Spring is here and it's time to begin clipping some of that cute off our little ones. Jess shared a series of e-mail with our Appy group recently and they were so helpful I wanted to share them here too. Hope you will find them as helpful as we have.
Clipping the Appy Head
OK, in a period of about 10 minutes that it takes me to clip a head, my mom took about 200 pictures! Here are the ones that really show what I meant. Now, if your horse jumps around a lot when clipping the face, I wouldn't reccomend doing some of this the way I do. The cheeks- Straight up from chin to eye
The muzzle- you have to push quite a bit here to make sure you get everywhere, and you go over it a ton to make sure that it got out of all the little dents. First go from muzzle to about where their dish is (Right where the right edge of my clippers is in the pic below), in a straight line. Then do from the bottom up with the skin where it is regularly, then do the same thing with you pulling from the bottom to tighten the skin, then again the same direction tightening the skin from the top. A lot of it will come off with the nose-neck direction, as in the second pic- (This is the most important part. If there are tufts here it won't do your horse's head justice)
You could honestly probably do all this direction and get almost all of it:
The front of the head- straight up from muzzle to forelock, until you get to the head swirl. (That's the thing I call the head swirl that the arrow is pointing to). Do the first stripe across the 1" or so wide path that is pretty much flat. Then tip the clippers to do the slant on either side of that one stripe.
Around the eyes- The bone behind the eye is also important to get every part of the hair off. Usually the easiest way it to just go straight up, and then pull the skin tight from all different directions and repeat.
I don't have any pics of it, but on top of the eye you go in the direction that the arrows are showing in this picture-
Here you can also see my hand pulling the skin tight to get that hair under the eye at a simple straight up direction-
Finally the chin- straight from muzzle to throatlatch, and try to get really good between the jaw bones, as well as on either side and straight on the bone. And in this picture I hadn't gone all the way up close to the nose yet, but you can still see the way to hold it and direction to go. If your horse rears this definetly not a good idea LOL! I sit or lay on the ground and pick the head up and do it so that I can really see it all, but if it's going to cause physical injury I would think you could figure out another way!
And you just keep going over, and over, and over, and over, and over! Until it's all done! When you're doing: all the ridges aross the bottom of the chin, the eyes, the middle of the forehead from nose up to the eyes, around the nose, and especially on either side of the muzzle that will be below the halter's nose strap, use a blade at minimum 10 higher than you use on the rest of it. I usually use a 15 on most everything, a 30 on the entire head, a 40 on the places I listed, and then a 50 right around the muzzle if you'll be shaving it.
Clipping bridle paths and necks
These pics are all pretty self explanitory-
This is a real close up of the shoulder so that you can see the direction of the hair and the direction that the clipper is supposed to go. And make sure you go up and down in and out with all those ridges.
The sides of the mane... If you have a way to do this in a stall that's the best place. You can put a little hay on the ground, and you don't get mane cut-off mistakes. The farther down the horses neck is the more the wrinkles flatten out, which gives you cleaner cuts.
Clip the short hairs off the mane going the same direction as in the pic above, but leave the hairs that are right up against the mane area that you want to keep. For that area, do this:
And go back over the bridle path again.
As you can see in most of the pics I don't wipe the hair off after I've clipped it off. For most people I would turn the hand you have the clipper in, over, and wipe off the hair with the back of your hand after every few strokes, to make sure you can see what you're doing. After you've done it enough times you'll know which direction the hair grows and you won't actually have to see it. If you see any lines after doing it this way, before trying to clip them off, rub them hard, all in the same direction of the hair, and many of them will just come out. Sometimes it's just that skin color showing through or something like that.
Clipping Appy Bodies
Now for the ultimate secret!!! This is my all time favorite clipping trick! I learned it when I was learning from Donna Lavery at Winning Streak Training Center, and I use it ALL the time now, and get such AWESOME results, and it's SOOOO EASY!!!
You may see tracks, but you do the entire thing once over, then do the SAME pattern over again and it will all go away, and if it didn't there's something wrong. This email is going to have more pics than the other two, but this trick really does make it effortless to do a really good job, so I figured it's worth it!
About 2-4" in front of the hip swirl there is a place where all of the hair grows straight down. Follow the pattern below, then when you get to the spine make a curving turn and do across the spine up to about 1" behind the withers. Then continue with the pattern in the rest of the pics, all working off that one line. LONG, even, steady stroke is key. The more places where you stop/start with the clippers the more lines.
The above line is what we call line 1
The below line is what we call line 2
Everything works off of these two lines, and a third that will be made on the hip when the sides are done.
Yes, this pic makes quite a jump. Just working off of line 2 go in the same direction in long strokes until you get to this point. Then continue as the pics show!
the legs are straight up from hoof to body. It's SOOO important to get down in the dips etc. on those legs, it just takes going over and over, holding the leg and skin at different angles and levels, and varying pressure on the clippers.
Now for the hips:
You can see in this shot what I did above the hip swirl to make those lines. The one across the spine is tail>withers direction, the hip swirl spine line is that direction. This area in this box is where you go straight up towards the spine.
Then you start as these pictures actually show!
That just made "Line 3"
Work off that line, and go same direction, in long strokes, until the hip is done!
Here you can see it's pretty much done, and there are no tracks! There are some spots and areas that seem shaded, but those are actually mostly her color.
Under the belly, legs, and chest are also REALLY hard areas. The skin is SO easy to accidentaly cut, and the hair grows in SO may directions. Just keep going against the direction of the hair, even though in those areas it seems to go in a million ways. On every 'swirl' as I call them, you go at them from at least ten directions, and then straight down on it. There is a swirl on the head, one under the throatlatch, one on the side of the top of the neck, two on the front of the chest, one that is the line dividing the under belly, and of course the one on each side of the hips.
LOL, I tried to show everything that I know about clipping, tell me if I missed anything!!!!!