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Teaching a horse to clip?

This topic contains 6 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by NinaJD NinaJD 3 years, 5 months ago.

Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
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  • TheFoxRider Original Poster
    Topics Started: 7Replies Posted: 28

    Hi all,

    My 4 year old came to me without a lot of handling, and thus hasn’t been exposed to clippers. She was relatively trusting my first time turning them on, and almost got to the point of accepting the vibration of them on her neck, but I moved them up by her ears hoping to get a quick bridle path in and she got a little freaked. She sweated up a storm today riding outside in 30 degree weather and I’m thinking I’ll want to trace clip her so I’m not at the barn cooling her out for centuries. I’m willing to put in the time to train her with the clippers, but don’t know exactly how to do so. Any tips? Do ear plugs or calming pastes help at all?

    Thanks!
    Ashley (and Bailey, the silly redheaded 4-year old)

    Visit my horse care and product review blog at: www.keepcalmhorsecare.blogspot.com

    naturalpasture
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 61

    This method is called “approach and retreat” and it works really well!

    Before you start, make sure she is relaxed.
    While stroking her neck and telling her what a good girl she is, take the clippers as close to her ears as she will tolerate without moving and hold them there for a few seconds. (Note: take the clippers away before she gets nervous.) Take the clippers away, let her think about it for a minute or two, and praise her. Then do it again this time going a little closer and keeping the clippers there a little longer. Then take them away again. Repeat this increasing the time that they are near her ears a little bit each time as she can handle.
    I hope I explained this well, if not let me know and I will try to explain it better! 

    Don’t expect to get anything clipped the first lesson, but if she accepts it and is relaxed go ahead and clip a little! Keep each clipping lesson short, sweet, and to the point
    . Don’t frustrate her or push her beyond what she can take. If she moves or gets scared, go back to what she was comfortable with and work up to it again.

    The fact that you are willing to take the time to train her with the clippers will make all the difference!

    TheFoxRider Original Poster
    Topics Started: 7Replies Posted: 28

    Thank you for responding, naturalpasture! I will have to get started with this method and see how it goes. I’m pretty spoiled by my older horse, who stands ground tied and takes naps while I trace clip her – hopefully the new baby will learn to be just as good.

    Visit my horse care and product review blog at: www.keepcalmhorsecare.blogspot.com

    naturalpasture
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 61

    LOL! That’s pretty good! :)

    Let me know how it goes!

    TheFoxRider Original Poster
    Topics Started: 7Replies Posted: 28

    Went to go work on the approach and retreat training with someone holding my mare for me so I could be free to move (she’s a pocket pony and will try to follow me when tied, or if I try to move around her body holding the lead) and a nice long extension cord on my clippers. She pricked up when I turned them on, but I was able not only to clip her, but trim a bridle path, as well! She definitely thought what I was doing was interesting, but hardly moved or shivered her skin. I’ll continue to bring the clippers out on a regular basis so she continues to learn, but drama was 99.9% avoided. Thanks for the tip, Naturalpasture!

    Visit my horse care and product review blog at: www.keepcalmhorsecare.blogspot.com

    naturalpasture
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 61

    I’m so glad this is working for you!
    And from the sounds of it your young mare might one day be as good as your older horse. :)

    NinaJD NinaJD
    Topics Started: 8Replies Posted: 139

    you can also get a little hand massager just to get her used to the sound and feeling of something on her skin.
    But it sounds like she’s going to be pretty easy to clip once you get her there.
    approach and retreat works wonders for those nervous horses.

    "Take the time it takes, so that it takes less time."
    "Expect a lot, accept a little, reward often."
    Pat Parelli

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