Grooming a horse is an integral part of caring and caring for a horse. It gives the overall appearance of the horse a neat appearance and prevents dirt and other irritants from sticking to its cover. However, this is a very difficult job, as some horses get nervous due to their young age or because they are not properly prepared for acquaintance with electric hair clippers. Besides the fact that this is a tedious job, a haircut can be dangerous both for a horse and for a person, since it is likely that a nervous horse can kick and cause injury, and it is also possible that it will twitch and hurt itself. H and H (Horse and Hound UK) is Britain's oldest weekly horse breeding magazine and has great horse grooming instructions.
Why cut it?
First of all, for the health of the horse. Thick winter coat perfectly protects the horse from hypothermia in the stable and in the levada. But if the horse is not a walking one, but a sports one (show jumping, dressage), then it sweats a lot during training. After work, the horse cools down, its long coat becomes cold, without drying out at all. And this is the risk of getting a cold, or even pneumonia.
There are several more “pluses”: cleaning of a shorn horse is much easier, it looks much neater without a long and thick winter “coat”. This is especially important if you regularly compete in competitions. Depending on the work that the horse does, you need to choose the most suitable haircut.
When to cut?
Owners of horses begin to think about whether it is time to cut, in late September, when the horse begins to grow winter coat. In central Russia, horses are sheared for the first time around late October - early November. The last haircut should be done before the spring shedding (around the end of February). How often you need to cut a horse is decided strictly individually, because some horses grow faster, others slower.
How to cut?
Currently in stores you can find various models of electric horse clippers. This device is quite expensive, so you need to choose it very carefully, paying attention to whether it is convenient to hold the machine in your hand, is it too heavy in weight. There are models with reduced noise and vibration, with different speeds of rotation of the motor - of course, this increases the cost of the device. Cars can work from the network (but when cutting, it’s difficult to constantly ensure that the horse does not step on the electric cord and that he doesn’t get into the puddle of spilled water, which are sometimes found in the aisles), or from the battery (such machines usually work about 30- 45 minutes with a fully charged battery, then it takes about 20 minutes to recharge). As a rule, a new clipper is sold in a small plastic case, it can be supplied with brushes, a bottle of oil for lubrication and a screwdriver.
What haircuts are there?
"Post-Launch" haircut. The horse is trimmed along the line where the harness is worn. Previously used only for draft horses, but is now popular for strollers. The hair is sheared from the lower part of the neck and abdomen, that is, from those areas that sweat most heavily. With such a haircut, you can take a horse for long riding, without fear that it will freeze.
Haircut "under blanket". Larger areas are cropped than in the first version. Wool is left on the back, lower back, croup and legs. The haircut is suitable for sports horses that work both in the indoor arena and on the street.
Gunter haircut. The coat remains only on the legs and under the saddle (it is believed that in this place the coat provides additional protection for the horse’s back). Abroad, this haircut is widely used for hunting horses, many working on dirty and wet soil. It allows quick and high-quality cleaning after hunting, and the horses dry much faster. Winters in Russia are much colder than in Western Europe, so in our area such a haircut is not suitable for horses that work a lot on the street.
Full haircut. The hair is cut off completely. This "style" is suitable for sports horses, actively training and playing in the winter. In the absence of an indoor playpen and a warm stable, such a haircut is not recommended.
How to prepare for a haircut?
It is best to trim the horse in daylight. Autumn and, even more so, winter days are short, so pre-calculate the time to catch before dark. Haircuts can drag on for 2-3 hours.
Be sure to check all equipment in advance: whether the machine is working, if the wire is frayed (when powered from the mains), or if the blades become dull.
For a haircut, the horse must be put on the denouement in the passage, not cluttered with unnecessary objects (hay bales, equipment, etc.). Prepare and twist, it may be needed to fix the horse in place when cutting hard-to-reach areas.
Ideally, it would be nice to have a spare machine if your suddenly breaks during a haircut. At the very least, think about who it will be possible to borrow from in order to cut the horse. It is also good to prepare spare sharpened blades.
The horse must be cleaned and completely dried (if it is wet after work or in the rain).
For a person who will cut, it is better to wear a windbreaker or jacket, the ideal option is overalls (so that the sheared hair does not remain on the clothes).
Wireless cars are more convenient and give greater freedom of movement, just remember to check if the batteries are fully charged.
How to cut?
Turn on the machine and let it run for a few seconds idle so that the horse gets used to its sound.
It is better to start a haircut with the shoulders or the lower part of the neck.
It is recommended to lubricate the machine’s blades every 10 minutes, while cleaning them of adhering wool and checking whether the machine is overheated.
The more uniform the pressure and the longer the cuts, the smoother the cut hair will look. At each pass, grab a part of the already trimmed area so that the “ladder” does not turn out.
If you want to leave an uncoated piece of hair under the saddle, mark it with chalk or saddle soap first (circle the tan pad with it on the horse’s back).
Do not forget to regularly trim the hair from the horse during the haircut.
When cutting under the arms, raise the horse’s leg - the skin will stretch and it will be easier to cut.
Before cutting, it is better to bandage the tail so that the hair from it does not accidentally get into the machine.
It is better to cut the hind legs from the inside from the opposite side (the right leg is on the left, and vice versa). Be especially careful, and keep the tail to the side so that it does not interfere.
When trimming the hind legs, place your hand on the hock joint to predict the intention of the horse to repulse.
It would be nice to call an assistant - so that the horse does not cross his legs and beat off, ask him to hold one of the horse's legs in weight while you trim the others, according to the following pattern: the rear right is trimmed - the front right is raised, the rear left is trimmed - the front left is raised.
When cutting under the mane, throw it to the other side and cut 1 cm below its base.
What are the features of cutting nerve horses?
Before shearing a nervous horse, introduce it to the machine: first, just move it over the body, not turning it on, then turn it on, but do not bring it too close to the horse, giving time to get used to the noise.
Put your hand on the horse’s shoulder, on top - a working machine, so that the horse is a little accustomed to vibration.
Nerve horses begin to be cut with a small machine, after getting used to change it to a large one.
Start the haircut with hard-to-reach areas of the body until the horse is very nervous.
If the horse is nervous not from vibration or discomfort, but from the noise of the machine, you can plug her ears with cotton.
When cutting the area around the eyes, cover them with your palm so that the horse does not get scared and so as not to damage the sensitive skin around them.
If a horse is given a haircut only under the influence of sedative drugs, the preparation should be carried out especially carefully so that no interference would delay the time of the haircut. Ideally, such horses are sheared by two people on both sides at the same time.
Do not forget!
Immediately after the haircut, the horse should be cleaned and wiped with a damp cloth moistened with warm water to remove the cut hair and lubricating oil from the machine from the skin, and then cover with blankets to avoid hypothermia.
The type of haircut is selected depending on the conditions in which the horse lives, and on the work she performs.
During the winter, you have to cut the horse several times, but as soon as the spring molt begins and the "summer" coat begins to grow, it is no longer recommended to cut.