Of the 1,212 voters, 848 (70%) indicated they do not clip their horses' whiskers.
In last week's poll, we asked readers if they clip their horses' whiskers. More than 1,200 readers responded, and we’ve tallied the results.
Of the 1,212 voters, 848 (70%) indicated they do not clip their horses' whiskers. The remaining 364 readers (30%) said they do clip their horses' whiskers.
Additionally, more than 200 readers provided comments about clipping whiskers.
Many readers provided comments about why they do not clip their horses' whiskers:
- “Absolutely not—they are there for a reason and I don't want to rob my horse of that sensory function.”
- “I haven't clipped them in over 15 years, and I love his long nose and eye whiskers!”
- “Horses need these for use in detecting their environment. I can't stand it when owners shave them!”
- “They're probably there for a reason, like detecting foreign objects while grazing.”
- “I don't show my horses and whiskers help with their natural ability to sense objects.”
- “No, even though I compete in dressage; they're there for a reason, and she's on 24/7 pasture.”
- “Absolutely not. Not the ear hair either. They need these feelers to navigate their world.”
- “They weren't meant to be trimmed anymore then a cat’s whiskers.”
- “My new guy is very sensitive around his nose and objects to the very concept of whisker trimming!”
- “My horses need their whiskers and they are cute.”
- “I like them fuzzy! When you clip, they become rough and annoying.”
Of the 1,212 voters, the majority (848) responded no, that they did not clip their horse's whiskers.
Others commented that they clip their horses' whiskers for shows or sales:
- “For showing only. When a horse is no longer showing or is in an off season, whiskers stay.”
- “Only clipped when showed in halter or pleasure”
- “We show in halter and showmanship—it’s a must”
- “Yes, but only during the summer show season.”
- “Only our show horses, not our trail horses.”
- “In the summer for showing classes or if we take a horse to the sales. Otherwise we leave them alone.”
- “Only for rated competition showmanship classes.”
- “When I show only, the rest of the time they go au naturale.”
- “I do right before shows, but let them grow over the winter.”
- “Always did for show, continue to do it now but less frequently in winter.”
Some readers commented that they clip the whiskers for maintenance-related reasons:
- “(I don't clip them) unless they get crazy-long, then just a little trim. They need them.”
- “I don't shave them; however, during show season, I will clip them down to about two inches.”
- “No, but I'd trim them to an inch when they get too long because the long whiskers would get caught in the bridle.”
- “I do this so that the reins on the liverpool shank driving bit don't catch his lip whiskers.”
- “But trim with scissors when they get super long (they get bothersome to one of my horses).”
Still others provided additional comments on why they clip their horses' whiskers:
- “I keep all my horses clipped and neat even if we are older now and past our showing life.”
- “Yes, but I leave a 1/4 to 1/2 inch so he can still feel things in buckets.”
- “They look better groomed when clipped/shaved.”
- “Around muzzle and nostrils, but not around eyes.”
- “He's more accepting of the clippers on his muzzle, so we always start there and shorten them a bit.”
- “I clip them down to at least 1/2 inch long.”
- “They look better clipped.”
- “I clip whiskers one time a year.”
- “(I believe) whiskers serve no purpose for domesticated horses. I keep even my retired guys trimmed and groomed.”
- “Once in a while when I want him or her to look sharp. I like their ears fuzzy though.”
- “About three times a year (I clip the) muzzle, fetlocks, ears, chin, coronet bands. He looks gorgeous after!”
The results of our weekly polls are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter, which offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters on our homepage and look for a new poll on TheHorse.com.
About the Author
Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer, is a lifelong horse owner who competes with her Appaloosas in Western performance events. She is a University of Kentucky graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in Community Communications and Leadership Development, and master's degree in Career, Technical, and Leadership Education. She currently lives on a small farm in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.