First time clipping: Any Suggestions?

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Well-Known Member
Jul 17, 2015
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Richmond... but which one?!?
Hello all!!! I guess this is my first official "Howdy y'all". I have been lurking and commented a couple times, but have decided to get some of my own help.

I am fairly new to the miniature horse world. I got my awesome mare Miss May last summer to keep my QH company after I moved him from my parent's home. She turned 3 this year, and is a dream come true. She is so sweet and SOOO extremely smart. She isn't fancy or registered, but I am in love and will be getting more in the future.

Anyways, our city is having a horse show next week, and I have decided to take her along with my big guy and try her out in a few classes just to see how she does. Last night I decided to clean up her face a bit, as it was patchy from shedding, and one slip after another (I am NOT used to a wiggly and tiny horse) I ended up doing this to her:

Soooo, I have never done this before, I haven't even body clipped. I've seen pictures online of mini's clipped like this and thought it would be a good place to stop. It looks MUCH worse in person, the pictures actually look quite nice. I had an especially hard time with her face around the eyes and her cheek bones. I haven't done her ears yet, so I was going to clean it up a bit sometime in the next couple days. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to properly do her face? Is it ok to leave her clipped like this for a show? The show is just for fun, it's not even a mini show, she'll be doing halter classes with large horses, but I still like to look like I know what I'm doing.

Any comments are greatly appreciated! Thanks!

PS: Confirmation critiques are also welcome, I mostly just curious. I have mommy eyes, "She's so pretty!"
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Make sure she is freshly bathed and clean. If you have show sheen, spray her with that and again, make sure she's dry. Use a #10 blade and clip AGAINST the growth of the coat. Move slowly to help avoid tracks, and make sure you keep an eye on the heat of the blade. Hopefully you have a few blades you can interchange when one becomes hot. I would suggest clipping now, and not waiting until right before the show. Also, not sure how long ago you did the head and neck, but it should be all done at once pretty much, otherwise, you will have two distinct colors. I think the face looks good enough the way you have it, especially for a fun show. (acknowledging that you still have the ears to do)
Welcome to our forums!!

Your Miss May is Beautiful!! You did a good job with the clipping! better than I did with my first one that's for sure. I like her and think she will do very well at the show.

You probably could easily blend it in and leave this like it is...since the show is next week I think that's what I'd do to keep her gorgeous color.

We do have some facial clipping information onsite. Here is one page you can look at: Show Clipping Heads

Hopefully some others will chime in with some tips for you. Good luck and please come back and let us know how she does.
Hi KLJcowgirl!! Welcome to the forum.

Love Miss May - CUTE, CUTE, CUTE little girl. I also love the cameo clip you did on her, but then again, we did a lot of those for a while when we were showing our ponies. They lived outside, and dealt with cooler weather and/or bugs so we didn't want to body clip most of them...

Because ours were out on pasture, we didn't actually clip the insides of the ears. We pinched the ear together and clipped against the edges to shorten and remove the fuzz sticking out. We'd shift the ear a bit to get them at different angles and then when we did show, we'd use Swat in the ear (clear formula) or our homemade swat (Vaseline and fly spray concentrate) to lay the ear hair flat, make it a little shiny and to protect against the bugs.

You have to go with others' pointers on clipping the head better. I don't like using anything smaller than a 15 blade on our ponies, so could never follow the show type instructions for doing a mini's head. But with a 10 and a 15, I did a lot of blending and you can even follow the "map" that is in the article posted above. Just depends on what you want to do.

I've had many people tell me that the pony needs to be wet to clip but I could never get our clippers to work well on a wet pony. I usually also ended up clipping a dirty pony, because ours always took so long to dry and once it was warm enough to bathe them, they weren't dry before the temps bottomed out again in the evening to clip them (here in NC). I used LOTS of blades - usually kept 4 on hand at a time - and swapped out the blades when they got warm or needed to be cleaned. That was what worked for me. I don't know about the blade sharpeners advertising in the AMHR/ASPC magazine, but the local guys here never seemed to get the blades sharp - even when I was told they were "good as new"... I like buying blades when they go on sale and was happy if I could get a blade re-sharpened 1 time for more use. Now, I'm not sure what I'd do - haven't clipped any ponies at all in the last couple of years - just touch ups w/ scissors for the jaw, edges of ears and BP. Blades are a lot more expensive and I haven't seen any BOGO sales the last couple of years (I could just be missing them?).
Lovely little girl you have. Don't be so hard on yourself, she doesn't look too bad...and for me, the face is the hardest part, so you're already ahead of the game from my viewpoint.

Everyone has their own process is what I've learned, here's mine:

In an ideal world:

  • I start clipping about 1 month out from my first show (this year? It's going to be one week out thanks to the cold/wet weather we've been having the last few weeks).
  • I use "cow clippers" which are very large with a 2-piece wide blade...about 4" across. I can body clip a dirty horse in about 20 minutes. I can get multiple horses done with one set of blades, even dirty.
  • On a different day, I bath and allow them to dry. Then I work on the face and legs using my normal clippers with a 10 blade.
  • The day before show day, I bath again, allow them to dry and then fresh clip everything. I use a 10 / 15 blade depending on what I'm working on. I'm generally not getting that super close head shave so I don't usually use the bigger number blades.
Thank you so much for your tips everyone! I really appreciate the responses. My perfectionist side tends to come out while grooming, especially clipping
I think I'm worried about it because it's something new, not just the normal whiskers, ears, bridle path and fetlocks. I looked at her last night and it looks much better than it did the night I shaved her, I'll get her ears done and attempt some blending and leave her alone.
I did really like that clipping heads diagram.

I don't plan on body clipping her for next weekend, it's still getting cold at night and I don't think my clippers are up for it! I do one day hope to get me a nice heavy duty set of clippers, I'm completely shocked the ones I have managed to take her fluff off! And now I have some awesome tips for when I can get some!

Debby, I will definitely come back and let you all know how she does! I can't wait!
I would most definitely fully body clip her for a show, even a fun show. If not, then you are really worrying too much about what the head and neck clip will look like. The horse will not look balanced at all, if you do not clip all of her, and she will not look as pretty as she can, if you leave her partially unclipped. I hope you'll reconsider. Can you buy a mini horse blanket to use on her for chilly nights for the next while? Or even an adult sweatshirt or something??
Honestly I had wondered if a large sweatshirt would work. Good to know it would! I do actually have a blanket coming that should be here this weekend. Full body clipping makes me nervous, I have never done that before, and I don't know if my clippers are up for it... I don't want to get her partially done and have them poop out on me ya know? Maybe I'm overthinking like I usually do haha I'll do some thinking today and see what I end up doing.
I do agree with you though Mona, she certainly does not look as pretty as she can right now!
What type/brand/model of clippers do you have? If it takes interchangeable blades, can you buy an extra couple sets to have on hand for when you clip her? Clipping against the grain with a number 10 is as short as you need to go. You don't want to do it in patches, from day to day, because the hair will grow and darken in color and you'll see all the areas. Your girl is very pretty even like this, but just not in "show" form.
I have one very old set from my grandpa (still running fabulously)... I honestly can't remember what brand or model, I believe they're Osters, but I know do have some un-opened spare blades for those, I'll have to check and see what number the blades are. My parents also gifted me this year some Wahl Show Pro Plus clippers, very cheap yes I know haha, but they get me done what I need while I save up, and were the ones that I shaved her head and neck with. I think after work today I'll look at what I've got and maybe get her all the way clipped.
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If you do plan on showing, always best to do a full body clip about 2-3 weeks prior and then a good wash, rinse thoroughly, saturate with Show Sheen, allow that to dry and then another full body clip a couple days before the show. If lots of fuzzy hair, the first clip of the season will be choppy, clipper lines, no matter how hard you try. And I've been doing this for well over 20 years. I always clip my show horses twice in the beginning of the season.
So, I did end up getting the rest of her fuzzies trimmed off this weekend, and try as I might she's got tracks! But after your comment Jean, I don't feel so crappy about it. But, I am also much happier with the way she looks. I tried to get a good picture of her, but by the time I was done it was dark, and I just couldn't get a good one when I did try. So I snapped one while she was grazing, this is the best I've got
I haven't finished her legs, but I still have my QH to trim up, so I thought I'd do them either tonight or tomorrow.

So, now I guess I'm asking, should I try to go over it again Thursday or Friday? Or would it be ok to leave it alone? All the track marks I left on her face were barely noticeable in about 4 days. I appreciate all of your input! It's helped me so much. Next year I will certainly be MUCH more prepared...

Aaaaaaannnd... Just for fun... the blanket I got this weekend!

Very nice! You did good I'm impressed. She looks comfy cozy in her new blankey, no need to worry about a chill. If you think the tracks will not be noticeable in a few days leave them but if you feel confident then try to even them out a little.
She looks SOOOO much better already, nd her blanket looks like a great fit as well. If I were you, I would go ahead and get her clipped out again no later than Wednesday. Don;t forget to go slowly and move the clipper AGAINST the growth of hair in all areas. You did great for your first time, for sure!

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