The Horse Forum banner

body clipping help

622 Views 15 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  PennyTheConnie
any ideas for a horse who doesn't like clippers?
1 - 16 of 16 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
17,000 Posts
I have had my horse for about three years, since she was four, she is a well bred Connemara pony with papers but somehow ended up in the kill pen after the breeder's husband sold all their horses. she was very very anxious for the first two years of having her, it took her a very long time to realize that we weren't going to hurt her, but even now there are things that she is absolutely terrified about and can act in dangerous ways when exposed to. I broke two ribs trying to spray her with the hose when she slammed my into the wall of the wash stall, and have been injured before in similar circumstances like that. She doesn't like the hose, spray bottles, or the sound that a chain makes (we think she was hit with a chain before), and the thing she hates most is clippers. She grows so much hair and it is impossible to continue working her without her getting extremely sweaty. We also can't show with her this fluffy (not that that is my main concern). We attempted to clip her last year, and gave her the highest dose of Dorm we could safely give her, and even then she would seem calm, we would start to clip, and she would explode in jump in the air, kick out, pull the crossties out of the wall. It was impossible and she was left with a clipped neck and nothing else. Has anyone else worked with a horse like this? what are your recommendations?
Put her under lights. Extend her daylight time and it will cause her to shed. You still won't be able to clip her but it won't get you killed. In the meantime, don't try to clip, but just turn them on near her and walk toward her shoulder until she looks anxious and stop. Just stand until she relaxes. Rinse and repeat until you can clip her. You might also try Acepromezine and Xylazine instead of the Detomidine. It might work better for her. You might also try putting cotton in her ears to dull the sounds, that sometimes helps to calm them.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
3,986 Posts
If you must clip, you need to do a major desensitization with miss fluffy.

I had great success using a battery operated kids toy (a chain saw that made a nice buzzing sound - hence the choice and not wanting to wear the clippers out). I would walk around the horse at a fair distance until he noticed the sound then I would back away, multiple repeats of this moving in closer each time until it reached the point I was finally touching him with it. Key to this is a great deal of patience and not restraining the horse - he was never tied and just stood in the aisle way of the barn. I think it took about a couple of weeks doing it daily.
 

· Registered
My black horse is very silly and handsome. He is hard to train most of the time.
Joined
·
811 Posts
Just don't clip her at all is what I think is best! It is good for horses to go through the natural processes of loosing their hair instead of having it all trimmed off with a machine that wild horses don't have happen to them. It took my horses 2 months to loose all their hair and I brushed them often, they rolled and finally they all-of-a-sudden lost all their fluffy hair in about 2 weeks after shedding like CRAZZZZY for like 2 months. Boy was I glad to get all that hair gone and stop falling off in the bagfuls lol!!
 

· Registered
Joined
·
8,926 Posts
I have had my horse for about three years, since she was four, she is a well bred Connemara pony with papers but somehow ended up in the kill pen after the breeder's husband sold all their horses. she was very very anxious for the first two years of having her, it took her a very long time to realize that we weren't going to hurt her, but even now there are things that she is absolutely terrified about and can act in dangerous ways when exposed to. I broke two ribs trying to spray her with the hose when she slammed my into the wall of the wash stall, and have been injured before in similar circumstances like that. She doesn't like the hose, spray bottles, or the sound that a chain makes (we think she was hit with a chain before), and the thing she hates most is clippers. She grows so much hair and it is impossible to continue working her without her getting extremely sweaty. We also can't show with her this fluffy (not that that is my main concern). We attempted to clip her last year, and gave her the highest dose of Dorm we could safely give her, and even then she would seem calm, we would start to clip, and she would explode in jump in the air, kick out, pull the crossties out of the wall. It was impossible and she was left with a clipped neck and nothing else. Has anyone else worked with a horse like this? what are your recommendations?
I would say the clipping is the least of your worries. You need to address the underlying TRAINING problems of pony. As far as she is concerned, you are trying to kill her with the hose, spray bottle, clippers, chain, etc and that is why she is going into fight-or-flight mode to save herself.

Do you have access to a trainer that is very experience with ground work? It's a matter of getting the horse to focus on you, and start to TRAIN the horse how to stay in thinking mode, or at least be able to get her out of the fight-flight response and back to thinking as quick as you can. That's the only way you're going to help her not freak out in these situations. This is a time consuming process and will likely take months of consistent repetition, considering she's had these problems her entire life and she is now 7 years old.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
8,099 Posts
I didn't read the replies, but if she has fear issues and is reactive, and you really want to clip her, have you tried clipping her in the pasture or somewhere where she can get away? Maybe like a round pen, so she can't get too far. And then just do the whole approach and retreat, maybe with treats maybe not, slowly increasing what you're asking as she shows she can handle it? Plan on it taking days before she might accept them.

I don't know, I have never had a horse that injured me out of fear, except Teddy but that was just a little rope burn. I just think if you're doing it with them loose, and they have a way of escaping, at least they don't feel like they have to fight you.
 
  • Like
Reactions: younghorsetrainer

· Registered
Joined
·
103 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I would say the clipping is the least of your worries. You need to address the underlying TRAINING problems of pony. As far as she is concerned, you are trying to kill her with the hose, spray bottle, clippers, chain, etc and that is why she is going into fight-or-flight mode to save herself.

Do you have access to a trainer that is very experience with ground work? It's a matter of getting the horse to focus on you, and start to TRAIN the horse how to stay in thinking mode, or at least be able to get her out of the fight-flight response and back to thinking as quick as you can. That's the only way you're going to help her not freak out in these situations. This is a time consuming process and will likely take months of consistent repetition, considering she's had these problems her entire life and she is now 7 years old.
yes, I am employed at a farm where we train and sell horses, and have trained horses with all sorts of problems including those require a lot of groundwork. it took years of groundwork to make her okay with spray bottles and the hose. This pony has come a long way with a lot of groundwork and she has turned into a relatively chill horse who can go out on hacks and be calm. The only thing that she still is crazy about is the clippers
 

· Registered
Joined
·
103 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I didn't read the replies, but if she has fear issues and is reactive, and you really want to clip her, have you tried clipping her in the pasture or somewhere where she can get away? Maybe like a round pen, so she can't get too far. And then just do the whole approach and retreat, maybe with treats maybe not, slowly increasing what you're asking as she shows she can handle it? Plan on it taking days before she might accept them.

I don't know, I have never had a horse that injured me out of fear, except Teddy but that was just a little rope burn. I just think if you're doing it with them loose, and they have a way of escaping, at least they don't feel like they have to fight you.
that is actually a very good idea! she is not reactive in the way that she attacks me when I try to clip her, but rather she gets so scared that she explodes and rears and jumps in the air and spooks so intensely that she's not looking where her feet are going so she is likely to hurt someone or fall over. Luckily she does not want to hurt me on purpose, but doing it in a pasture or round pen is a good idea
 

· Registered
Joined
·
103 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
If you do try dormosedan ( or another drug) make sure and give plenty of time before starting. I blew a few $ by starting in trimming feet too soon. Patience truly is a virtue🙂
If you must clip, you need to do a major desensitization with miss fluffy.

I had great success using a battery operated kids toy (a chain saw that made a nice buzzing sound - hence the choice and not wanting to wear the clippers out). I would walk around the horse at a fair distance until he noticed the sound then I would back away, multiple repeats of this moving in closer each time until it reached the point I was finally touching him with it. Key to this is a great deal of patience and not restraining the horse - he was never tied and just stood in the aisle way of the barn. I think it took about a couple of weeks doing it daily.
that is a very good idea, i tried doing it by playing the sound of the clippers with my phone and pretending to clip her while she eats her hay, I haven't had time to do it every day but she is definitely improving!
 

· Premium Member
Retired breeder
Joined
·
2,971 Posts
You could use what we used to use years ago before much of anyone had power clippers. We used these:


You can do a mane up just like power shears. I used them on manes, legs, pasterns, etc.
You can get pretty good with them! And they are quiet.
 

· Super Moderator
Joined
·
18,549 Posts
Her reaction makes me think she may have been shocked, aka elctrocuted by clippers not properly grounded at the outlet...you bet she is going to react.
Or...
She has had some kind of treatment or cruelty done to her that also has a similar sound or feeling as a clipper running and touching her body at the time.

If she truly needs to be clipped for health reasons, you need your vet on hand.
A IV bag hung and her watched and monitored closely so the job can be accomplished with as little distress or danger to horse or human occur.
Several machines and blade sets so she is never touched with warm let alone hot blades which truly burn them badly.

It will take months if not years to acclimate this animal to being docile while clipped if ever.
Sometimes it is needed to pick your battle you must win....
I wish you much luck and safety in handling this animal with a clipper running in their proximity.
🐴....
 

· Registered
Joined
·
103 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Are you using large or small clippers? The small clippers are pricey but make a huge difference to a worried horse.
just the standard clippers used by most grooms, medium sized, i don't remember what brand they are but they aren't crazy big. I will definitely look into smaller clippers, but that might make the job take a much longer time, which could make the drugs wear off faster.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top