrive to keep them warm -- right?

    But the Mother in me wants to blanket them so they stay toasty warm.

    Does this make any sense?
    "He lives in a cocoon of solipsism"

    Charles Krauthammer speaking about Trump

  • #2
    Ok, so first of all, horse's hair doesn't grow because they are cold, it starts growing as soon as the photoperiod starts to decrease and grows as much as that horse is genetically prepared for it to grow.

    So leaving your horses unblanketed and cold wont help them grow any more hair than if they are nice and warm.

    Secondly, their hair is just like ours, the more you cut, the more it will grow. So the only advantage in not clipping as soon as they are furry is you are delaying the first clipping, thus by the time the winter is over they probably only had time to have it grow back a couple of times.

    Personally, I clip as soon as my horse has her winter coat, and it doesn't matter how soon that is (some horses are more sensitive to variations in the photoperiod than others). That means I've already clipped my mare twice this year, but at least I know she comfy while working and we'll have less issues with fungus and other nasty winter stuff.


    • #3
      I am clipping my guy this weekend - he grows a really thick coat - my sons' mares don't grow much coat - so I may not even clip them.


      • #4
        i am not sure...... i always believed that they would grow what they were going to grow no matter if they were wearing blankets or not.....

        now i am not so sure.... i have a Connemara that usually grows a very long and thick coat. He has lived outside and last year i clipped him as he was coming into training at 4.

        Now this year, he is in a stall and he is being sheeted at night when the temp drops.... and he is not getting the really fuzzy coat he normally would..... so..... ?

        i also know for a fact that a horses coat will grow as much as needed for the horse to stay warm - even if you clip the coat - if you were to leave the horse nekkid - that coat would be regrowing very very fast. this is have seen with my own eyes... i got a freshly clipped OTTB and while i blanketed her she was outside and she regrew her coat amazingly fast!


        • #5
          I don't know if encouraging hair growth now will make a difference later, I always thought that they grow what they grow.

          I clip end of October and again end of December/ first week of January. I usually notice that about a week or two after the second clip they start shedding anyway. But I have TBs, and the ones in work that get hair cuts (meaning not my old retired cushings guy) don't grow a significant coat anyway.
          Unrepentant carb eater


          • #6
            I find if I can wait until mid October to body clip I can get away with clipping then and then again in jan. When I have to clip for indoors in September, I end up clipping again in Nov and jan. Except for my young horse... his TB side means its jan before he has enough to bother with clipping.

            Your blanketing theory is not correct but not a bad idea either... horses with full coats do an excellent job of keeping themselves warm. My wooly one is overweight and on stall rest.... my weight loss strategy for him currently involves leaving him naked and hairy - he can burn calories staying warm ;-) as long as they have enough calories, shelter, and stay dry healthy horses with full coats don't particularly need clothes. Sometimes they are counterproductive for them!


            • #7
              I have blanketed my riding mare every year but she always seemed to grow quite a bit of hair under the blanket which meant I had to clip her several times.
              She never grew as much as the unblanketed wooly ones mind you.
              Last year, in an attempt to reduce the winter hair, I switched to a warmer blanket as soon as I noticed her starting to thicken up and went to a double blanket at a warmer temp than I used to.
              Even tho we had several bouts of -20 and more she had less coat than ever.
              So I proved to myself that I can reduce the winter coat if I blanket enough, gotta say it took more than I thought, at times she had a triple blanket.

              I think horse coat is much like our legs, regardless of how many times you cut it it just seems to know to regrow.
              Anyone who has had to clip to treat an injury will have seen this. Regardless of what time of year you clip it just knows to regrow.

              I don't agree with the practice but I know someone who blankets until the clinics are done then pulls the blankets.
              Even tho it is well into winter the horses grow a coat once the blanket is gone.


              • #8
                When my horse first arrived in Hawaii he grew a crazy coat, but he arrived in November from Oregon.

                The second year he also yak'ed out. Had to clip him 3 times that year.

                The third year he got fuzzy, but no where near what he'd done the first 2 years. I managed to get away with one clip, around November.

                This year he looks to be growing even less of a coat then last year.

                Our daylight does fluctuate, but there is only about a three hour difference between the winter and summer solstices. The temperature rarely drops below 70. So while the change of light does trigger the shedding of a summer coat and growth of the winter one, the actual length is probably controlled by too many factors to really plan for. Genetics, temperature, how acclimated to a certain temp the horse is, the hair fairies.
                For the horse color genetics junky


                • #9
                  [QUOTE=mbm;6596036]i am not sure...... i always believed that they would grow what they were going to grow no matter if they were wearing blankets or not.....

                  Now this year, he is in a stall and he is being sheeted at night when the temp drops.... and he is not getting the really fuzzy coat he normally would..... so..... ?


                  The weight of a blanket or sheet makes the hair lay flat and smooth so you "think" that they have not become as fuzzy as they would if you did not blanket, where as the hair would fluff up.


                  • #10
                    My personal theory is that the coat keeps growing until it reaches a certain length, which varies from horse to horse. If you cut it off, it will grow back until it gets back to that length. It will grow back more rapidly if you clip before the winter equinox. It will grow back really rapidly if you clip at the time of year when they are growing coat at a faster rate.

                    Thus, if you clip now you will probably need to clip again in another month. Or sooner, depending on your standards. When I have clipped mid-Oct for a show, I have had to clip again by Thanksgiving. And again in Feb-March if I start showing that early. At least in SoCal, if you can hold off until almost Thanksgiving or later you can get away with clipping once with some horses, depending on how much you care about their appearance in Feb-March
                    The Evil Chem Prof


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by nextyear View Post

                      The weight of a blanket or sheet makes the hair lay flat and smooth so you "think" that they have not become as fuzzy as they would if you did not blanket, where as the hair would fluff up.
                      true, a blanket or sheet does lay the hair flat - but i know the difference between flat fuzzy hair and flat not-so -fuzzy hair believe me..... he was a yak the first few years... literally... now he has a very medium coat. it is a big difference.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by mbm View Post
                        true, a blanket or sheet does lay the hair flat - but i know the difference between flat fuzzy hair and flat not-so -fuzzy hair believe me..... he was a yak the first few years... literally... now he has a very medium coat. it is a big difference.
                        You are right. Blanketing does make a difference. I have tested it in my own horse. It does inhibit coat growth. The whole "they only grow coat based on daylight fluctuations" thing is a myth. That's what causes them to grow a winter coat, period. But that is not what controls the extent of the coat.


                        • #13
                          I dunno... but I am trying like crazy to hold out until Halloween for clip #1. Most of the barn was clipping this weekend. I really, really, really only want to do it twice.
                          "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"