Published: 2019-12-18 16:40:46 Categories: Products
Horses naturally adapt to the changing weather conditions, gaining and losing hairs accordingly to the seasons. A thick and long winter coat is the perfect protection against cold and damp for horses living in natural (or close) conditions. But what if your steed lives in a heated stable, does not go to the paddock, and keeps an intense sport routine in the fall-winter season? Is his natural winter coat the right solution? If you are in doubt, it might be good to shave him for the winter.
For horses that go into the paddock and are not used in sports, their natural winter coat is the perfect protection against wind, damp, and cold. Their thick hair makes the horses dry more slowly after they sweat - which is why you should use sweat rugs after training. However, for sport horses and ponies that have intense training sessions and competitions in the winter - and sweat extensively as a result, it might be good to shave them. Trimming horses will help them dry more quickly, which minimizes the risk of sickness after sweating in low temperatures. What is more, the winters are warmer and warmer lately and the thick coat is no longer needed to survive a couple of winter months. Also, many horses do not use pastures in the winter, spending most of their time in (usually heated) stables and training indoors. They do not get many chances to use their natural protection. Losing the fluffy hair that makes your horse resemble the primeval mammoths will make it easier for you to keep him clean, which does not necessarily mean that it is a solution for the lazy and busy ones. If you have a shaved horse, you need to dress him in rugs and choose these rugs accordingly to the weather, temperature, and horse's activities for a given day. The weather in recent years has been varying - you need to have training, stable, rain, and very warm rugs. However, shaving rugs would not mean that your horse cannot go out to the paddock - you just need to put the right rug on him and choose the right type of trim. What is more, you should plan the shaving ahead of the season.
Author: Karamochi @ flickr.com Licence: CC
It is best to start shaving horses at the beginning of the fall, when they start to shed hair, so around September or October. Usually, the hair grows back in 5 to 6 weeks, and then it is time for another shaving around December. The last shaving, if needed, can be done in February. However, it is not the last call to shave your horse - more popular than shaving horses for the fall-winter season is shaving them for the spring! People who prefer this approach say that along with the season change, the thick winter coat is no longer needed - temperatures go high, the hair is lost slowly, so the risk of getting a cold while the horse's coat dries slowly is not much lower than in cold months. What is more, when your horse has short hair, it is easier to monitor the state of his skin, get rid of ticks and treat small wounds. And who tried to comb a shedding horse at least once, knows that it does not need much to become a fan of shaving horses...
If you decide to shave your horse, you need to remember a couple of important things. First, not all horses are born and unaffected artillery animals that would take the light wind on the pasture just as calmly as bomb explosions right under their hooves. If your pet does not bear the nickname of "Equilibrium" or "Zen Master" in the stable, and you suspiciously often need to repeat "what's so scary, come on, calm down," then you should probably get your horse familiar with the razor before you start shaving him. Horse clippers can be very stressful - which is why you should ensure you will have a calm, safe place, where your horse can be tied. The clipper cord should not touch other equipment, nor your (or even worse - your horse's) legs. It is worth purchasing a cordless horse clipper - it is much safer and easier to use in the stable. You should also plan the spot where you could put the clipper down and clean it during a break in the process. Before you start cutting through the thick coat, you should get your horse familiar with the sound - some of them, especially the older generations, are really loud! Second, draw the shaving area with wet chalk - you will minimize the risk of a mistake and shaving your horse unevenly. If you want to shave the horse's head as well - do not leave it as the last part, because it is the most difficult and unpleasant to shave, and the horse when tired and angry after a long process of shaving might make this task way more difficult for you. Third, if you want to shave your horse all by yourself, choose the right clipper and maintain your equipment well. You should thoroughly comb your horse before shaving. The best would be to wash him the day before. Dust and tangles in the horse's hair will make the clipper's blades blunt and the whole process will get much longer than necessary. Take breaks while shaving - especially when the clipper is so loud that you might wonder if you are in the stable or in a hangar. Systematically clean the clipper from hair and keep it oiled up and cool as the manual says. After successful shaving you should clean and sanitize the clipper - even if you do not plan on sharing the equipment with anybody - just to prevent the spread of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. You should also check how loud is the clipper before buying it, how it fits your hand and if you can comfortably use it for a prolonged period. You can also buy exchangeable blades and care products. While shaving your horse against the hair, be very careful not to hurt the skin and move really slowly. Shaving one horse takes about an hour - consider your horse's size while planning the process!
There is no such thing as one right shave - which is why you should decide which type of shaving would be best for your horse before you start the clipper. There are many options and you should consider many factors - if your horse sweats a lot, if he goes out to the pasture, how he works - you can shave the whole horse along with the legs, or leave some hair on the legs and head, shave a part of the neck, leave thicker hair on the belly, croup, and withers... If you are not sure which type of shave would be best, consult (or use the services of) someone, who does this professionally or has been shaving their horses for some time now. The number of "horse barbers" constantly grows - just like their skills. To be sure and safe, protect your horse's tail so it does not accidentally get caught in the clipper by wrapping it with a bandage. Besides the standard shaving needed because of the horse's type of training and lifestyle, you can sometimes get a little crazy, especially when you are fond of ornaments. More and more popular is to decorate the horse with shape shaving, usually on the croup. Stars, hearts, checkers, letters, sponsor's logos (that might be an option for the ambitious and resourceful...) - the only limit here is your imagination and the ability to move the clipper around!
Regardless of you being a fan of shaving your horse for the winter or if you prefer your horse to look like a wild tarpan, you shaving your horse by yourself or choosing professionals to do it - remember that there is no such thing as one proper way and always choose according to your horse's needs!