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This is a discussion on SHY OF CLIPPING = ( within the Horse Grooming forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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    08-22-2007, 12:45 AM


We have this horse (1 1/2) he is a really nice horse, we are going to show him next year although grooming is a problem. He is fairly head shy, its nothing we have done!! He is just under handled (that would be sorted by next year) But he hates the sound of clippers!! We shaved his legs and his body while he was fully sdated (and shaved inside his ears). If we are still going to show him next year we need to get him use to the clippers!! Any suggestions??
We can' keep buying sdation!!
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    08-22-2007, 01:29 AM
As far as I know, there's no fast way to teach just have to introduce them slowly and build up. If I have any suggestion, it would be to start now:P Prefer to do this sort of stuff when they are babies...a lot easier than wrestling with a yearling.
    08-22-2007, 03:03 AM
I agree, start now. Tie him next to any of your other horses who are really calm about being ciipped to start. Don't involve him in the process, but just let him be there and see that the other horse isn't going nuts about the clippers. Also, tie him or hold him (whatever is safest in your situation with that horse) and step back quite a ways and just turn the clippers on. If he doesn't respond slowly approach him. If he tenses up or looks nervous, stop and just stand while running the clippers. Keep doing this approach and stop until you are quite near him. Do this in a few sessions. When he is comfortable being around the clippers and noise, take the clippers and touch them to his untied lead rope so that he can feel the vibration. When he is comfortable with this, touch them to somewhere in his meaty shoulder area and let him feel the vibration - do not use them yet. Do the touching with the clippers in several sessions until you can rub them all over him while he is relaxed. When you get to this point you should be ready to try actually clipping him. I like to start with the muzzle because they often like the feeling, and go from there - just take the actuall clipping as slowly as needed, just like all the other stages.

Each horse progresses through this process at different rates, but this is definitely a project that I would start on way ahead of time in case he decides to take a long time to warm up.

Clipping him while sedated may have made the clippers an even scarier thing for him because he was aware of it being done, was probably scared about it, but had no choice but to endure it - slowly working him into it will give him the choice (to a certain extent) to accept them as harmless.
    08-22-2007, 10:50 PM
Yeh I all ready have started him!! But he goes cyco when I start the clippers, he leaps forward nearly over the hitching rail races back again, rears and snorts. Ovisally he doesn't like them..... I have always left the clippers running for a while next to him- for atleast 30 min until they overheat and then I have to turn them off. When they aren't going he doesn't care, its just the noise. I have tried to put cotton wool in his ears (like they do with hacks with the loud speakers) but he still acts crazy.....
Sedating him is the ONLY way I can get next to him though with the clippers. He practally sleeping. I don't know wether to sell him and don't worry bout it or don't give up :roll:


    09-01-2007, 08:39 PM
Go out and buy an electric body-massager for people. They sell them for about $10.

Then, start rubbing his body with the massager. He may not like the sound at first, but soon he'll figure out that it feels good to be massaged. That should help desensitize him to the buzzing/vibrations. Once he's used to that, then go back and restart with the clippers.

If you have an iPod, there's a very nice Parelli podcast that explains the method better. It worked on my thoroughbred mare pretty well, took about a week to get her to hold still, but she's fine to clip now.

Lol, I probably sound like a Parelli nut, I've only made two posts so far, and both are Parelli-praising. :roll:
    09-02-2007, 08:38 PM
Ha.... Thanks for the advice!!
    09-03-2007, 02:45 PM
Interesting idea, Julia, haven't heard that one.
    09-03-2007, 10:25 PM
Yeh I haven't either, but hey if I works well cool!! EXCEPT I live 41/2 5 h from the nearest town that would sell that kind of stuff, so I am kind of stuck in the mud about that = ) He is getting a little better, because he is so young I don't want to push it too far, I am not taking him in lead in till 2yr at the youngest!! So I will wait and see.
Like he seems quite with brushing him but just not the vibrating sound of the clippers. Poor Boy.....
    09-03-2007, 11:55 PM
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
    09-04-2007, 12:18 AM
Thanks Frog!! Yeh I use Osters, they are kind of noisy but I haven't had any problems with any other of my horses. He is slowly getting better though, I think he is just young and he is the youngest horse I am going to trim-clip. As you can see he has quite of a beard, for a 1 1/2 year old!!

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