Last Saturday i took my 6 year old daughter for a hack on Mabs the Shetland pony. We donned our various HiViz clothing items and headed out. Now having been involved in some near misses myself i don’t really like taking my daughter out on the road. However every single car we met coming towards us stopped and pulled over, waited patiently until we had passed and then pulled quietly away. The ones approaching from behind slowed right down and kept their distance until waved past, at which point they went slowly by giving us a wide berth.

Now this got me thinking……. why???? why were they so courteous to us? have i found the one road in the country where the other road users do not mind sharing?? or is it because my daughter and Mabs are incredibly cute??? Well it seems there is a method in the madness.

This week i have been researching Road Safety, and in particular what we as riders can do to try and improve it. Now it was very very hard to find much information. The only real source i could find was on the BHS Website, which thankfully is very through and informative. I have to say there are some pretty shocking statistics about accidents on the road involving horses and riders:

Key Statistics

Since November 2010:

  • 2,510 incidents .involving horses on the road have been reported to the BHS
  • 222 horses died at the scene, or as a result of their injuries
  • 38 riders have died

From 2016-2017:

  • 81% of incidents occurred because the driver didn’t allow enough room between their vehicle and the horse
  • 1 in 5 incidents resulted in the car colliding with the horse
  • Almost 40% of riders were subject to road rage or abuse

In 2016, The British Horse Society launched its ‘Dead? Or Dead Slow?’ campaign to encourage drivers to pass horses safely.

Since the campaign launched in 2016, there has been a 29% increase in the number of road incidents reported to the BHS.

The BHS believes the increase is due to more people being aware of the Horse Accidents website and reporting incidents they’ve been involved in. However, it is unacceptable that horse and rider are continuing to die on our roads.

What The BHS has Achieved So Far

• The Dead Slow message has reached more than one million people through social media alone, and has been covered in national, regional and equestrian media

• The BHS teamed up with the Department of Transport to produce a THINK! video that’s been shown on TV and in cinemas

• To finish off 2016, Dead Slow was awarded Driver Education Campaign of the Year by the Driving Instructors Association

 

Now in Nov 2017 TRL Limited released the findings of a report they have done for the BHS. It makes for very interesting reading:

I have summarised the report very briefly:

There is, unfortunately, very little evidence that directly addresses the issue of visibility and conspicuity of horses on collisions. (Visibility is typically defined as the ease with which an object can be detected when the observer knows its position; conspicuity on the other hand is typically defined as the extent to which something stands out from its background either when people are searching for it (so-called ‘search conspicuity’) or when they are not searching for it but it simply grabs their attention (so called ‘attention conspicuity’) (Langham & Moberly, 2003).

Chapman and Musselwhite (2011) examined the attitudes and reported behaviour of drivers and horse riders through focus groups of both frequent horse riders and drivers with little or no horse riding experience.  However the focus groups also suggested that riders’ clothing and their use of safety equipment can affect the behaviour of other road users.

Drivers in the focus groups acknowledged that a judgement is made regarding the level of control that a rider has over their horse (although this level of control is over-estimated) and that certain factors can affect that judgement; for example a child is usually judged to be less in control and given more space during an overtaking manoeuvre.

However it is not clear whether the wearing of ‘safety clothing’ by riders implies a greater or lower level of control over the horse, and therefore how drivers’ behaviour may be best influenced. There is no legislation governing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) of any kind for riders on highways, except a requirement for children under the age of 14 to wear a helmet (Horses (Protective Headgear for Young Riders) Act 1990, Section 1).  It is safer not to ride on the road at night or in poor visibility, but if you do, make sure you wear reflective clothing and your horse has reflective bands above the fetlock

There is extremely limited research available that is targeted specifically at the conspicuity or visibility of horse-rider combinations on roads. Three studies of note are to be found in the literature, carried out by the same team of researchers and presented at the annual International Equitation Science conference (Scofield, Savin & Randle, 2013; 2014; 2016). The first two studies were survey-based using questionnaires that were distributed via equine websites and social media in the UK.

In the first of these, Scofield et al (2013) aimed to investigate the relationship between the occurrences of near misses and the use of fluorescent (or reflective) equipment on riders and horses. Since this was questionnaire based, both the near misses and use of equipment were self-reported. 60.3% of riders reported experiencing a near miss with traffic in the previous year. There was no statistically significant relationship between either riders or horses wearing fluorescent materials and the incidence of near misses. However there was a statistically significant relationship between riders wearing lights or not and the incidence of near misses. The research therefore suggested that lights should possibly be recommended when riding on the roads.

The second study (Scofield et al., 2014) aimed to investigate the factors that might affect incidences of near misses. As in the previous study, there was no significant relationship between the wearing of fluorescent equipment and the incidence of near misses. This was true for both horse and rider, and the horse-rider combination. Also as before, riders wearing lights were shown to report significantly fewer incidences of near misses. Horses of broken colour (that is, piebald or skewbald) experienced significantly fewer near misses than horses of block colour.

These two studies therefore suggests two elements that may be worth considering in providing a possible safety advantage when riding on the road network; these are the addition of lights to any equipment worn and the selection of horses of broken colour.

The third study (Scofield et al., 2016) was to determine the effectiveness of two different conspicuity tabards in terms of visual identification time by drivers.  The results showed no statistically significant difference between response times for the fluorescent tabard and the black/white tabard, however there was a significant difference between the times for the black/white tabard and the dark colour, and between the fluorescent tabard and the dark colour, with the dark tabard being associated with longer response times (i.e. slower detection).

This third study indicates that drivers may have a quicker response time when presented with a horse-rider combination wearing either a fluorescent or broken-colour tabard than with a dark colour tabard (or none). These findings would not necessarily be replicated in a live environment, nor would the drivers’ behaviours necessarily change as a result of the quicker identification; however it is possible that such clothing may allow a driver additional time in which to perceive the hazard and respond.

In summary, there appears to be little or no direct evidence regarding the effectiveness of popular conspicuity measures currently used by horse riders . This area is remarkably under investigated and much more research is required. In the absence of much direct evidence, we now turn our attention to applying what is known from studies of detection and judgement of approach in other vulnerable road user groups, such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

 

Recommendations:

1. Speed limits on roads with significant horse and rider activity should be reduced, and enforced. The optical geometry alone argues that it is unwise to have drivers travelling at 60mph on roads that are routinely and regularly used by horse riders, especially in conditions of reduced lighting.

2. Riders should utilise clothing that contains LED lights wherever feasible. Ideally this should cover as much of the rider and horse as possible, prioritising covering width extent above height. A suggested pattern would be two red LEDs on the shoulders of the rider, and two on the sides of the horse’s flank, all facing backwards. White LEDs facing forwards in a similar pattern would help with frontal approaches.

3. Riders should use bright and reflective safety clothing wherever feasible . Again ideally this should cover as much of the rider and horse as possible, prioritising covering width extent above height, although also on the legs to introduce ‘biological motion’ cues. There is no firm evidence to say one colour is more visible than any other across multiple environments; riders should consider the dominant colours in their riding environment (e.g. coloured foliage and crops, backgrounds associated with sunsets) and choose a colour which will provide contrast accordingly.

In the absence of legislation covering safety equipment for horses, these recommendations are under the control of horse riders and organisations. The prioritisation of lighting over bright clothing (if only one can be used) is commensurate with findings and theory in all these domains.

Clothing should ideally meet standards EN1150 or EN471, and should ideally be kept clean.

This report has been produced by TRL Limited (TRL) under a contract with The British Horse Society. Any views expressed in this report are not necessarily those of The British Horse Society. The information contained herein is the property of TRL Limited and does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the customer for whom this report was prepared. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the matter presented in this report is relevant, accurate and up-to-date, TRL Limited cannot accept any liability for any error or omission, or reliance on part or all of the content in another context

To summarise

Wear LED clothing – you can buy breastplates (http://www.cam-equestrian.com/equestrian-products-rage/equestrian-led-products/rechargeable-led-horse-breastplate.html )and tabbards with LED lights on, and there is a new whip soon to be released (summer 2018) with LED lights on it. www.gizahand.co.uk

When using HiViz or LED highlight the width of the horse and rider, so place things on the riders shoulders and the horses hips.

There is no legislation covering the use of safety equipment for horses and riders when on the roads.

There has been very little investigation into the effect HiViz clothing has on drivers, and if it affects their response to seeing a horse, along with what type of HiViz might have a greater effect on drivers.

Drivers with little or no experience of horses tend to overestimate the control the rider has.(why they give children a wider berth, as they perceive children as having less control of their mounts)

So what can we do to help ourselves?

Get Involved

They are lots of ways you can get involved with the campaign, such as helping continue to spread the Dead Slow message, so we can reduce the number of road incidents involving horses.

• Share the BHS page and  Dead Slow poster on social media

• Follow the BHS on Facebook and Twitter to keep up-to-date with the campaign and share our message

• Attend Dead Slow events taking place in your region

With an increasing number of reported incidents involving riders and cars, we’re building on our solid foundation of road safety education and campaigning to make drivers aware of what to do when they encounter horses on the road.

Advice for Riders

The Dead Slow message has primarily been aimed at drivers, but there are many things the BHS recommend riders can do to reduce the risk of becoming another statistic.

• Always wear hi-viz clothing and put hi-viz equipment on your horse – even on bright days, it is surprising how well a horse can be camouflaged against a hedge. The Air Ambulance also recommend that riders wear HiViz as it really does help to locate you. Nowadays there are so many styles and colours of HiViz that it is possible to find one you like, and there are also tabards with pockets for mobile phones, perfect for summer hacking when you are not wearing a coat with pockets. LeMieux have also released a new range of reflective saddlecloths, boots, bandages and ear veils. They come in GP and dressage cut and allow you to add safety to your matchy matchy wardrobe too.

• Unless absolutely necessary, the BHS highly recommend you avoid riding in failing light, fog or darkness or when it is snowing or icy

• Show courtesy to drivers – if you show drivers appreciation of their efforts, then drivers should return the favour

• If you are riding a horse that is not used to roads, make sure you are accompanied by an experienced rider and horse

• Concentrate all the time

• Make sure you have told someone where you are going and what time you are expected back.

Report any incidents you are involved in, this one is so important as it will help to gather evidence to go towards improving Road Safety for horse riders, as well as other road users.

 

The BHS also have leaflets you can download and print out to put up in your local area.

Have a look at the BHS website for more information http://www.bhs.org.uk/safety-and-accidents/dead-slow

To read the full report Google TRL Report for BHS and the PDF document will come up.

I hope this blog has been helpful for you all. Happy Hacking.

References:

Caird J. K., and Hancock P. A. (1994). The perception of arrival time for different oncoming vehicles at an intersection. Ecological Psychology, 6, 83-109. Chapman, C., and Musselwhite, C. B. (2011). Equine road user safety: Public attitudes, understandings and beliefs from a qualitative study in the United Kingdom. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 43(6), 2173-2181. Cole, B. L., and Hughes, P. K. (1984). A field trial of attention and search conspicuity. Human Factors, 26(3), 299–313 DeLucia P.R. (1991). Pictorial and motion-based information for depth perception. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. 17, 738-748. DeLucia P, Kaiser M, Bush J, Meyer L, Sweet B. (2003) Information integration in judgements of time to contact. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology A, 56, 1165-1189. Gould, M., Poulter, D. R., Helman, S. and Wann, J. P. (2012a). Errors in judging the approach rate of motorcycles in night-time conditions and the effect of an improved lighting configuration. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 45(2), 432–437. Gould, M., Poulter, D. R., Helman, S., and Wann, J. P. (2012b). Judgments of approach speed for motorcycles across different lighting levels and the effect of an improved triheadlight configuration. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 48(2), 341–345. Helman, S. & Palmer, M. (2010). Road worker conspicuity. Client Project Report (CPR1001). Crowthorne: Transport Research Laboratory. Helman, S., Palmer, M., Haines, C. & Reeves, C. (2014). The effect of two novel lighting configurations on the conspicuity of motorcycles: a roadside observation study in New Zealand. Published Project Report (PPR682). Crowthorne: Transport Research Laboratory. Helman, S., Weare, A., Palmer, M., & Fernandéz-Medina, K. (2012). Literature review of interventions to improve the conspicuity of motorcyclists and help avoid ‘looked but failed to see’ accidents. Published Project Report (PPR638). Crowthorne: Transport Research Laboratory. Kwan, I., & Mapstone, J. (2006). Interventions for increasing pedestrian and cyclist visibility for the prevention of death and injuries. The Cochrane Library. Lahrmann, H., Madsen, T. K. O., Olesen, A. V., Madsen, J. C. O., & Hels, T. (2017, in press). The effect of a yellow bicycle jacket on cyclist accidents. Safety Science. Langham, M., & Moberly, N. (2003). Pedestrian conspicuity research: a review. Ergonomics, 46(4), 345–363. Pai, C. W. (2011). Motorcycle right-of-way accidents—A literature review. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 43(3), 971-982. Sayer, J. R. & Mefford, M. L. (2004). High visibility safety apparel and nighttime conspicuity of pedestrians in work zones. Journal of Safety Research, 35, 537-546. Final 14 PPR845 Sayer, J. R. & Mefford, M. L. (2005). The roles of garment design and scene complexity in the daytime conspicuity of high-visibility safety apparel. Report UMTRI-2005-5. Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. Scofield, R. M., Savin, H., & Randle, H. (2013) Road safety: Is there a relationship between ‘near misses’ and the use of rider and horse reflective/fluorescent equipment. In: Heleski C., Wickens C., editors. Proceedings of the 9th International Equitation Science Conference; University of Delaware Printing Services, Newark, DE, USA & University of Pennsylvania, New Bolton Center, Kennett Square, PA, USA. 17July 2013; p.30. Scofield, R.M., Savin, H., Randle, H. (2014) Riding and road safety: building profiles of leisure riders and their environment in the United Kingdom. In: Christensen, J.W., Ladewig, J., Ahrendt, L.P., Malmkvist, J., editors. Proceedings of the 10th International Equitation Science Conference; Aarhus University DCA Report No. 044 June 2014; p41 Scofield, R.M., Savin, H., and Randle, H. (2016) Horse and rider safety on the United Kingdom (UK) road system: Pilot evaluation of an alternative conspicuity measure. In: Cressant, M., Renault, M., Randle, H., Bailey, A., editors. Proceedings of the 11th International Equitation Science Conference; International Society for Equitation Science with the collaboration of the French Institute for Horses and Riding, France; p94 Simons-Morton, B. G., Ouimet, M. C., Wang, J., Klauer, S. G., Lee, S. E., & Dingus, T. A. (2009). Hard Braking Events Among Novice Teenage Drivers By Passenger Characteristics. Proceedings of the International Driving Symposium on Human Factors in Driver Assessment, Training, and Vehicle Design, 2009, 236-242. Tresilian J. R., Mon-Williams M., & Kelly B.M. (1999). Increasing confidence in vergence as a cue to distance. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 266, 39–44 Tyrrell, R. A., Patton, C. W. & Brooks, J. O. (2004). Educational interventions successfully reduce pedestrians‘ overestimates of their own night time visibility. Human Factors, 46, 170–182. Walker, I., Garrard, I., & Jowitt, F. (2014). The influence of a bicycle commuter’s appearance on drivers’ overtaking proximities: an on-road test of bicyclist stereotypes, highvisibility clothing and safety aids in the United Kingdom. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 64, 69-77. Wann, J. P., Poulter, D. R., & Purcell, C. (2011). Reduced sensitivity to visual looming inflates the risk posed by speeding vehicles when children try to cross the road. Psychological Science, 22(4), 429-434.

 

 


Its all in the preparation, here is a list of must haves:

Goggles – horse hair in the eyes is PAINFUL and impossible to get out, trust me i have learnt the hard way!!!

Waterproof overalls – the hair gets everywhere, one of these suits will help minimise this. As soon as the hair comes off the horse, it reattaches to you.

Clippers that are regularly serviced and in good condition – clippers that are not fully functioning will not do a good job, you will end up with lots of lines, or they may stop working mid clip and your horse will be laughed at by his friends until you can beg, steal or borrow another pair to finish the job.

Extension Lead.

Clipper oil – use liberally and regularly on the blades, make sure to wipe excess oil off the front of the blades before putting them on the horse.

Sharp Clipper blades – i like to have two pairs,just to be safe.

Circuit breaker – we all know horses are the most accident prone animals ever and they love to stand on things – especially clipper wires.

The next set of things are not essential BUT will make it so much easier:

Step – for doing their back, nothing worse than getting on the nest day and noticing a tuft just behinds the saddle.

Flicky dandy brush – for getting off all  the loose hairs, have 2 one for you and one for the horse. Do not get them mixed up.

Blade wash – for cleaning your blades before re-oiling and storing

A drink (non alcoholic) – you will need this.

So you get a far better clip on a clean horse, in an ideal world we would all have hot horse showers and a heated drying box, so we could easily bath before clipping. However what most of us get is this:

So firstly make sure the horse is dry then give them a really really good groom, get off all the mud – pay particular attention the elbows and in between the front legs. Muddy hair blunts blades very very quickly, and it also tugs on the hair which hurts the horse, and it makes the clippers work harder which in turn heats them up quicker. When all the mud is off give your horse a good hot clothing.

Grab a bucket of hot water and some non rinse shampoo, LeMieux Slosh are great for this. Using a Cactus cloth or tea towel (not too wet) dip it in the water, wring it out and scrub the horse all over with it. You do not want to soak the horse, but you do need to scrub to remove as much dirt as possible, keep dipping in the water and wringing out. You may need to change the water a few times. Again pay attention to the elbows and in between the front legs, and the top of the rump – this is usually where the hair is the thickest and dirtiest.

After hot clothing rug the horse up and wait for them to dry –  or leave them overnight. Rugging the horse will also help to warm the horse up and lay the hair flat, again making it easier to clip.

When the horse is dry give them another really good groom with a body brush and you can also use some coat shine too. The cleaner the horse the better the clip.

Now you are ready to begin. I always start at the horses shoulder and move around the horse from there. Depending on what clip you are doing, and how good your horse is to clip will dictate what order you clip in. some people prefer to do the head and fiddly bits first – before the horse gets bored and restless. Others do everything else first and then the bits the horse doesn’t like last. Some horses dont mind what you do when and will happily stand for hours.

Whilst moving about the horse be aware of the wires and make sure the horse does not stand on them. Also make sure you offer the horse water on occasions, and if doing it on a cold day place a rug over ares that you are not clipping to keep the horse warm.

At intervals sweep the hair away from the horse, as when it gets on the floor it becomes very slippery, and you do not want to be falling over and spooking the horse.

After clipping give the horse a really good groom with the flicky dandy brush to remove all the loose hair, and thoroughly check them over for any missed bits – if you are inside you may want to take them out into daylight for this. Next prepare another bucket of hot water and non rinse shampoo, you can also add a few drops of baby oil to add shine to the coat and give them another through hot clothing, this will remove any remaining hair and give a good shine to the coat.

If you fancy getting creative with your clipping Ebay and Amazon do some great stencils for this. Just remember to have super sharp blades for getting the definition, and do the stencilling first – so if it goes wrong you can clip it out.

Most of all keep calm and keep checking your blades, they should never be used on the horse if they are too hot to touch, as they will burn the horse. So keep placing them on the back of your hand to test.

Another tip is to get all your jobs done first, as when you finish you will wan to get home and in the shower faster than Seabiscuit. But remember to clean and oil your clippers and blades before storing them away, and dont forget to get those blade resharpened ready for the next use.

 

 


So today we are going to look at which clip to do on your horse. Now there are quite a few different types of clip around and the reason why you are clipping, along with your horses lifestyle will determine which one you do. If it is your first time clipping, or you are not sure how much hair to take off, you are better staring with a bib clip, and if that is not enough then you can always take more off if needed. Remember to take your time with the lines.

if you are doing a clip that requires lines then draw them on first with chalk, use a piece of string to ensure they are the same height both sides. If leaving a saddlepatch on then put the saddle on the horse and draw around that with chalk. Remember to keep stepping back and checking the are even.

The Bib Clip

This clip takes off just the front of the horse – the chest and the underside of the neck, you can take it further back to incorporate the girth area too. This clip is suitable for horses in light work or who live out. This clip leaves the hair on the legs, although if you have a horse with very hairy legs you can run the clippers down the back of the legs to remove the hair and help keep them clean in the mud.

Trace/Irish/Chaser

These 3 are very similar, as you move along each one just takes off more hair than the one before. These are suitable for horses in medium work who are turned out a lot or who live out, again these clips all leave the hair on the legs and really only remove hair from the underside of the horse.

Blanket Clip

This clip removes more hair than the trace, Irish or tracer and leaves a ‘blanket; of hair across the horses back, in the ares that are nor t prone to sweating, it also leaves the hair on the legs. In the picture the horse has had half a face off, however you can also take the whole face off, or leave it all on. This clip is suitable for horses in medium work, and also good for horses who suffer with cold back, as it gives an added layer of hair for warmth.

Hunter clip

This clip removes almost all the hair from the body, you can choose to leave a saddle patch on – recommended if your horse is prone to being rubbed by saddlecloths, or you can remove it too, leaving the body completely clipped out. Again you have the choice to do a half face or a full face. The legs are left on to give protection from mud and water. This clip is suitable for horses in heavy work.

Full Clip

This clip removes all the hair from the horses body, legs and face. You can leave the front of the face on if your horse does not like it being clipped, some horses do not like the sensation of the clippers on the front of their face. This is a very sensitive area with not much coverage over the horse facial bones, and of course the eye area too. Again with this clip you can also leave a saddle patch if you wish. This clip is suitable for horses in heavy work and is also the recommended clip if you are clipping through the summer as well.

There is a final clip that some people like to do, which involves only clipping the ares that sweat. For example a bib clip and then the girth area and between the back legs, or maybe some patches on the neck. This type of clip is popular with owners whose horse live out unrugged all year round.

Clipping benefits the horse by stopping them form becoming too hot when working, it is not healthy for a horse to regularly overheat, and also they can get ill if they are not properly cooled down. When the temperature is between -5 to 25 degrees the horse can regulate its own body temperature and should largely be left alone. However if the horse is in hard or regular work and sweating up then clipping would be recommended. When removing the hair be sure to rug appropriately when needed so the horse does not get cold. Again the weight of rug will depend on the horse, some horses can do winter fully clipped out in a lightweight rug, others need a couple of heavyweight rugs. You know your own horse so rug accordingly to their needs, everyone will be different.

I hope this blog has been useful for you, tomorrows one will go over the method and handy hints and tips for clipping.


Hello,

This week is clipping week at Tidy Tack Rooms. So each day i am going to do a blog covering a different clipping area.  In today’s blog i am going to cover when to clip and why. I did used to do professional clipping so i do have some experience in this area. So i will be basing this blog on what i have learned, my opinion and products that i have tried and tested. So clipping is a very personal thing and depends on many factors:

why we clip:

  1. They get too hot when working: this can apply in summer as well as winter. The difference is, in summer you can wash the horse off and leave them to dry naturally either in the field or the stable. However in winter you cannot do this, because if we leave the horse wet they will catch a chill, so we have to wait for them to dry before rugging up or turning back out. This takes ages and also a hairy horse that has sweated a lot is very smelly, gets matted hair and is probably quite uncomfortable. So if you ride a lot in winter and your horse gets sweaty it is advisable to clip them. If your horse has a thick summer coat, cobs and natives tend to, then you can clip in summer too, to prevent them overheating. Again a thick sweaty coat is not comfortable, and being too hot is also not good for a horses health. Most competition and show horses are now clipped all year round.
  2. Because its easier to groom: Short hair is much easier to brush. It does not get matted from sweat, nor clumped with mud. It is also easier to brush dust and scurf out of a short coat.
  3.  Veterinary reasons: This could be due to a skin condition such as lice, sweet itch, ring worm etc, or for surgery or injections, or even due to a condition such as Cushings or EMS. Whatever the reason make sure you follow your vets advice about clipping and maintaining your horses recovery or condition.
  4. For competing or showing: If you show a non traditional cob then you are probably very familiar with clipping, i used to do my boy every 3 – 4 weeks. I have also found that when you clip out white bits – legs, facial markings, patches on a coloured, they clip out very white, as most of the stains are removed along with the longer hair. So i would clip out my boys white bits on his hocks and knees the day before a show, so they were super white. I did his body and the rest of his legs about 7 days before. Most competition and show horses are now clipped all year round. With competition horses it helps keep them cool when they are working so hard, and again they tend to remain in consent work  throughout the year, so need their winter coats off. Some also compete abroad in hotter countries, or in indoor arenas which can get hot under the lights.
  5. To cope with mud in winter: Lets be honest mud is one of the most depressing things about winter. Especially this time of year when there is a lot of it about. Horse for some reason LOVE mud. They actively seek out the mud and roll in it, some even make a concerted effort to get mud in places, that just should not have mud in. So if you have a hairy horse getting all that mud out is a nightmare. You have to wait for it dry to a crust and then chip it off, at which point it relocates on to you, and you have a gritty mouth and sore eyes – for the rest of winter. Plus hairy legs (horses, not yours) can get mud balls on them, which can end up ripping the hair out, or clacking together when they walk. Short hair is much easier to keep to clean, plus once clipped you can cover the horse head to tail in rugs. Although most of them find a way to get the mud under the rug, or worse take the rug off!!!
  6. So we dont have hair everywhere in moulting season: its approaching, the season where from the waist up everything is covered in hair, and from the waist down everything is covered in mud. Known to non horsey people as spring. Now horses loose their coat based on a variety of factors, one of which is the amount of daylight hitting the retina, so as the days get longer, the coat gets looser. Whilst there is something deeply satisfying about brushing handfuls of hair off, to reveal a beautiful summer coat underneath, the rest of moulting is not so rewarding. The hair gets everywhere, and i mean everywhere. Clothes, car, house, bed………. Everywhere, so clipping before moulting does prevent this, and stops you from being mistaken for a Yeti when not at the yard.
  7. Because we prefer them clipped: In my opinion there is nothing more smart and beautiful than a well clipped horse. Dont get me wrong i love a good traditional cob, especially when it belongs to someone else – because i could not cope with the maintenance of all that hair. All those owners out there who maintain your hairies, i salute you. But i am firmly on team clipping for my own horses.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       When we Clip?                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ‘is it too late to clip now’?                                                                                                                                                                                                   This is a very hotly debated area, and everyone has their own personal opinion on it. Some believe that if you clip after Valentines day the summer coat will be ruined. Others believe you are fine up the end of March, and some people clip all year round. The theory behind it is that if you clip after the summer coat comes through you are clipping the ends off the summer coat and it will look blunt and dull. so you have to clip before the summer coat comes through. Now whilst all this is true, the horses summer coat does still grow – hence why some people clip all year round, especially Cob owners. So clipping will leave the hair looking blunt initially – same as when we go to the hairdressers for a cut, until it starts to grow out a bit. Also the coat MAY look duller, because it is the oils in the horses coat that make it shiny, and we have just shaved off all that coat, on some horses though the underneath hair is gleaming. However both of these things will look much better a few days after clipping, when the hair has grown slightly and the oils returned.  If you are clipping in the warmer months i would advise clipping out the whole horse, including legs and head, because you will still see clip lines in a summer coat. The reason why you clip will determine when you clip and what type of clip to do. Tomorrows topic will look at the different types of clip.

If you decide you want your horse clipped and are not confident doing it yourself. There are plenty of professionals out there who offer this service, and if you only clip once or twice a year, it can be a much cheaper option then buying and maintaining your own clippers and blades. Professionals are also very good and experienced with nervous or fidgety horses too. Sometimes if you have a nervous horse it can help them if you are holding them and reassuring them, whilst someone else is clipping, as they will already know and trust you. If you are going for a professional please ensure they have insurance that covers your horse as well as themselves, in the event of an accident, and remember to ask for references and pictures of previous work. Good professionals are worth their weight in gold and can be the difference between your horse having a good clipping experience or a really bad one.

In short it is your horse and your decision on why you do, or don’t, clip and when. Everyone will have their own opinion and it can get very confusing. However always remember the difference between a good clip and a bad clip is about 10 days.

I hope you have enjoyed today’s blog and will continue to check in over the week for the rest of them. In the future ones i will be covering clipping tips and equipment, as well as types of clip.