Desperately need clipper help-long story - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 10-25-2013, 09:03 AM Thread Starter
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Desperately need clipper help-long story

In a nutshell-new mare (3 years old) cannot be clipped.. help!!

Backstory-- We bought this mare who is 1/2 sister to my wonderful mare, in June of this year. She was 3 years old and had been Amish broke. When we went to see/ride her she was smooth as silk (Gaited Spotted Saddle Horse) and pretty as can be. She had one fault.. a bad one.. She was EXTREMELY head shy. The man we bought her from gave us a deal because of the head shyness and my hubby is very patient so he took her on as a project.

We had her checked and she had ticks in her ears, when the vet came to check her he drug her in order to look at and clean her ears.. while she was drug we clipped her..

Since then, hubby has been very patient... he puts his hand on her ear/head/muzzle and when she stops stressing/fighting it he releases the pressure and moves hand away.. then repeats, repeats, and more repetitions. Now.. you can rub her ears, she loves to be rubbed on her forehead.. and we can put a bridle/halter on with no problem.. YEA!!!

THE PROBLEM... He has tried doing the same pressure/release with the clippers.. we have an old set that don't work and are louder than the good set.. so he uses them to put on her neck/forehead/muzzle/bridle path. She will barely stand it. BUT... when he actually tries to clip she goes nuts.... we have tried many tricks.... tied her next to a wall and tried to clip over the wall(so she wouldn't hurt us) he asked the vet for a shot to drug her so we could clip her.. last night the drug had her very, very sleepy, she could barely stand up. so we tried to clip.. she went ballistic.. and broke a lead line snap.

The clippers she will barely tolerate on her, but she will. He has done the lay on the neck and release the pressure.. that is getting somewhat better, BUT when we actually try to clip is when she goes crazy.

He is VERY discouraged... can someone give us some guidance.. We have never had a horse that couldn't be clipped. He has worked on her head with his hand/halter/bridle/clippers all summer. It is driving him nuts that he cannot clip her.. Please help!!


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post #2 of 12 Old 10-25-2013, 10:02 AM
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I had a horse I was working with that had the same problem. You will need a lung line and the clipers. So when you go to clip her and she gets a little crazy send her around you and go around a few times. Repeat. Keep going longer and longer for the time she stands with the clippers.
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post #3 of 12 Old 10-25-2013, 11:06 AM
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I had a mare who would not stand for clipping. I have a relatively quiet battery operated one.
We went out into the pasture and I had her follow the clippers. We would stop and I'd approach, always letting her see them. Soon I could rub her neck, then get closer to her head and in a short time I was able to clip the bridle path. But if she objected, I's step back and let her follow. We never had another problem but I always let her see the clippers before I proceeded.
I also use this with other objects the horses are spooky about. Let them follow.
Never try and sneak up to them with something.

If you ever find yourself in a fair fight, it's because your tactics suck. ~ Marine 1SGT J. Reifinger
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post #4 of 12 Old 10-25-2013, 11:51 AM Thread Starter
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Dustbunny, what do you mean by follow the clippers???


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post #5 of 12 Old 10-25-2013, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by RhondaLynn View Post
Dustbunny, what do you mean by follow the clippers???

Lead the horse. Hold the clipper out in front of the horse (they need to be running) and have the horse follow the scary thing. Stop and approach. Retreat if need be. Continue until the horse begins to accept the clippers coming close. It's a step-by-step process.
By following the scary thing is "running away" from the horse. Makes the horse think he/she has the advantage. It has also worked with umbrellas, vehicles...whatever. This method has worked for me anyway.

Also, the horse needs to be accepting of having the ears and top of the head touched. It sounds like you have been working on that. If she is still having a problem with that, I would hold off on the clipping until that issue is better.

If you ever find yourself in a fair fight, it's because your tactics suck. ~ Marine 1SGT J. Reifinger

Last edited by Dustbunny; 10-25-2013 at 12:18 PM.
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post #6 of 12 Old 10-25-2013, 12:44 PM
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Many horses don't like the tickling sensation. My dressage horse needs to be body clipped with smaller, quiet clippers and even then he is very flinchy!! You probably want to get some cordless clippers to play with - and get the quietest ones. Buy new blades often and make sure they are well lubricated. Other than that, just keep trying and being patient and calm. How is she with scissors snipping hair by her head? That might be the first place to start. Clicker trainer might also be something that is useful in this situation. Click and treat every time she touches the clippers??

They say money doesn't buy happiness -- well happiness doesn't buy horses!
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post #7 of 12 Old 10-25-2013, 02:52 PM
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I would also recommend you get some small rechargeable clippers - they are much quieter and you have no cable dragging around to worry about.
Always have good new blades and keep them well oiled
I prefer to hold a horse on my own - the fewer people underfoot the better - and in a space that has enough room for me to be safe but not so much that the horse can get too far away from me
Start at the shoulder and begin by running the back of the blades along the horses hair not against it - so not cutting - just so they can feel them against the skin and hear the noise
Make the clipping pleasurable - the moment it all gets tense and aggressive you've lost because they'll dread it every time
With a nervous horse I would use treats as a reward for the smallest progress and if you use clicker training this is the time to try that
I would much rather ask the vet to come along and lightly sedate the horse than get into a battle with it - usually after a few sessions they forget their fears if nothing bad has happened to them but if they associate the clippers with punishment or something bad or scary then they never will
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post #8 of 12 Old 10-28-2013, 12:39 AM
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I agree with the clicker training. Turn the clippers on and give the horse a treat, put the clippers on the horse's shoulders and treat... The horse should only get a reward when the clippers touch.

Or do the same thing you did with her headshyness and the halter. Let her get used to them on her terms. Even if that means just turning them on and off next to her. You are making this worse by pushing her to tolerate them near her head.
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post #9 of 12 Old 10-28-2013, 09:07 AM
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Honestly,I have a great, obedient, quiet mare on the ground. Her one fault is she hates the clippers. Worse than any horse I know. I was very patient and tried the above techniques for months with little to no improvement. I finally started using sedation. I have sedated her twice so far. She is great when she's sleepy. I haven't tried clipping her face with out the drugs yet, but I can now cup her legs with out her trying to kill me.

I am not one to drug over every little issue, but I wish I had done it sooner. This last time I used dorm gel which is cheap and you can give it yourself so no farm call.
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Last edited by gypsygirl; 10-28-2013 at 09:09 AM.
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post #10 of 12 Old 10-28-2013, 10:10 AM Thread Starter
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Hi gypsygirl.. we got a drug from the vet.. gave it.. she got soooo sleepy that she almost fell over.. we tried to clip her.. and wow.. she woke up fast!!!

What is dorm gel??


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