How to Clip a Horse’s Face? Tips for Horse Owners

After buying a suitable horse, it is important to maintain it. A high quality maintenance routine also includes clipping the horse’s face and body. Keeping a close record of the horse maintenance ensures that your horse is happy, and performs various tasks with more enthusiasm.

There are certain ways of properly clipping a horse’s face and some requirements to cater to before actually clipping a horse. For your assistance, we have shared everything there is to know about clipping a horse’s face.

How to Clip Your Horse’s Face?

The best way to start is by having a friend accompany you to calm the horse, in case it gets out of control. Begin the clipping by putting slight pressure on the nose. It is important to start clipping from small clippers on the side of the face. After this, clip the rest of the face, if your horse is comfortable with it. 

Make sure you do not chop too much hair near the horse’s eyes and ears, because this might agitate the horse. The trickiest part of the clipping process are the ears, because the vibration sound from the clipper might scare the horse. We suggest to cover the horse’s eyes with a finger, so that it stays still.

For the forelock, you need to ensure you cover this area with the least pressure and be patient. 

When covering your horse’s bridle path, select the hair and trim in small portions so that you have an idea how much more is left to clip. If the forelock is too thick and meddling with the clipping of the bridle path, it is better to tie it first in a braid. Once you are done clipping the forelock and bridle path, move to other parts such as mane and the body.

Here’s a really good video example of how you should clip your equine’s face.

Prerequisites of Clipping a Horse’s Face

Before you start clipping your horse, you should ensure the following for a smooth, safe, and comfortable clipping session:

To begin with, it is essential to have the right type of clippers. We recommend using small clippers because big clippers often come with higher speeds and clip more hair than needed.

Two of our most recommended ones include:

  1. Wahl Professional Equine Horse Clipping and Grooming Kit – This clipper is best for beginner owners and provides limited clipping. Besides having light weight, it is not noisy and performs on low vibration. All in all, it is great value for money.

  2. Andis Ultraedge 2-Speed Clipper – great for someone who’d want a more professional clipper that offers variety for clipping different styles and lengths of coats

If you’re interested in buying a good pair of horse clippers, you can also take a look at our top picks with detailed reviews in this article.

It also is essential to sharpen the clipper before using, because if it is blunt, it might not do the job properly and might even end up hurting the horse. You should also clean the dirty clippers after use, to avoid any skin diseases for other horses, if you’re using the same tools for different horses.

Clippers should also be oiled properly, so that they smoothly glide on the horse’s face. Oiling will also increase the life of your clippers. It is advised to bathe your horse the day before, so that any excess dirt is cleared. Have a spare clipper and an extension cord ready before the whole process. Apply lotion on your horse as soon as you are finish clipping. Clean the clipper blades with a brush.

When clipping, it is better to use a stool, in order to reach your horse’s height level. You can also use this as a surface to put out all the equipment required before you start clipping. Always keep a person to watch out for your horse, in case it goes out of control.

Tips for a Better Clipping Experience

If you want a great clipping session, make sure your horse is comfortable with clipping.

For that, run the clippers near your horse, if it shows sings of fear, agitation, or discomfort, do the following:

Take it out for a walk. After a while walk with it with the clippers on. Once you’re sure the horse is comfortable, switch on the clipper for a couple of minutes at a close distance from your horse. If it doesn’t get startled, it is ready for clipping.

If it doesn’t, repeat the process until you’re sure the horse is comfortable.

Once the horse is comfortable and ready for clipping make sure the horse is dry, you don’t want to clip a wet hrose.

Now, clean the blade and oil it. After that, switch the clipper on and set the speed to #10. After this, you may start clipping. It’s better to begin from the cheeks, and then cover the rest of the face from different directions.

Next, cover the jaw area and the muzzle. At this point, you need to make sure that your horse is not chewing anything, in order to avoid any cuts. Throughout this whole process, it is important to apply low to medium pressure depending on the thickness of the horse’s hair. Keep an eye on the corners of the clipper to get an idea of how much hair needs clipping.

It is necessary to clip in the direction of the hair growth. You may also blend to eliminate any rough lines. Clip one side completely and then the other, so the horse is relaxed the whole time. Be very careful when clipping sensitive areas like the stomach. Allot at least two hours for this whole process.

In case you get lines and blending doesn’t help in removing it, try re-clipping the area but this time, in the direction opposite to the hair growth. If you are still unsuccessful in removing them, try clipping in an “X” direction, then wipe off the excess hair with a wet cloth.

FAQs on How to Clip a Horse’s Face

To address other possible questions regarding this clipping process, we have compiled a series of FAQs to help you.

What is the purpose of clipping a horse?

When winter arrives, horses grow a thick winter coat. For a horse which is regularly working, it is necessary to get rid of the excess hair, so that the horse doesn’t sweat. If clipping is avoided, a horse might catch a cold because of the sweat not drying.

Clipping also ensures that the horse grows new hair which is shinier. It is only recommended for horses which need to work indoors, and for their general cleaning from mud and dust particles.

What clip should I give my horse?

The type of clip depends on how you use your horse:

The first type is full clip; in which all the coat is cut by the owner. This clip is for hard working horses. The next type is hunter clip, in which only the saddle area and legs are left to give heat and comfort. 

Next is the blanket clip in which half the head, legs and hair up to the tail level is left for warmth. This type of clip is ideal for horses with an average load of tasks. Similar to this is the chaser clip. However, the hair on the neck is not cut. Both these types provide ample heat without any profuse sweating.

The trace clip is similar to the chaser clip, but leaves hair on the head and half of the neck. Irish clip, perfect for young horses, clips the hair in areas where horses sweat the most. Lastly, the bib clip cuts hair on the front neck and chest. It is best for horses which are mostly outdoor in winter and which have minimum workload.

When should you not clip a horse?

You should not clip your horse in summer months because the wind will get rid of all the dirt and dry the horse itself. However, heavy horses tend to grow thick hair quickly and might need regular clipping.

How do you do a full clip on a horse?

Full clip is a type of clipping in which you clip the horse’s entire body. These areas include the face, head, legs, belly and the saddle area. This type of clipping is best for horses working outdoors throughout winter.

Full clipping starts from one side of the horse, covering its body, the stomach and then its legs. After this, the owner switches to the second side. Certain precautions should be taken to prevent formation of lines which might give a rough appearance to the horse. Then, the second side is covered and lastly, the face is clipped.

Can you use human clippers on horses?

You can use human clippers on horses.

Human hair is different from horse hair. While we have thin, short hair, horses have long, thick manes. If you use human clippers on your horse, the whole process will be messy and your horse will end up looking shabby.

Horses need clippers with powerful motors and great speed range. The maximum speed a horse clipper can go to is #40 – #50. On the other hand, human clippers can only go up to the speed of #3 – #4.

Thus, it is better to invest in a horse clipper and properly maintain it by cleaning and oiling the blades. If you use a human clipper, both you and your horse will be at discomfort and the process will take a lot of time.


Before you start clipping, your horse should be as clean as possible, which will mean less work for you while you are clipping. Try clipping in different directions to cover as much area as possible. Be patient because clipping takes a lot of time. Make sure your horse isn’t eating anything while you are clipping its face, to avoid any possible injuries.

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