As the days and nights become cooler and the autumn equinox comes and goes, the time is right to start thinking about clipping your horse. This will prove necessary if his workload is reasonably heavy and if he sweats during exercise. If cold sweat takes time to dry on a horse, it can lower his core body temperature and make it hard for him to keep warm.
If you own a competition horse, chances are you will clip him regularly during the year to avoid excessive sweating and to make drying off after exercise easier. Regular clipping throughout the year may also prove necessary with hairy ponies, especially those who suffer from conditions such as cushings, which cause an excessively hairy and heavy coat.
In such cases, it is best to consult an expert first on when and how much to clip, but once clipped, you should keep a close eye on the weather to avoid your horse or pony becoming too cold. Be aware that as soon as any horse has been clipped he will feel the cold, so rug him up to replace the coat he has lost.
For those with a moderate-to-heavy regular workload scheduled over the winter months, such as hunting or jumping, clipping will keep them more comfortable. In fact, for a horse that sweats after only slight exertion clipping is essential.
Once you have undertaken the first clip in the autumn, you may find that the horse needs two or three or maybe more clips through until January. It is said that clipping after the first month of the year is a bad idea as it will interfere with the growth of the horse’s summer coat, but as with all rules, this one is sometimes broken.
There are several reasons as outlined above, but to recap:
Image: Clipped polo pony by Dee Lite, public domain