Saturday, May 26, 2007

Clipping for the Arabian Horse Show Circuit - The Face

After spending a lot of years working as a groom so that I could learn as much as I could about every aspect of horse ownership, I can do a pretty detailed halter type clip with just a pair of clippers and an assortment of blades.
Normally those exotic clips are done with a straight razor around the detail points (eyes and muzzle) and then lots and lots of blending. They are done at least two weeks before the show so that they can grow out some to look more natural. Balding is now illegal for halter horses but I can't say that I have seen horses penalized for it yet.

My clippers of choice are the Laube cordless but it took me a number of years to be able to afford them so a 2 speed A-5 clipper by Oster and the large K2 clippers got me through. Mostly I use #10, 15, 30, 40 and 50 size blades. I can do a lot of blending with all of those sizes and make my clip look natural instead of contrived.

Here I'm going to try to describe the basics. I clip the bridle path and the muzzle with the #40 blades just as routine maintenance for all of my horses. I do this clip weekly on the horses that I'm working and monthly on the rest. That way my young horses get lots of exposure to the clippers so when I do need to do a fancy show clip, I don't have squirming tense horses.

For the show clip I will begin with the #10 blade and work against the grain of the hair. That means the hair is laying towards the clippers. I usually variate the angle from straight on to a little off to both the right and left sides.

I start at the top going down with my clippers outlining the point of the "V" in the horse's jibbah. Once I have a clean straight line that follows the V all the way down to the top of the eye bone, I will begin to clip the hair from the inner portion. I also go down over the top (only the top) of the eye, then on down the head to the muzzle.

On the sides I clip from the muzzle up to the edge of the jowl. At the top edge of the tear bone I clip up towards the corner of the eye and running into the portion that has been clipped from the jibbah down. Underneath I will clip all the way up to the throatlatch staying withing the branches.

So this means I do not clip the jowl (although if there are long guard hairs at the outline of the jowl, I will carefully trim these back to the length of the rest of the jowl hair) or between the ears to the eyes except that "v" area or wedge area of the jibbah. See the picture and look closely for the lighter area. That is the portion that was clipped. The top picture shows the "V" area (notice this horse has small cowlicks that affect the straightness of the lines) and the line to clip over the eye. The second picture shows another angle of the line over the eyes, clipping above the tear bone and to the jowl.

To be continued............

Part 2

You can see some of her previous foals on our website, Rising Rainbow Arabians .


  1. Definately an art...looks very sleek and ready for the show ring. Great perspective on how much work goes into the little things.

  2. I'd forgotten just how much work there was getting ready for a show. It's always fun to see your dedication combined with your horsey integrity here!

  3. Fortunately something I dont have to do too often, although the blue roan mare BB is fine with the clippers and believe it or ot the yearling Blaze that I say is so laid back, had to be clipped so that I could submit pictures to APHA for his registration in the middle of winter and he just stood and let me do it with no problem. Any of the other horses would have had a seizure!!!! I had to bathe him the other day and it is the first time I have used the hose on him and he stood like an angel. This is such a great colt.