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How to Think Like A Horse: The Essential Handbook for Understanding Why Horses Do What They Do

Horse Stable and Riding Arena Design

Horse Owner's Veterinary Handbook (Howell Reference Books)

Horsekeeping on a Small Acreage: Designing and Managing Your Equine Facilities

- Clipping Your Horse -

Mane Thinning Trim Kit
Wahl Pro Series Rechargeable Cord/Cordless Clipper Purple

Laube Litening Two-Speed Clipper Kit BLACK

Fetlock Scissors

Folding Mane Thinning Comb

Oster Standard A5 #10 Coarse Blade

Kool Lube 14oz


Before you trim your horse, make sure that it is properly secured. If your horse acts up while clipping, have someone help by holding the horse on a lead rope. Trimming or clipping your horse can greatly improve the appearance of any horse, especially if he hasn't been blanketed over the winter! Every horse owner knows what a hassle it is to deal with a shedding horse. You can also pull your horse's mane to keep up with the clean appearance.

To clip your horse, you will need:

  • sharp scissors

  • metal mane comb

  • electric clippers

  • towel

  • clipping oil

    Pulling a Horse's Mane

    If you're planning on braiding your horse's mane, make sure you don't pull it too short to braid. It should be no longer than about five inches long; otherwise the braids will be very thick and tend to be unruly.

    You'll need a mane comb for pulling your horse's mane. This is a long, narrow comb with teeth close enough together to pull the horse's hair out. If you just want to thin your horse's mane, comb the mane with this every few days and it'll thin it out well enough. To make it even, though, you'll have to go to the work of pulling it. To do this, comb down one section of the mane, holding onto the longest strands with the non-combing hand. Brush upwards, and all the shorter hairs will bunch up near the crest of the mane, so that you will be left with the longest hairs still in your hand.

    Hold onto those hairs firmly, pull the hairs out with a swift motion upward. If you try to pull out too much, it'll be really difficult. Pull out several hairs at a time, and only for short periods so it doesn't annoy or hurt your horse. It helps to wear a glove on the hand that you're pulling the hairs out with so you don't get hairs cutting into your hand. If the horse you're trimming hates having its mane pulled, cutting it is acceptable as well. You can use a razor comb and cut the hair the same way - but make sure you cut the ends of the long hairs off from underneath to prevent a frazzled look.

    Cutting the mane with a pair of scissors is not always the best way to do it, but if it's all you know how to do, it's not too bad if you do it the right way. If your horse's mane is very long, you can cut it to within an inch of the length you want it, just blunt cut. Then take the mane, starting at the top, and hold the scissors so that the tips are at the bottom of the mane, pointing up towards the crest. Grab a small section of the mane, just a few inches, and clip it from straight up and down so that it gives the appearance of not being completely straight and flat. Make sure you get it even all the way down.

    Clipping Your Horse

    Bridle Path

    The bridle path is between the top of the horse's ears where the top of the bridle goes. Usually it's overgrown and if it's clipped a couple of inches, it can really snazz up your horse's appearance. Start trimming right behind the ears and sweep the clippers back towards the withers. Trim at least an inch, but about two or three inches looks a lot neater.


    Before attempting this, make sure your horse is properly secured or being held by a trusted friend. First brush down your horse's legs to make sure you get all the mud off, and never clip if your horse's legs are wet. That encourages hairs to get caught in the clippers and pull them out instead of cutting them. Using the clippers if your horse will tolerate it, start at the heel and comb upward, against the hair. Trim slowly so it is not left ragged. If your horse is really hairy, you can trim all the way up the leg so it doesn't look like it is clipped in one place only, like a poodle. :) Trim the hairs above the hoof as well to finish up the look.


    To trim the ears, hold the entire ear in your hand to absorb the vibrating of the clippers, which can really tickle the horse and make them not like clipping. Turn the ear inside out gently and trim the hairs down towards the base of the ear. Be careful not to nick the inside of the horse's ear when you're trimming the hairs at the base, where they grow in all different directions. Trim the edges of the horse's ear too, and you can even trim the hair at the top into a point to create a sharper look.


    When trimming your horse's muzzle, you have to make sure you get all the hairs. Clip each hair carefully, as close to the skin as you can without cutting your horse. To trim under the chin, pull the floppy skin under the horse's chin forward to straighten it out so you can get all the hairs. Trim under your horse's jowls too, so his muzzle isn't neat and clean and then there are two inch long hairs under the rest of his face. It creates a very neat appearance when all are trimmed.

    Back to the Horse Care page

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