With a plethora of horse clippers on the market, anyone new to giving their horse a haircut can feel totally confused about what to buy. But by following our top tips, you should end up with a product that is right for both you and your horse.
If your horse is relatively calm and you aren’t worried that a dangling electric cable will either spook him or be a trip hazard, then clippers that plug into mains electric will be a good choice. Ensure, though, that they have a long enough lead to reach up to the horse’s head from the extension cable.
If there is no electric facility where you are clipping your horse, a cordless device will be the answer. This kind of horse clippers run off a battery, so it is important to ensure that this is fully charged before use.
Many horses don’t turn a hair at being clipped, but some fidget and get particularly nervous when approached with noisy clippers. It is, therefore, essential to try before you buy, checking to see if they emit a quiet hum or a horrific buzz.
Clipping a horse can take anything between one and two hours, so check the weight of the clippers you are buying before you hand over your credit card. What can initially seem light, after more than 60 minutes in your hand can feel like it weighs a tonne. Additionally, assess how well the horse clippers fit your hand. If you have small hands, a product with a wide diameter grip will quickly feel uncomfortable and could give you hand cramp.
You may only have one horse at the moment, but things might change in the future, so when you invest go for heavy-duty clippers that will enable you to clip more than one horse in a day. A native horse or pony or a cob, for example, will have a much thicker coat than a sleek Thoroughbred and so you need clippers that are fit for the job in hand. Bear in mind, that light-duty horse clippers will be suitable for no more than a bib clip.
Some horses will become agitated if you try and clip their head and face with large, noisy clippers, so you may find it worthwhile to invest in a small pair of quiet trimmers.
As with anything in life, you get what you pay for, so don’t assume that a cheap pair of clippers will necessarily be up to the job. Also, while you may be able to snap up a fantastic second-hand device, you may be unlucky and be sold a dud — horse clippers that haven’t been well maintained and that are nearing the end of their shelf life are guaranteed to do a shoddy job.
If you haven’t clipped before, it might surprise you to learn that your clippers will need oiling regularly — around every two to five minutes. Generally, they will tell you when they require oil as the tone of the motor will change. Also, if you think that the blades are becoming blunt, send them away for sharpening. Never put blades away blunt as spring approaches because they then won’t be ready for that vital first autumn clip.