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MN Tigerstripes 07-05-2010 02:23 PM

Body Clipping a Cushings Horse for Summer
 
My old mare has mild Cushings and has not lost all of her summer coat. Most of the long guard hairs are gone, but the thick "undercoat" type hair is still there and still pretty thick.

Or weather has been really hot, humid, and just plain nasty this year, so I'm thinking I need to body clip her. Problem? I've never body clipped a horse before. It's really odd the areas in which my equine education is lacking eh?

Any bits of advice? Good articles?

Last year she lost all of her coat, except some long guard hairs, by the end of July. I'm worried that she'll end up having heat exhaustion/stroke if I wait for that to happen. Besides which I'm not sure if it IS going to happen. She seems to do a different hair thing every summer. Poor girl has been just dripping sweat on more than one occaision, I've actually gone out and sprayed her off and she just stands there with her eyes half closed.

Thanks for the advice!

maura 07-05-2010 03:05 PM

Body Clipping 101 -

Start with a clean horse and a fresh pair of clipper blades.

Have blade wash, oil, a brush for the clippers and clean towels readily on hand.

Wear old clothes and eye protection (safety glasses or something similiar)

Clip from the tail and go forward, clipping against the hair direction. Clip the legs last, and consider skipping them if your horse is fussy or the hair on them is light. Brush off the clippers, dip in blade wash and oil often. Check the temperature of the blades against your hand often.

Anything that looks rough or uneven, run the clippers over again.

Consider having a friend with a pair of clippers come and do one side while you do the other. Goes faster, easier on the horse and then you have someone to hold a foreleg out while you clip the girth area, bend the head and neck, etc.

The horse will appreciate being hot toweled or rinsed off after the clip.

That's the big stuff. The difference between a good clip and a bad one is usually about two weeks, not that it matters since you're mostly doing this for the horse's comfort.

PS - I know several people who clip Cushing's horses in the summer, I clipped my Appy pony in April because of the heat.

MN Tigerstripes 07-05-2010 03:17 PM

Thanks! Do I use a blade guard or anything? Just lay the blade against the horse? I feel like such a twit for not knowing this.... Oh well, you can't know everything right?

I have a friend who is experienced (show world for many many years) w/ clipping and she's supposed to come help. But she isn't that terrible reliable and I'd like to get this done before I go on vacation for the weekend.

draftrider 07-06-2010 12:53 AM

No blade guard. If you don't want to take off quite as much, run the clippers WITH the lay of the hair rather than against.

Make sure after clipping you keep fly spray on her for sure.

MN Tigerstripes 07-06-2010 08:40 AM

Thank you. Hopefully I can get started tonight. Poor horse is just miserable. I had been a little indecisive too because she is more protected from the swarms of mosquitos, but it's getting too hot...

Starlet 07-06-2010 05:43 PM

i would recomend a fly sheet if you clip alot of hair off. it will protect from bugs and some fly sheets even protect the horses skin from sunburning.

MN Tigerstripes 07-06-2010 05:49 PM

I don't have a fly sheet yet, but she will be heavily bug sprayed until I get a chance to buy/make one. At this point I am way more concerned with her having trouble with the heat than with the bugs. She'll still have as much hair as my gelding and he's surviving just fine, even if he is annoyed... I'm pretty sure she'll be fine on the sunburning too as she's a bay.

Thanks for the response though. I will be attempting a trace clip tonight, figured I should start small and work my way up.

Starlet 07-06-2010 06:01 PM

ok i didn't know if you were doing an absolute super shave or a trim. sorry im just very protective of horses. even if they aren't my own:lol:

MN Tigerstripes 07-06-2010 08:58 PM

So am I, that's why she's getting clipped. :D She has as much hair as my gelding does in the winter still. Poor girl is just dying. During the day she has sweat literally dripping off of her body. She's 30 yrs old, has mild Cushings, and is arthritic pretty much all over. Looks **** good despite all of that though. :D I'm just trying to keep her as comfortable as possible. If I had the facilities and she wasn't arthritic I would maybe keep her inside during the day w/ a couple of fans on her and just turnout at at night. Unfortunatley with her arthritis that would be the end of her. I spoke with my vet and she agreed this was the best course of action, so here I am FINALLY learning how to clip a horse. Thankfully she's a patient girl and trusts me, so we should be fine even though she's never been clipped before.

My parent's bought her as a weanling shortly after I was born, so we've spent our lives together besides the short time I was gone for college. Mom always said I was her favorite and that when I moved home her whole personality brightened. Sorry I get a little sentimental sometimes.

If I seemed a little snappy earlier I apologize, I just get a little defensive when people question my care of my darlings. I'm quite a bit more educated (in some areas, namely nutrition and elderly horse care) than your average backyard horse owner and I do a lot of research before making any changes to their lifestyles. So I hope I didn't offend. :D

MN Tigerstripes 07-14-2010 02:39 PM

Well, I got a trace clip done last week. She's definitely more comfy, but she looks terrible. :D The clippers got really nasty really quick with her sweat soaked hair. I ended up using a #5 blade on part of her because the #10 took off almost all of the hair and I thought she would get eaten alive.

Of course, now she's starting to shed more hair off the rest of her body. I might clip some more of her this weekend though. Our heat index is supposed to be like 103 today. I'm a little worried about her. Hopefully I can get off early and go home to check on her.


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