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To clip or not to clip

946 Views 3 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Diane Scott Hammond
I started showing locally last year in showmanship.

I nearly lost a horses eye many years ago, so I NEVER clip around the eyes. Since horse has turnout daily, I have not clipped inside ears...knocked off the stuff that sticks out. He pulls off every Fly mask I've tried...lycra, mesh eared, no earred models. I'm considering not shaving his whiskers. FEI forbids it now. For western, will we be killed in the show pen if I leave them alone?
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I don't show but I don't think you should shave off your horse's natural sensory equipment. Seems like lots of people don't do that anymore, showing or not.
First off let me say I have no favoritism or preference to clip or not...
I do believe it should be the choice of every owner how they chose to present their owned animal that is under their care and ownership to make a decision suitable for all involved.
Do you have a trainer who is familiar with the show pen?
Ask and or go observe a show before you plan to compete yourself so you know what is the practice of today as fad changes.
FEI did "ban" clipping but it is not across the board total clipping outlawed, there are exceptions is my understanding.
Here is how it reads...this from 1/2021.
Article 1004 – Prohibited Methods

Starting July 1, 2021, it will be forbidden to clip or shave or any other way remove a horse’s sensory hairs. Areas of hair that must be clipped to allow for veterinary treatment are exempt from the rule. The FEI has defined sensory hairs as “hard hairs located on the horse’s muzzle and around its eyes, also known as ‘whiskers’ that are used for sensation.”

The full rule reads:
1. Horses are not permitted to compete in FEI Events:

“If the horse’s sensory hairs have been clipped and/or shaven or in any other way removed unless individual sensory hairs have been removed by a veterinarian to prevent pain or discomfort for the Horse. Areas of hair that must be clipped, shaven or removed to allow veterinary treatment are exempt from this rule. As of 1 July 2021, Sanction 39 in Annex VI will be applicable.”

If you don't show under FEI rules, then this new "ruling" not apply to you.
Not every show or venue is FEI compliant..
Talk to your trainer or make a trip to a local show and observe, ask questions of the show secretary for clarifications...that is what the secretary is their for.

To be honest, a premier showing venue near me.. Ocala World Equestrian Center in Florida is specifically not following the FEI rules nor enforcing them.
In fact, they have created their own premier show schedule that is overflowing with entries is my understanding at their facility.
This show facility is premier in housing 2000 animals in permanent concrete stalls during shows, 200 t/o pens all grassed, and has multiple indoor arenas enormous, several outdoor arenas, a Olympic sized show jumping stadium...well to be honest, this place is Olympic venue or better.
So, not all places shall follow rules it do go ask and observe so you blend in not be a bulls-eye otherwise.
Best of luck when you head out to show.
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My personal preference is to leave those whiskers be, however the horse does "look" better clean shaven. If anybody has any experience leaving whiskers be, has it affected your placing?
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