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Can we talk about whiskers? Care to settle a debate?

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  • Can we talk about whiskers? Care to settle a debate?

    When I was growing up I made the mistake of trimming the whiskers down to the nubs on my very big fat cat. Poor kitty then proceeded to run into walls, refused to walk through doors..just not good. My mom thought the cat had some sort of bizarre neurological issue and called the vet. Lesson learned, leave the whiskers alone.

    So I flinch every time I see someone trim a horses whiskers. I am having a big debate with DD right now because the girls always want to shave off the whiskers on the horses. Personally I find them charming, but I all I get to that is "It's because you're old!". lol!

    Do you or don't you trim whiskers. I have proof on my side that it is a no-no, but no one listens.
    I Loff My Quarter Horse & I love Fenway Bartholomule cliques

    Just somebody with a positive outlook on life...go ahead...hate me for that.

  • #2
    I have always trimmed my horses' whiskers, inc. the ones above the eyes, as has everyone I know. It has NEVER been a problem.
    Last edited by Fluffie; Apr. 14, 2009, 09:40 AM. Reason: typo
    "And now . . .off to violin-land, where all is sweetness and delicacy and harmony and there are no red-headed clients to vex us with their conundrums."


    • #3
      We always trim them and it's never been a problem.
      No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill
      For Hope, For Strength, For Life-Delta Gamma
      www.etsy.com/shop/joiedevivrecrafts Custom Wreaths and Other Decorations


      • #4
        Are you my sister? When I was a kid, my younger sister cut the whiskers off of all of MY cats. I was furious. I had read that cat's whiskers are there for many purposes including gauging the space that they can squeeze thru.

        However, I've always trimmed horse whiskers and fetlocks, I couldn't own feathered horses like my friends. I know whiskers are to help them feel things on the ground when grazing but they aren't cute on horses like they are on cats.
        So my vote is: Trim horses, do NOT trim kitties.


        • #5
          I've always trimmed whiskers, never eyelashes (they seem like a strange thing to trim) and trim ears.
          "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"


          • #6
            I leave whiskers and ears alone. I DO trim the bridle path and jaw line, that's it. (FWIW, we don't do anything other than local schooling shows, so my guy doesn't need to be a fashion plate.)
            *friend of bar.ka

            "Evidently, I am an unrepentant b*tch, possible trouble maker, and all around super villian"


            • #7
              I have one horse who is not trimmed and hasn't been for years and I have another who stands on the line and is trimmed religiously with a 30 blade.

              Neither walk into walls nor approach water, hay, grass, grain or treats any differently. Horses have recently been discovered to not be a subspecies of felis householdus so we can all rest easy.
              Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.


              • #8
                I'm a trimmer

                I've always trimmed my horses' whiskers. I love the clean, neat look. The horses don't seem to be bothered by the lack of whiskers.

                Cats use their whiskers to determine if they will fit through small openings. If their whiskers don't fit through an opening without touching the edges, the cat knows that he/she will not fit either.


                • Original Poster

                  I remember reading years ago when I was kid (and yes, that was MANY years ago) that you shouldn't trim them. Now mind you I don't show, these are the horses the girls are going to be showing locally this year. Any trimming I do is strictly for practicality or health reasons. And I love the whiskers lol!

                  Well DD will be so happy to give me a big old "I told you so". I'm sure she will gloat all day long
                  I Loff My Quarter Horse & I love Fenway Bartholomule cliques

                  Just somebody with a positive outlook on life...go ahead...hate me for that.


                  • #10
                    I trimmed my cats whiskers when I was little and the cat was annoyed but seemed to go thru life in a normal fashion post trimming. No walking into walls or such. It sounds like your cat had more going on than just a simple whisker trimming issue.

                    Right now my horse looks like a shedding yak, facial hair and whiskers included. But he has spent most of his life with his face all clipped up and whisker free. No ill affects.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Trakehner View Post
                      I've always trimmed whiskers, never eyelashes (they seem like a strange thing to trim) and trim ears.
                      Just to clarify (in case this was a response to me--if not, just paranoid )--I don't clip the eyelashes (and have never heard of anyone who does); I clip the whiskers that stick out from over the eye. I guess they're kinda like eyebrows (?).
                      "And now . . .off to violin-land, where all is sweetness and delicacy and harmony and there are no red-headed clients to vex us with their conundrums."


                      • #12
                        I've always trimmed horses' whiskers and 'eyebrows,' and never had any problems. To give you two anecdotes: When one of my horses lost an eye, I quit trimming his whiskers thinking he'd have greater need for them. After, oh, 10 years of untrimmed whiskers, the barn owner's daughter trimmed them one day when she was tidying up her horses. Thought she'd be helpful. Made not a bit of difference to the horse. Conversely, an old mare I had, who had not had a trim in years, still managed to lacerate an eyelid on a bolt (she did have cataracts).

                        I trim the ears too, which is to say just tidying up the excess hair, not shaving the insides bald. They do need that protection in my experience.


                        • #13
                          Add me to the list that trims whiskers & eyebrows! I leave ears alone,except for neatening them up around the edges as I think the ear hair keeps her from freezing in the winter & stops the bugs in the summer.
                          Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!


                          • #14
                            I trimmed my big mare's whiskers one time -- for her breed inspection when she was three.

                            She was a mental wreck until they grew back. She would try to graze and bump her nose on the ground or get upset when long grass tickled her nose. She reacted with a start when her muzzle was touched, which made haltering and bridling exciting. So now I am in the 'no trim' camp. I lightly do ears and throats, but the rest stays.

                            "Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit."
                            - Desiderata, (c) Max Ehrman, 1926


                            • #15
                              I can't say I've ever noticed a difference in behavior due to trimming, but I don't trim mine. Of course, I don't have show hunters. Instead I have tbs that can pretend they're expensive, European-bred dressage horses (with whiskers).
                              The aids are the legs, the hands, the weight of the rider, the whip, the caress, the voice and the use of extraneous circumstances. ~ General Decarpentry


                              • #16
                                I wrapped an ace bandage around my cat's midsection once and he couldn't walk at all. It was hilarious!

                                But back to the question. I do muzzles and ears but leave eyes.

                                I could believe that the horse might use eye whiskers to tell how close to the wall they are in their stall or something. I could also believe that in the wild nose whiskers might help them when they live their life grazing on all sorts of different kinds of forage. When eating hay and grazing in controlled pastures, though, I think this probably isn't necessary.

                                And we don't do ears unless they are showing and they don't live outside, so we don't have too much trouble with bugs in the ears.
                                Originally posted by tidy rabbit
                                Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community.


                                • #17
                                  My big filly definitely uses hers, as does one of the QHs. The other two don't seem to notice one way or the other. But Maggie definitely bonks her muzzle if I trim her, and seems off put to have them gone. So she's rather goatesque as a result


                                  • #18
                                    Whiskers do make a difference. I have noticed that my horse (who is 2 years blind in his left eye) rely on his eye whiskers when navigating new places. He had them brush a doorway the other day and he reacted by pulling back about 6inches.
                                    I leave eye whiskers alone. It took me 2 years to trim his nose, and even then i trim it with a 7 blade so that he has stubble to feel around with. On the flip side of the debate i do trim his nose and chin because his long assed whiskers were getting tangled in my hands when putting his halter and bridle on, and he was unappreciative (yes loooonnng whiskers)
                                    chaque pas est fait ensemble


                                    • #19
                                      After 3 years of shaving everything on my horse for HB (plus 4 socks, blaze, belly spot), I have put away the clippers.

                                      I will say he doesn't seem to have all the scrapes & whacks on his head he had as a youngster. Part growing up, part having his full beard?

                                      I show in the jumpers with some adult eq & my horses live at home with pasture turn out at times so I don't clip them often (need fly protection). I do the bridle path & keep the long hair off the legs & trim around the outside of the ears to keep it tidy for shows.
                                      "I'm not crazy...my mother had me tested"


                                      • #20
                                        I guess having had TBs with not much fuzz, I am in the no clip faction.

                                        trim the puffs that stick out of the ears, but no further...and bridle path.