Should I clip my horse this Winter?

Horse that has just been clipped, Lowmoor Neptune

Should I clip my horse this Winter? This is the question I ask myself each year and I ponder it for ages! It's a tough one and the answer depends on multiple factors. Here's how I break it down:


  1. Has he got a hairy/woolly coat? Yes, Erik always grows a woolly coat, which would be perfect if he was living outside to help him stave off the cold and help protect him from the elements. Problem: he lives inside.

Horse clipped

  1. Is he in heavy work? Yes, he works 5 or 6 days a week with a day off. His training sessions are primarily in an arena with a couple of hacks during the week. This means he quite often works up a sweat and it can be difficult to cool him down afterwards. Horses  can struggle to regulate their body temperature if they are wet and can easily catch a chill.  

Clipped horse out hunting

  1. Is it difficult to maintain his coat condition? Not particularly as he is a Warmblood so he doesn't have massive amounts of feather etc. Some horses might have a lot of feather and for those that still have a certain amount of turnout this can become problematic when grooming potentially making them more at risk from things like mud rash. Cleaner legs/less hair can make grooming easier plus it's easier to see problems forming and catch them early.

Hairy horse having legs clipped

  1. Does he live in a field or have turnout? We limit turnout in Winter due to the poor conditions so this isn't too much of an issue. For those horses that live out in Winter it may be advisable not to clip them as they need their coat to help them regulate their temperature and protect them from the elements.


There are many things to consider when clipping and it's important to think carefully before going ahead. Does your horse stress when being clipped? Is your horse a cold or a warm horse? Will he feel the cold more? What rugs do you already have? Do they need replacing?

Shetland with clip

Most people will clip between September and October but some can require this doing sooner. Coats can grow very quickly over Winter and it can be necessary to have to repeat clipping several times. It is important to be prepared and make sure you adapt to your horses needs to keep him or her comfortable.

Sam x



For more help with regards to clipping this book is worth a look at to help you with technique, types of clip and how to go about it safely:

Clipping (Allen Photographic Guides) by Carolyn and John Henderson 



Plus Horse and Rider magazine give their 16 top clipping tips: 



PS: Huge thank you to all the members of our Facebook group for kindly sending me their pictures to use in this blog! I really appreciate it! 

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