Clipping is the latest area of the horse world to receive a makeover. No longer is it just the case of a hunter, trace or full clip – it appears that if we can’t add any more bling or new colours to our tack, the new area of experimentation is clipping.
In years gone by, clipping was used extensively to allow horses such as hunters to cool down quickly while hunting, but left the legs protected against mud, and knocks when out in the field. Endurance horses are clipped before rides such as Fauresmith, often leaving the girth and saddle area unclipped to prevent excessive chafing in these sensitive areas.
- Conserve energy by reducing sweating
- Prevent excessive loss of condition due to sweating
- Faster drying after exercise
- Maintain better level of fitness
- Easier grooming
- Smarter-looking horse
Tradition vs trend
Traditionally chalk was used to outline the desired clip by either drawing around the saddle or the correct line of the bridle for clipping half the head. For this new clipping craze, stencils are the easiest form of getting the image you want – some even add wording. However, the true artists clip freehand and the results can be astounding. Dragons, brick walls, giraffes, fleur de lis, zebra stripes and even a castle are all possibilities if you are brave or innovative enough.
Equine body art
Clippers who create freehand artworks in this medium often tailor the clip to suit the horse or pony and their personality. Sometimes it is a specific request by the owner or rider.
Horses need to be patient and stand, the clipper blades need to be rinsed in oil every 10 minutes or so to ensure a clean clip and prevent overheating, and the coat needs to be spotlessly clean before starting.
HQ was fortunate to be able to talk to clipper extraordinaire, Greta Alexandra Oskolkov-Schneider. She became very well known when her famous giraffe clip went viral on social media. Her Facebook page is inundated with photos of beautiful, unusual and often completely unexpected clips.
Greta has never had any problems with any of her fancy clips causing pressure points under numnahs or girths. She does, however, caution that after clipping the horses should be well wiped down with a rinse to avoid the short prickly hairs remaining behind. Greta also advises that sensitivity must be used when clipping the tender areas of the flanks, girth and legs, especially when a particularly detailed fiddly clip is being created.
- A squeaky clean coat
- A quiet horse
- Multiple clippers to prevent overheating
- Clipper wash or oil to keep the blades lubricated
- Coat rinse and a cloth to wipe off all clipped hair to prevent irritation
- Sheets or a blanket to keep the horse warm
Is it for us?
Opinions remain divided over this new craze – some think it’s fun, others find it frivolous or even disrespectful to their horses. In sunny South Africa, where clipping is conservatively used, it remains to be seen if it will take off. But who knows – if it does, we could see Amabokke, giraffe, cheetah and Ndebele designs gracing our competition arenas.
Text: Mandy Schroder, Photography: Courtesy of Greta Alexandra Oskolkov-Schneider
For the full story get the April 2015 issue of HQ Magazine.