Does clipping affect your horse's health and condition?
This is a question I always wonder as I have been told my whole life that if you clip your horse, its condition will be badly affected by it.
As we are heading into winter I thought it would be a good time to find this out for myself. Every horse, its climate, exercise levels and grooming style will play a part in your decision, it’s up to you as the owner and groom to decide what’s best for your horse.
I'm, not a fan of saying "never do this" or "only do that" especially when it comes to horses. Each situation is always different and needs to be taken into consideration. And the 2 main factors, in my opinion
We all know that most of the time, a horse can and will grow his own coat to protect himself from the elements, this can including rain and wind. This is why we all have seen horses standing outside in snow and windstorms, and not in their shelters! The density of the hair, combined with these tiny muscles in the skin that make the hair stand on end, creates a warm layer of air and insulation. This will also allow snow and even ice to form on the top of the coat without the skin even noticing. Add in the extra layer of fat that horses collect in Autumn as the days get shorter, and as a result, you have mother natures solution to keeping your horse warm and toasty all winter. So its an important factor for those horses who live out 24hrs.
Having said that horses are designed brilliantly to keep the warmth in but less good at cooling down fast and easily. Sweat moves from the skin out and is likely to cause a chill. Wet horses loose body heat up to 20 times faster than a dry horse could. And after reading this the only conclusion is that if your horse is in proper work and especially if you work your horse in the afternoons it definitely would be in your horses best interests to clip him. If your horse isn't properly dry by the time the temperature starts to drop, he will have to use more energy to stay warm which can put unnecessary strain on their body. Plus by clipping your horse, the shorter hair is much easier to clean and manage which can save you and your groom a huge amount of time on groom each day.
In conclusion, I would say that if your horse is in full work and competing you should definitely consider clipping him to keep him in good condition.
If you have any questions please leave a comment.