Horseback Riding Book

What is Clipping and Why Do It?


Unless he’s clipped, more time is required in winter for a horse’s care after riding than in summer.

The rationale behind clipping and the various styles are explained below. The horse management section of a good horseback riding book will furnish details on looking after the clipped horse.

The Purpose of Clipping

When working during the winter months, a horse’s thick coat becomes saturated with sweat. It takes longer to dry off than when he has his summer hair and the horse can easily catch a chill.

Sweat blankets are necessary to keep him warm while waiting for him to dry off in his stall. Only then can he be turned out in his weatherproof blanket. People learning horseback riding don’t usually have the time to wait around for this.

Removing the winter coat in areas where the horse sweats hastens the drying process. He’s ready to be turned back out in the field much sooner.

Clipping should only be performed by an experienced person.

Types of Clip

The amount of hair removed depends on the work load of the horse.

A trace clip is for horses in light work. The hair is removed in a wide strip from the gullet down across the belly, and sometimes further along the horse’s flanks in a wide band around his quarters.

A blanket clip leaves the shape of a blanket on the horse’s back and withers, with the legs still covered. The neck is clipped and often the lower half of the head. This suits horses in medium work.

In the hunter clip only the saddle area is left untouched. This is for horses in hard work.

A full clip, as the name suggests, entails removing all the hair. However, since the animal won’t have the benefit of any leg covering when outdoors, it’s kinder to leave the legs alone.

Riding After the First Clip

Be careful when you ride your horse the first time after he’s been clipped. He may be livelier until he gets used to the cold on his ‘bare’ areas.

His sides will suddenly be more sensitive if you’ve clipped them. Apply gentle leg aids and if you usually wear spurs, take them off for the first few rides!

Should you decide to clip your horse, choose a style to suit his work load and read a horseback riding book which explains how to take care of the clipped horse.



Read more topics at the Horse Riding Resources page.


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