To clip, or not to clip, that is the question.

Every time around this year I grapple with this question. Part of me feels guilty for clipping away Chloe’s natural defense against the wind and cold, even though I know she will be blanketed (and sometimes double blanketed) and kept inside all night. Is it selfish of me to take this away from her just because it makes my barn routine faster? When she is clipped, not only is my time grooming her drastically shortened, but I also do not have to wait for her after-ride sweat marks to dry or wipe out before I re-blanket her and put her back in her stall or outside. As someone who is unfortunately always in a rush at the barn, the shaggy hair can really add a good 45 minutes (at least) to my visit. On my Horse Glam Instagram-story poll, I asked my followers if they clipped their horse in the Fall/Winter months. Of those who responded during the 24 hour poll, 60% said they opted to clip.

Every year I end up clipping her because ultimately it is what is best for her situation and her health. Chloe is typically ridden at least twice a week in the colder season and when she isn’t clipped, she easily works up a sweat. When her hair is longer, it takes forever to dry. A sweaty horse is different than a wet horse. Rain typically does not reach the horse’s air pocket layer and skin, but sweat is different. Sweat moves from the inside out.  A sweaty horse can lose body heat up to 20 times faster than a dry horse, which means the sweaty horse in the cold weather is very vulnerable to chills and illness. Another reason I like to clip her is that the weather is so volatile here in North Carolina that we can have an 80 degree day in December. That isn’t fair to her if she is unclipped and being ridden, or even goofing around in her field, which “Winter Chloe” has been known to do!

Since Chloe is not in a serious show program, there is no reason for her to be clipped extremely short (aka the surgical clip). I also think she could get away with a modified trace clip, where her legs and face are left furry, but the rest of her is clipped. This way the areas that are not blanketed (legs and face) will stay warm and the areas that get sweaty will not overheat or get too wet. I also occasionally have a design clipped into Chloe’s romp. I have done my Pony Glam logo a few times, most recently just the crown part of it. On my Horse Glam Instagram-story poll I also asked if anyone had clipped designs into their horse. Of those that responded, 25% said they have clipped designs. All the pictures I have included are from Horse Glam followers!

If you decide to clip, please be sure to blanket properly. I suggest using this app from Smartpak. It takes into account your horse’s age, stabling conditions, coat length, body condition and geographic location. The app is easy to use and even better, it is free!

If you have any fun clip design photos, send them to us!


**Andrea Wise graduated from Wake Forest University School of Law in 2007, where afterwards she spent 7 years as a commercial real-estate attorney.  In 2012, she launched the equestrian company, Pony Glam, which makes and sells the only colored hoof dressing for horses. She is also the voice behind the new equestrian lifestyle blog, Horse Glam. Andrea lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband, Zach, two young children, cat and horse, Chloe.

Andrea Wise
October 24, 2018