clipping question

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Oct 11, 2007
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We are clipping a yearling colt to be shown for the first time. We have clipped him once before but didn't get around the ears good. It was okay then because it was just a schooling show. Hubby has been clipping him for about 6 hours now. He gets some short breaks inbetween. We finally got the feet done, but the face and ears seem to be a big problem! He is fighting so much that I am afraid he will hurt himself or we may hurt him with the clippers. I said let him go for the day and finish up after work tomorrow. Hubby is a perfectionist and says he will get it done tonight. Does anybody have any helpfull advise on how to get them to calm down?
I can't hold him. He is tied but jerks around, rears up and just basicly thrashes around. HELP!
I'm sorry, but six hours of clipping in one day is just too much for one horse! Even if the colt is getting short breaks, that's too much! I clipped my yearling colt in much less time than that--yes, we had a brief argument over clipping legs (I started with the legs) but it was a short argument, then we stopped, I praised him for being such a silly boy (yes, I praised him, let him settle, then tried again. That time, he stood there.) I did his legs, then went away for lunch, came back & clipped his body and most of his head, in just over an hour. I got most of one ear done & a little bit of the other one, then he wanted no more of that. I went away and then that evening was able to do a little more on the 2nd ear, then called it good enough. It wasn't perfect, but it was good enough. My boy with his not quite perfect ears did super well & yes, he had some tough competition. Tell your hubby to chill out before someone gets hurt. It's just not worth it.

besides, with the colt fighting like that, I see no way that anyone could do a decent clip job on those ears!!

Best advice? Get a twitch. A wood clamp will work nicely as long as you get the right kind. (I do have to get one of those--I bought one but it wasn't the right kind & doesn't stay on worth a darn. It's useless. I have a friend that uses one with great results, so I have to take a look at hers & get one of the same kind.) When I went to buy one it was last minute and the only close store didn't have much to pick from & I didn't have time to go further afield to shop elsewhere.

But anyway, a twitch is much, much better than fighting with a horse that way.
Thank You! He did finally stop when I came in to ask for advise. He did get some of the ears partway done. I felt it was way to long to keep a yearling in one spot even if he did get to stop and walk around some. The show isn't for 2 weeks so I felt we had time to drag it out a couple of days. He can work on the inside of the ears some other day.

We are both very inexperianced at clipping and have different ideas. I sometimes wonder if I am too much of a pushover when it comes to my horses. I get really worried about them getting hurt or too tired, or even ulcers from the stress.

I will get a twitch. That sounds like a plan but I may have to wait untill the show to pick one up.

Well, little Peter Pan seems fine now. He's not mad at us and actually looks pretty good for all he has been through.

How often do you bathe them before a show? We bathed him a couple of months ago for clipping, then bathed him this morning for clipping and will bathe him again the day before the show. Should they then get another bath after the show?
I haven't any advice on clipping, I'm afraid, but I agree with Minimor, this has gone on much too long! With even the best training programs, an occasional battle is to be expected, but this is WAR!

This is a baby! Think "baby steps!" Introduce things a little at a time, back up and review when things get uncomfortable. He's going to remember this the rest of his life!

I have a 2-year-old here that freaks at the sight of a farrier because her owner got her trimmed for the first time without ever handling her feet. It has turned what could have been a non-issue into a major problem!

Edited to add: I wouldn't worry about him being mad, I'd think he'd be scared to death!
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Ooops! :DOH! We have had farrier issues too! This is our first and only baby born here so far and I am certainly learning some things as I go along. Luckily my farrier has forgiven me. (Well,, Maybe not... This is the third farrier!
) Peter Pan is much better now with the farrier. Hubby has been working with his feet. I am relaying this advise to hubby. (In a kind way) We all three have calmed down now. It was tramatic for all of us. The advise is much better received when it comes from someone other than myself.
A twitch is the best to help with this. You can also use a clamp that you can get from a hardware store or from Walmart. Just make sure to wrap the end of the clamp with vet wrap. Jill is the one we got this idea of the clamp from last time someone was asking about using a twitch. I even hink there was a pic of the clamp on here.

Also just make sure your clipper blades are not too hot when using a twitch. Check them ofter.
You could try using a hair dryer to try to get him accustomed to the vibration and noise from a safer distance. But only for about 10-15 minutes at a time.
I would be peeved if I to had to stand in one spot for 6 hours.

I agree, get a twitch. It will make both of your lives easier. Even on problem horses(and let me tell you I have done some recently) at max it takes me 2 hours to do a full clip. I can tend to do a full clip on problem horses in a hour, good horses half in hour.

Also clipping him two weeks ahead probably isnt a good thing, you more then likely will have to do him again before a show.
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Thanks! I just love you guys!
It feels like the verizon commercial where you have all of those people standing behind you all of the time!

Well now you have been introduced to my 2 most stubborn men. Hubby loves Peter Pan and thinks he is just the greatest little horse in the world, but I did try to remind him that he is not detailing his car! He did take him for walks and over to see the girls a few times to break things up. I told him that I would like to watch someone else do it and just see how long it takes. To get some tips too.

Clip him again!
I hope not. He is bay and I wanted that rich red color to come back before the show. Wait till I tell him this. :DOH!

I think I will buy a twitch from the guy at the show because he can show us both the correct way to use it.

Peter Pan was actually pretty good till he got to the face and legs. I think they were both tired by then. I really don't know why the first part took so long. I think maybe he wanted it to be perfect and just didn't take into consideration that this is like a very young child.

He wanted to do everything himself because he is going to show in AOTE.
And I thought I thought 45 minutes was way too long to have my horses standing there like that.

Gee whiz, give that horse a break. A long one!
You have gotten good advice.
I usually clip from 2-3 days to at most a week before a show, that's enough to get some color back in ordinarily. If you are starting with a young horse, do a little at a time and put him up. Don't expect him to stand for the entire clip job without some argument and believe me, he will remember the argument next time you go to clip. Something I have found to be of major importance is to check your clipper blades OFTEN. Some horses will tolerate a hot blade, but most are pretty sensitive to them and horses NEVER forget something that hurts them.

We have a couple of geldings here, a 6 yr old and a 2 yr old, who are both horrible about their legs even with a twitch or clamp, hay bag in front of them......we've tried everything. Last resort was to get a mild sedative from the vet to take the edge off. The older guy must have it, but I'm working on the 2 year old and have him to the point that I can usually do one leg at a time. It takes 4 days to do his legs
but it's slowly getting easier. I had to change blades on him every couple of minutes this afternoon, that's how fast they can heat up esp in hot weather, but he will not tolerate even a warm blade.

Husbands, clippers and cranky horses.......not a good combination (I know this from experience

I haven't read all the posts so forgive me if I repeat what has already been said..

I have the WORST horse to clip ever right now!

Yeah, I only just bought her and yeah I knew she was like this when I bought Couldn't help myself!

Seriously, She THRASHES around when you get the clippers on her and pretty much just goes nuts..She isn't scared...just a total BRAT

Twitch didn't work..nothing did

UNTIL, I had my dad put some ground level double ties in the posts of the clipping bay.. So she is anchored to the ground on each side..And then I highly recommend having a wall that you can push them up against and have them pretty jammed in. Sounds awful I know but when you are clipping several horses for a really dont have the time or patience to muck around with loopy ones..

Good Luck, there is nothing worse than a bad clipper.
Agree - give the colt a break. I can't imagine clipping one horse for six hours - plus even the mosty saintly horse would be crabby at that point!!!

As for clipping unruly horses - 2 people helps. We'll do the whole body in one session, let them graze/walk around, etc., then do head/legs/the 'v' and around the mane hair in another. As they hate the head/legs the most do it when everyone is in a good mood not a bad. Fresh clippers, sharp blades, help too!

Cross tie or tie them nose to fence/wall gate. We have a twitch and the clamps for wood (all wrapped with vet wrap), but we tend to use our hand over either. Make sure on the clamp or twitch you don't get one that applies to much pressure (put it on your own finger to test). You want to get it on tight enough so the horse will release endorphins and relax but not so tight as to cause pain or cut off circulation.

To do legs - we will twitch and/or lift the leg or the diagonal one (clipping front right, lift back left) as needed. Most horses learn to tolerate if not enjoy clipping except for around their ears - not many actually seem to enjoy that!

BUT - kudo's to your hubby for taking AOTE seriously!!! To many people view that as AOTE with the help of a trainer up until Dec 31 - hey no rules broken right?

As for Miniaddiction - you must have the twin of one of our mares!! She's known as Witchypoo as she's so evil to clip/groom/trim her hooves. My farrier is a saint to deal with her, but I give him ample warning when its her turn!! Bonnie Fogg gave us an idea with this one - we talk nicely to her and feed her carrots the whole time to keep her busy. It works, but you better have carrots!!!
I'd use doremosedan (sp?) sedative before he gets worked up. I have this from my vet and he has told me repeatedly there is no reason not to use it when you've got a tough customer on your hands. Not worth me or the horse getting hurt, so my really "bad" ones get a shot of happy juice.

If the colt was standing quiet, this is a job (body clipping) that should take about an hour at the most. It's taking so long because he's fighting it. Just not worth it. I've seen and had some rodeos but no more.

For the slightly tough ones, sometimes clips / clamps ala a twitch is sufficient but for the rough ones, I drug them (again, with stuff from the vet and with his endorsement).
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I'd use doremosedan (sp?) sedative before he gets worked up. I have this from my vet and he has told me repeatedly there is no reason not to use it when you've got a tough customer on your hands. Not worth me or the horse getting hurt, so my really "bad" ones get a shot of happy juice.

If the colt was standing quiet, this is a job (body clipping) that should take about an hour at the most. It's taking so long because he's fighting it. Just not worth it. I've seen and had some rodeos but no more.

For the slightly tough ones, sometimes clips / clamps ala a twitch is sufficient but for the rough ones, I drug them (again, with stuff from the vet and with his endorsement).
Im with Jill
In situations where you have no twitch and a horse is beginning to tire of your attentions you can just pinch his top lip between your thumb and fore finger. I slide my thumb under the top lip clamp down firmly (not roughly) and twist slightly If the horse continues to struggle I squeeze tighter and they have much the same reaction as with a twitch. Leaves me one handed but it sure helps when I'm clipping heads and they start to swing their head around. I doubt it would work too well on a really confirmed fighter tho since they can if they fight hard enough yank their lip free of my grip.

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