I have a weird confession to make: I really really really like grooming a hairy horse during shedding season. I don’t know why, but there’s something extra satisfying about losing yourself in the simplicity of it, and seeing that big billowing pile of hair on the floor when you’re done. It’s satisfying work, with easily-seen results. I love body clipping for the same reasons. Okay, maybe I’m just really into hair removal. Either way, Henry doesn’t get a full body clip – lower maintenance when it comes to blanketing – so right now his super fuzzy back half (or as I like to call it, The Mullet) is in serious shed mode. I already own a SleekEZ, and someone else at the barn has a StripHair, so I decided it was time for a Shedder Showdown.
Before we start, I should say that StripHair has recently come out with a newer model of their tool, one that is more ergonomic and a bit… fancier looking (if it’s possible for a chunk of rubber to look fancier). From what I’ve seen of it, the material is the same, so I’m betting the performance is similar, but just a heads-up on that – to be totally fair, I tested their older model.
Neither of these tools is particularly ground-breaking as far as materials or design. The SleekEz is like a dulled mini saw blade set into a carved wooden block. The StripHair looks like a chunk of 1″ stall mat, it’s literally just a rectangle of rubber. But hey, simple tools often get the job done well. I have the large SleekEZ, which retails at $18.50. The StripHair retails at $39.00. So, how do they work?
I’ve been using both of them together, for the sake of comparison, for two weeks now. For “control” purposes I’ve also used a currycomb, a grooming stone, a Shed Flower, and the most basic of tools – my hands. When it comes to just the sheer amount of hair that each tool is able to remove, the SleekEZ is the winner. I can definitely get more hair off with it than with anything else. I also like that it sort of has a combing action to the coat, which helps it lift some of the dirt and dander to the surface. There’s definitely some cleaning action to it. The little teeth of the shedding blade itself seem to be good at getting down into the coat and picking up the hair from down there, too, not just the top layer.
The StripHair mostly just seems to gather that top-most layer of loose hair, which makes sense given the design. The rubber grips the loose hairs and pulls them away. If your horse has already fully blown it’s coat, then it’s great, but if it’s still in the process, the StripHair isn’t really going to get down in there and expedite things. I DO think that when it comes to legs or delicate areas, the Strip Hair is more useful. It bends and flexes around the contours pretty well, and obviously it’s a softer material.
That said, I think that I can get just as much hair off the legs simply by using my hands as I do from using the StripHair. Maybe even more. Those big long double jointed fingers of mine are finally useful for something.
If you really want a complete shedding arsenal, both tools are useful in their own way. But when it comes to sheer performance, the SleekEZ is the winner, hands down. If you have an extremely delicate flower of a horse then maaaaybe the StripHair could edge it’s way to the forefront, but honestly Henry is one of the most delicate flowers I know and he has no objections to the SleekEZ. You can’t really beat the bang for your buck, either… at less than half the price it outperforms the basic shedding capabilities of the StripHair, for sure. My favorite combination is currycomb + SleekEz.
As for the other grooming tools, get outta here with those Shed Flowers and grooming stones. Garbage. Yeah I said it. GARBAGE. Well, ok, Sadie really loves the Shed Flower to scratch her perpetually itchy elephant stomach. Other than that, though…