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To Clip or Not to Clip?

Like just about everything in the horse world, the answer is “that depends on your horse.” Environment, management and personal preference all play a role in deciding whether or not to clip. Start by answering some key questions:


As in, who’s going to be responsible for dressing your horse? If you or your barn staff can’t check on your horse at least twice a day to make any necessary wardrobe changes, you should step away from the clippers and let your horse do his own thermoregulation.


That is, what will your horse be doing this winter? If he’s taking it easy, there’s no real reason to clip (we promise, he’ll look adorable all woolly!). However, if he’s regularly working up a sweat, having less hair will help him dry out quick and reduce the likelihood of him catching a chill.


Geography plays a factor since winter weather can be mild or severe in different parts of the country. But where your horse spends his time on your property is also a key factor. If he lives in a heated barn and rarely gets turned out, clip away! If he’s out in the elements 24/7, it’s probably best to leave him be. If he spends his time both indoors and out, choose the most conservative clip you can get away with, and then choose the appropriate blanket.


Most riders clip sometime around late September – October (resist the urge to carve a jack-o-lantern in his hindquarters!). If you’re planning on showing through the winter or in the early spring, you may want to clip again later in the fall. Just be sure not to clip after the winter solstice on December 21st. Once the days start getting longer, the increased sunlight cues your horse to start growing his spring coat (and you don’t want to clip that off!).

Types of Clips

A TRACE CLIP is the most conservative, removing the winter coat only in the most sweatprone areas, including the underside of the neck and chest. It’s a great choice for horses who spend most of the day outside and aren’t ridden heavily in winter.

The BLANKET CLIP leaves a “blanket” of hair on the back, which keeps the topline warm and the legs protected but removes hair in sweat-prone areas. This is a great choice for horses who receive regular exercise and also spend time turned out.

If your horse stays in full work all winter and spends most of his time indoors or in very mild weather, a FULLBODY CLIP is probably your best bet. It greatly reduces coolout time and keeps your horse looking show-ring ready all season long.

Clippers for Every Job


This ships free!
Oster Variable Speed Clipmaster

(30 reviews)
Oster Variable Speed Clipmaster: A great choice for clipping several horses.


This ships free!
Lister Star Clippers

(29 reviews)
Wahl Star Clipper: Don’t be fooled, this ultralight clipper is a real workhorse.


Andis Cordless Body Clipper
(5 reviews)
Andis Cordless Body Clipper: You can stop searching for outlets!


Andis AGC Super-Speed Clipper: Does full body and face/touch-ups.


For a quality clip job, snag these essentials before powering up the blades.

Clipper Blade Oil

(10 reviews)

WAHL Clipper Blade Oil

Blade oil is essential to prep your blades and to keep them running smoothly. It also extends the life of your clipper blades.

Andis Cool Care Plus

(7 reviews)
Andis Blade Care Plus

(3 reviews)

Andis Cool Care Plus & Andis Blade Care Plus

Andis Cool Care Plus cleans, cools, lubricates, and disinfects your blades while they’re still on the clippers. As an added bonus, the high pressure spray helps blow hairs out of your clipper teeth. After clipping, using Andis Blade Care Plus can extend the life of your blades by decontaminating the blades and preventing rust.

Blade Sizes

Andis #10

Leaves hair 1/16″ long. Great for the throat latch, legs, bridle path.

Andis #15

Leaves hair 3/64″ long. Best suited for clipping the face.

Andis #30

Leaves hair 1/50″ long. Ideal for trimming muzzle whiskers.

Andis T-84

Leaves hair 3/32″ long. This extra-wide blade is great for body clipping.

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