Clipping issues - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 09-06-2010, 06:41 PM Thread Starter
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Clipping issues

Any tips on getting my horse used to the clippers? I am able to clip her muzzle and under her jaw just fine with no issues but the moment I move to do her bridle path she shakes her head like mad to where I can't hardly get close enough to clip. And the shaking worries me even if I do get close enough because I don't want to end up accidentally clipping part of her mane or forelock off. Any suggestions? Here is a video clip I took yesterday showing what she does.

The wind of heaven is that which blows between a horse's ears. ~Arabian Proverb
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post #2 of 7 Old 09-06-2010, 07:46 PM
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I've heard of some people using electric toothbrushes to get their horses used to the noise.
Is it the noise or is it the having something on her poll that's freaking her out? You could try just cutting it with scissors or someone else posted a link for this a while ago
I'll be ordering some as soon as I get paid. I don't need to clip my horse, he doesn't grow a winter coat in the first place so no real need to get him used to clippers for showing.
I can use these to do his bridle path and then the little horse razors to do his whiskers and his 'beard' under his chin.
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post #3 of 7 Old 09-06-2010, 08:23 PM Thread Starter
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I don't know what the issue is. Cause she isn't afraid of them because if she was she wouldn't even allow me to do the rest of her face or even get near with the clippers on her neck area. And she is fine even with them running up towards her ears/poll area. She just starts freaking out as soon as I turn them to begin clipping. I can't even touch her with them in this direction before she starts shaking and freaking. The only way I can do it is by putting a lip shank on her with my husband holding her but I hate doing that and want her to be fully comfortable.

The wind of heaven is that which blows between a horse's ears. ~Arabian Proverb
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post #4 of 7 Old 09-10-2010, 11:21 PM
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Does she know to lower her head when pressure is put on her poll? If not, you need to teach her to. Start with her head lowered to about your waist, if possible. That way you have a clear view of what you are doing. Make sure that you have the clippers held level on her bridle path. I noticed that you had them really upright so only the tips of the clipper blades were being used, this can lead to nicking or pinching, and that could be causing your problem. Also, when you are rubbing her neck with the clippers, do not remove them as long as her head is up like that. She tried to lower her head once, and you left the clippers there. When she lowers her head remove the clippers, that will teach her that keeping her head low is the correct answer. I would also work on this other than when you are actually clipping her bridle path. She will get it, and get better about it. I wish I had electricity out at my barn, so I could do this. Right now I use the hand clippers, but I plan on buying a really good set of cordless clippers as soon as I can, but right now there are more important (to me anyway) things to get accomplished with my mare.

Good luck!
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post #5 of 7 Old 09-10-2010, 11:49 PM
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I would make the clippers part of her life everyday until she gets used to them. The fact that she spooks/flinches when you turn them on and is consistently leaned away from them (if you look at how she's holding herself as you clip her muzzle, you'll notice that she leaned back away from them) tells me that she is, in fact, afraid of the clippers (probably the noise of them, since she seems fine when they aren't on). If I were working with her, I would have those clippers on, nearby, at all times while I worked with her until it's no big deal. Then, I would start having them on, near her muzzle, until she relaxes. Then I would turn them off and be done for the day. Once she's completely comfortable with them near her muzzle (ie, no leaning away from them, flinching when the noise comes on, etc) I'd repeat holding them, while on, near her bridle path and rubbing her bridle path with them until she relaxes a little, then I would stop for the day. I'd just keep doing that for as long as it takes for her to be fine (fine as in: no flinching, backing away, spooking, leaning away, etc) with them. It'll probably take a while, depending on how fast of a learner she is, but she obviously, from the video, is working her hardest to trust you, she's just a little worried.

I wouldn't try legitly clipping her bridle path until she's totally fine with the noise back there and the clippers being rubbed on her neck while they're running. I also think I'd leave the clippers on when I move them from her face back, that way she knows where they are and isn't surprised by a sudden loudish noise right by her ear, yknow? :)

Good luck! She's a super cute mare. :)

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.
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post #6 of 7 Old 09-11-2010, 08:23 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tips everyone.

Painted: Yes she does know pressure off of the poll. She does it very well Just her head shakes like mad when up in that area. And the angle I was holding them i wasn't even able to touch her and I was trying to avoid shaving off her forelock or a huge chunk of her mane at the same time.

Wallaby: Those are some good ideas going to have to try doing that.

The wind of heaven is that which blows between a horse's ears. ~Arabian Proverb
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post #7 of 7 Old 09-12-2010, 10:33 PM
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I fully agree with Wallaby...just by the vid, she is not fully sure of what's going on, let alone being fully relaxed...I should video my mare tomorrow for some comparison...mine likes to lip at the clipper cause they tickle, it's so funny. Her eyes will be half closed, hahaha. Anyway, that she doesn't mind them while their off, is a good start, so now you need to start turning them on, and desensitizing her to them while they make noise; not clippering her quite yet, just let them 'buzz' on and around her...take them away from her when she relaxes...I like to start desensitizing from the shoulder up the neck, and finally to the bridlepath, etc.

I think you're just trying too much too fast with her, slow down, and work on getting her used to the sound all around her head, then just lean the clipper body on her and do the same thing...when she doesn't care about that, then hold the blade to her, and run it backwards (not clippering, you'll just lay the flat of the clipper blade on her to get her used to the full sensation of clippering, without actually clippering her). I am fortunate to have a much quieter, clipper that is cordless; I have a corded attachment for it as well. I don't care for Oster for that very reason...they are very loud. I use Andis.

"The ideal horseman has the courage of a lion, the patience of a saint, and the hands of a woman..."

Last edited by mom2pride; 09-12-2010 at 10:39 PM.
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