Poll Recap: Body Clipping Conundrum

Poll Recap: Body Clipping Conundrum

Only 113 voters (8%) said they give their horses a full body clip during the winter.

Photo: Photos.com

According to recent poll results, TheHorse.com readers like to leave their horse’s winter hair coats long. More than 1,400 readers voted in last week’s poll, and we’ve tallied the results.

Of the 1,410 voters, 988 voters (70%) said that they did not body clip their horse. Another 178 voters (13%) responded that they body clip their horses sometimes, depending on their riding, training, or competition plans. Meanwhile, 131 voters (9%) said that give their horse a partial body clip, while the remaining 113 voters (8%) said they give their horses a full body clip.

Additionally, more than 200 readers provided comments about why they do or do not body clip their horses during the winter.

Poll Results

Many readers commented that they do not body clip their horses:

  • “We never body clip our horses.”
  • “No I don't clip my horse. I try to keep her as natural as possible.”
  • “I don't compete or show my horse so no need to clip”
  • “Never any clipping”
  • “(They) need their hair, very cold here (and they're) turned out every day. I don't ride much in winter.”
  • “The winter coat is there for a reason, like whiskers!”
  • “(My horses aren't) rugged either...they don't need it.”
  • “I have no need to body clip my horses.”
  • “I keep them blanketed so their stays shorter.”
  • “All our horses are out 24/7, no blankets, in New Hampshire.”
  • “I live in Alaska and my horse needs all the hair he can get! I will never clip my horse in the winter.”
  • “My Shetland would freeze up here if I clipped him! God gave him his thick winter coat for a reason.”
  • “Why would you clip your horse during the winter when their coats keep them warm? Let nature do it.”
  • “My horses stay natural year round”
  • “My OTTB has no blanket, no bit, no shoes, no grain! He's a happy horse with beautiful manageable coat.”
  • “I leave every hair on him to help keep himself warm. He also has a run-in stall.”
  • “(This is my) first year for no clipping or blankets. Well bedded stalls with wind break and let nature alone”
  • “My Arizona horses grow somewhat thicker coats, but not longer ones (so I) do not clip”
  • “My horses are outside 24/7 with a run-in shelter. I do not blanket so they do not get clipped.”
  • “(My mare has a) full coat even though I ride in winter; she lives outside and rarely needs blanketing.”
  • “He is no longer competing; no need to clip.”

Some readers who do body clip their horses described the types or amount of clipping they do:

  • “I do an 'apron' clip on my horses.”
  • “When I used to train hard and compete I used a trace clip.”
  • “In the south, the temps can greatly fluctuate from low to high a back. A trace clip gives some relief.”
  • “Just girth area and strip on the chest.”
  • “Hunter clip.”
  • “Only the areas that sweat up most. He needs all other protection as he lives outside with rug on.”
  • “Have to trace clip, or the poor horses never dry!”
  • “A trace clip is enough. I leave his shoulders unclipped so his blanket doesn't chafe.”
  • “I like a trace clip as happy medium.”
  • “My pony grows a huge coat no matter what, so I clip his chest and neck early winter/fall time.”
  • “He starts of with a trace and then as his thick winter coat comes he gets it all off.”
  • “Horses in work get a trace clip.”

Several readers body clipped their horses for specific health- or work-related reasons:

  • “Every three months, year round as he's Cushings...sigh.”
  • “Had to (clip) due to extra long coat this year due to Cushings. He has been miserable on our mild days.”
  • “She is a fuzzy cushings patient.”
  • “As much as I'd like to leave his coat, body clipping is the only way he can stay in work in winter.”
  • “I keep training through the winter, so he needs to be clipped.”
  • “In Arizona our show season is in the winter so body clipping is necessary.”
  • “Only if showing.”
  • “Only when in heavy training…otherwise au' natural.”
  • “I have six horses and two or three of them get clipped (legs left) due to sweating and being uncomfortable”
  • “I sometimes clip during summer however because my cob takes a long time to lose her winter coat.”
  • “She gets ridden everyday. She still gets sweaty, but dries so much faster!”
  • “Only clip the ones we intend to ride regularly during the winter months. They are rugged also.”
  • “I have to clip my mare because she doesn't sweat and gets too hot here in Florida.”
  • “If they work hard, the damage from overheating when not clipped far outweighs any problems with blankets.”

Others said they blanketed their horses to manage their winter hair coats:

  • “I blanket my show horses and not my broodmares.”
  • “We do blanket, however.”
  • “Mine is under lights and blanketed so he maintains a short coat.”
  • “I try not to blanket before Thanksgiving unless a nasty storm comes so they grow their winter hair.”
  • “Blanket to keep sweating to a minimum”
  • “I live in Park City, Utah, and my horse lives outside. She is blanketed when the weather is less than 20° or wet.”
  • “I blanket over their light winter coats to keep them clean and dry.”
  • “He get three blankets and a hood with two lights”
  • “There should be another option. My horse is blanketed to prevent fully growing her winter coat.”
  • “My horse stays pretty slick all year due to blanketing and indoor board so I've never needed to.”

Learn more about body clipping your horse at The Horse.com. 

This week we want to know: Who in your horse-life are you most thankful for and why? Vote now and share your comments with us at TheHorse.com.

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

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.

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