If you are going to wash, really wash.
If you will be washing your horse before clipping, it is a good idea to make sure you get as much scruff out of the coat as you can. Firstly, use warm water rather than cold if possible. As well as feeling nicer to the horse, warm water will help shampoos to lather up better and as a result will remove more scruff and grease from the coat. To really clean a coat, mix warm water with a cleansing shampoo (fairy liquid, wahl dirty beastie are both effective as is hibiscrub which is not a shampoo as such but will really clean a coat) and a capful of Dettol. Lather into the coat and rinse thoroughly. To help dry your horse faster after washing, mix some methylated spirits into the rinsing water, it will help evaporate the water from the coat faster.
If your horse is going to be clipped he will be wearing a rug afterwards anyway so wearing a light sheet now is a good idea. This is especially true if you are going to wash as it will keep the coat clean afterwards. A light rug will keep the coat flat and clean and can also help slow down the growth of the coat by adding a bit of warmth and protection from wind and rain.
Feeding oils now will help to give your horse a shiny post clip coat. Oils will be brought up to the surface of the coat during grooming and after clipping. There is no need to spend a lot of money – ordinary supermarket vegetable oil will do the job. I also like soya oil which is not too expensive.
Give a good groom
Grooming the horse will clean the coat and remove loose hair and scruff. If you are not washing the horse before clipping a thorough groom is vital to ensure that the blades can work through the coat without becoming blunt, clogging or overheating the clipping machine. Grooming the horse will also bring oils to the surface and increase the shine of the coat. Finally a good groom will allow you to check the horse over and find any sensitive areas, patches of dry skin or sore spots / scars that the person clipping the horse will need to be mindful of. Using a small amount of a coat shine silicone based product can help to detangle and soften the coat to help make it easier to clip through.
Tidy up the rest of the horse.
If the horse is to be clipped and you plan to also tidy up the mane, tail, muzzle or feathers it makes sense to do this beforehand so that the clip is the final step to a well turned out horse. Otherwise a neat clip may highlight a mane and tail that are in need of some maintenance.
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