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Prepare Your Horse For Autumn

how to prepare your horse for autumn

A few tips on how to prepare your horse for autumn.

The colder weather of autumn and winter will soon be causing people across the UK to don warm coats, but now is also an important time to think about how to keep your horse happy and comfortable too. Horse owners across the country are getting out their Lister Liberty clippers along with their regular horse wormers to prepare for the season; here is a guide to what you should be doing at this time of year.


When to start thinking about how to prepare your horse for autumn

As soon as autumn comes around, start thinking about what your horse will be doing in the coming months. This is a crucial step in the autumn clipping process, as this is the time to decide what type of clip to go for and which horse clippers to purchase before carrying out the task at the beginning of October.

The importance of clipping

It is very important to remember that clipping is not solely a cosmetic task reserved for show horses. Horses will develop a thick coat for the winter season, but this can actually be a hindrance for a working horse that will inevitably sweat a lot.

A long coat takes longer to dry, leaving damp horses particularly vulnerable to the chills and windy drafts that come with autumn and winter weather; controlling the growth of this coat is an essential part of ensuring that winter weather does not make a horse ill. Clipping lessens the amount of sweat that a horse produces, therefore reducing the chances of them becoming damp, whilst also making it easier to dry them if they get wet. 

It is also important to remove hair from the underbelly as mud that forms in this area will dry and is easily brushed off short hair if it has not already fallen off. Clipping the under belly hair also makes it easier to see if the horse has mud sores, helping to make sure that your horse is comfortable and healthy throughout the winter.


Types of clip and clipping

There are a number of different types of clip to choose from. Those new to clipping will want to take a look at a few Lister Liberty reviews before choosing a clipper, and it could also be useful to purchase a starter pack such as the Lister Star Legato pack. If in doubt as to what type of clip to opt for, choose to remove slightly less hair and see how this suits the horse; once it has been clipped off there is no going back! If it would be better for a heavier clip to be used then you will know for next time.

Full clip

As suggested by its name, this is the heaviest clip and involves the coat being removed from the entire body. Only to be used for horses in hard competition work and no turnout throughout the winter.

Hunter clip

The entire coat is removed except for on the legs as far up as the elbows and thighs and on the saddle patch. Most suited to horses that will be stabled and in hard work.

Blanket clip

The coat is left long on the legs up to the elbows and thighs, on the top of the head and on the area of the horse that would be covered by a small blanket. Ideal for horses that are in medium work and are turned out during the day in good weather. 

Another version of the blanket clip is the chaser clip, which is essentially the same except that clipping is not carried out on the horse's neck, allowing the muscles on the top of the neck to be kept warm.

Trace clip

Hair is removed from the belly, across the chest, between the thighs and forearms and on the underside of the neck. High, medium and low trace clips can be given, depending on how high the owner wants the hair on the sides to be. Best for horses that are in moderate work and will be turned out during the day.

Drain pipe clip/Bib clip

A small amount of hair is removed from the chest and the front of the neck. Some people choose to extend this to the centre of the underbelly. This is the lightest clip and the best option for introducing previously unclipped and young horses to clipping. Suited to horses in light work that can be turned out throughout winter with suitable rugging on the coldest days.

Post-clip aftercare

After the first clip has been carried out, riders can feel free to don their Champion Ventair riding hat and Toggi boots and take the horse out throughout the autumn and winter, keeping the coat in check with regular clippings every three to four weeks until early February. Competition horses that receive a full clip will need to be clipped throughout the year to keep the coat at the correct length.

During the coldest of days in winter, it is important to make sure that the horse is still able to keep warm, particularly when outside. It is worth investing in a sheepskin numnah and extra rugs to compensate for the lack of hair, and the more of the coat that is clipped, the more important the need for rugs; fully clipped horses need rugging at all times. A neck cover or combo rug will be needed for horses that have their neck clipped.

Check back later for horse care tips for spring and summer too.



Source Details

How to prepare your horse for autumn -  A Mole Valley Farmers guide 

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