Join Date: May 2007
Location: Adelaide Hills, South Australia
What type of clippers are you using? Sounds stupid, but I've done a lot of clipping and found that using a different type of clippers often can be the key.
For youngsters I get them used to the itty bitty battery trimmers first, the type that fit in the palm of your hand. With these I will usually trim under the jaws, muzzle and ears. These clippers barely make a sound and gets the horse used to the vibrations.
I'll then move up to the bigger rechargable clippers like the ones made by Wahl (good brand) and I will use them on their legs. Once again they are still relitively quiet.
When starting off when any clippers I will always run them while petting the horse.
When it comes to big clippers, I have found the best brand to be the Heineger (sorry about spelling) they are really very quiet compared to others like the traditional Osters and I am yet to find a horse, young or old who will not be clipped by them. I have actually done quite a few horses that were normally petrified by clippers who end up falling asleep when I am using these.
In your case, with him being so scared of the noise, start off small. If you are worried about burning out the clippers, perhaps record the sound and play it to him when he's eating to desensitize him, sort of like the method used when dogs are afraid of thunder, you play the tape inthe car.
If none of this works, then I would usually twitch the horse rather than sedating. Obviously this will take longer, I used this on one particularly bad individual using the 10minutes on 5 minutes off technique (I'm not a huge fan of twitching horses) but by then end of the session (4hrs) the mare would stand and wasn't frightened any more. I also found out later from her previous owner, that she could never clip her as she would go completely crazy. She used Oster clippers!
Anyway, good luck
'There is no good or bad, just fun or boring'