At some stage of horse ownership, you will come across a horse that doesn't like to be clipped. Whether it's around the face, or the legs, a lot of horses are frightened of clippers.
We know the clippers aren't going to hurt the horse, but the horse doesn't. Horses are prey animals and they perceive anything new as potentially life-threatening. Until you prove otherwise, they will not willingly accept it.
Many people can clip their horses without having to fight with them, but for those who have a reluctant horse, there are ways to teach your horse to accept clipping.
Break the process into steps. Desensitizing is the key. It teaches the horse to relax, stand still and pay no attention to what you're doing. You want your horse to stand relaxed and not worry about the clippers.
If you haven't worked much around your horse's head such as being able to put your hand all over his face and ears, than you can't expect him to stand still for clippers. Work on having your horse accept touching all around the face, along with movement around the head. Just take your time and move slowly. Talk to your horse; you also can give treats for good behavior.
Once you have accomplished this, take the clippers while they are turned off and just rub the face. Make sure that he will tolerate the feeling of the clippers on all parts of his face, eyes and ears, especially inside the ears. You also might move it along his entire body and legs. Do this over the course of a few days before actually turning on the clippers.
Next, remove the blade and turn on the clippers to let the horse hear the noise. Move slowly without touching, but let the horse know you have something that won't hurt him. Desensitize him to the sound and movement first. Then take the clippers and move along all parts of the body.
Once the horse accepts all that and stands quietly, you can put the blade in and go to work.
By going slowly, you'll have a trusting horse, who also will look good in the show ring.
ETI Corral 21 is hosting a Trail Trial & Poker Ride at Ranger Park in Lake View Terrace on Oct. 15. There will be three divisions – Open, Novice and Junior. Prizes will be awarded through third place.
The cost is $30 for ETI members and $35 for others. Poker hand is $5. There also will be a Halloween Costume Contest for an additional $5. For more information, call Becky Borquez, 818-262-7764.
Jill Barnes Nelson is a reporter for Tehachapi News and a horse lover. Send information on the horse community such as upcoming events, clinics, etc., or if you’ve won an award, contact her: email@example.com or call 661-823-6374.
Oct. 8-9 – Saddle Up and Ride for St. Jude Trail Ride & Clinic, Tehachapi, Gail, 661-599-0635.
Oct. 15 – ETI Corral 21, Trail Trial & Poker Ride, Ranger Park, Lake View Terrace, Becky Borquez, 818-262-7764.
Oct. 15-16 – 3B Events Ranch Sorting & Penning, Tehachapi Rodeo Grounds, 661-821-5555.
Nov. 12-13 – 3B Events Ranch Sorting & Penning, Tehachapi Rodeo Grounds, 661-821-5555.