The making of Mini-Henny

Normal people equate autumn with things like pumpkin spice lattes, changing leaves, making soup, and arguing on the internet about whether or not candy corn is disgusting (it’s literally a chunk of sugar so it’s delicious by default, but if y’all don’t want to eat it that’s fine, more for me). To equestrians autumn mostly means fresh horses, lots of shows, and… body clipping.

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me too bro, me too

Back in the days when I was more desperate for money (or, really, before I branched out into other side gigs, because as a horse owner I’ll probably always be desperate for money) I used to do a lot of body clipping. It can be pretty lucrative if you’re willing to do it and can do a decent job, although year after year my willingness has definitely lessened. I’m relatively certain that I will have horse hair in my eyeballs forever after a few particularly busy winters in my heyday. Nowadays pretty much the only way I’ll body clip is if it’s my own horse or a friend’s horse.

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It’s not so much clipping as it is just removing the hair from the horse and transferring it to the human

Henry, bless his extremely hairy and also heat-intolerant heart, feels the same way about clipping as I do. He permits it because he has to and he enjoys the results, but he really isn’t much of a fan. He stands politely for the most part, but he’s so flinchy and sensitive that I get whipped in the face with his tail pretty much the whole time I’m doing his belly.

Lots of opinions. Very weaponized tail.

I’ve bodyclipped Henry so many times over the years that we’ve come to a few agreements by now:

  1. Legs and ears are off limits. He really can’t stand the clippers on his legs at all, he tries to be still but just CAN’T, so he ends up constantly shuffling his feet the entire time. I think I clipped his legs twice ever before I was like SCREW THIS SHIT and agreed that he can just always keep his leg warmers. Thank god we’re eventers and a hunter clip is a normal thing in that world. He genuinely is very uncomfortable/borderline terrified about clipping his ears, even with sedation, so I just get as close to them as possible and he keeps a little fur bonnet. I could push the issue if I wanted (there is a major double standard in this household, because Presto isn’t allowed to have opinions like this), but honestly he does a lot for me and if his hard limit is “no ear clipping” then I’m ok with that. Looks dumb as hell but he wears an actual ear bonnet at shows so who cares. I like my horse more than I like other people’s opinions.
  2. We keep a pretty big saddle patch. Because he’s the most sensitive, easily-rubbed horse ever. The patch is the same size front-to-back as the pad. If I don’t do that, he is uncomfortable and will get rubs. Period.
  3. I use my “little” clippers as much as possible, especially on his belly.
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tools of the trade

I have a set of Lister Star clippers, which are more powerful and faster, but they also have more vibration and are louder, and Henry doesn’t really like them on his midsection. And when I say he doesn’t really like them I mean he acts like he’s being murdered one inch at a time. So unless I’m in a hurry for some reason, I just clip him with my smaller Andis clippers. They’re still pretty powerful but he takes less objection to them on his sensitive areas (let’s be real, he’s a walking sensitive area).

“well that’s rude”

Normally he gets his first clip around the beginning of October, but I waited a little later this year since we aren’t showing and he’s really just coming back into a regular, more rigorous schedule. I was hoping if I waited a little later I wouldn’t have to clip him so many times. I think that was a mistake though, he was hot even in the 70’s weather we had this weekend. His coat is so thick, and he already has problems with heat regulation. I won’t do that again.

But yesterday we got down to it… I bathed him (wow he was FILTHY, he lives in a much sandier place now and I think he’s taking full advantage), got all my stuff ready, and went to town. Usually I use T-84 blades but this time I opted to go a bit shorter with T-10’s (thanks for that 30% coupon, Dover, well timed), hoping it’ll maybe last a bit longer before we have to endure do this again. I found a gross mega-flaky skin patch under all the hair on one side of his butt, too, which again made me feel like a bad horse mom. So he got a fungus bath when we finished and then I turned him back out. He didn’t even pause for a cookie, he just stalked away angrily to the back of the pasture. Two baths and a body clip in one day… I guess he hates me now.

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I cleaned up and packed my things away, pausing to make a little mini-Henny in the process (look, I’m a child and it’s the only real fun I get to have in all this, okay?) and he still refused to even look at me. YOU’RE WELCOME, HORSE. I know he has to feel a lot better, and it’s supposed to be almost 90 tomorrow so he’d have been legit dying otherwise. But, ya know… I’ll just plow him with cookies until he’s over it, like always.

Anybody else body clipping already? Nothing quite like a bra full of tiny stabby horse hairs to officially ring in the fall season.

17 thoughts on “The making of Mini-Henny

  1. Thankfully Eeyore doesn’t grow much of a coat so no clipping necessary. Gem and Pete are furry yaks who after 6 years still refuse to believe winter isn’t a thing here but they live outside and aren’t in work so they get to keep it.

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  2. I trace clipped a week ago for our first hunt since Percheron X = pure yak in winter but I loathe clipping because of allergies. I traded in my monster-sized Osters for the same Andis ones you have this past spring and it made a huge difference though… I have a weak shoulder and I was able to do about a 1000% better job with the Andis than the big ones! My first time with almost no ugly clip lines

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    1. I had Clipmasters for a season and sold them ASAP, I hated them so much. So heavy, so loud, and the fan blows the hair back at you. Worst clippers ever. For heavy clippers I much prefer the Listers, but if you’re just doing one horse and have ample time, then yeah… nothing really beats the Andis.

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  3. Clipped him twice already this fall and probably going to do him again in a week. Why are the heat intolerant ones also the hairiest? At least the show season is over up here in New England so hairy head and legs are a go, saves me a lot of time.

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  4. Every day I dither, clip now or clip in a couple of weeks? As soon as the clip is done, we gotta do the turnout sheet at night – but that’s ok! Anything for horse’s comfort.

    Once I saw some workers removing an interior house wall that was full of mold. They used biohazard suits with air filter facemasks. I’m seriously debating if my horse would agree to be clipped if I were swaddled in one of those suits and wearing the facemask. Could he be desensitized to an alien invader? Afterward I could take off the suit and not have enough horsehair on me to become a horse, and not be sneezing for a week.

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  5. I’m in CO and we’ve already had snow and a night where the low was 13 degrees. And yes, I clipped my horse the day before, because that’s when it was warm enough to give her a bath.

    But we don’t have shows now. Our show season ends in September, and if you’re lucky enough to find anything until April, it’s a schooling show and nobody cares if your horse is clean or clipped or whatever (the exception being the hunter/jumper show in January at Stock Show, but that’s a small percentage of the CO horse community). Not to say schooling shows are bad: they’re great! And I love that I don’t have to bathe my fuzzy gray horse for them! But this is also the time of year I have TIME to go to shows.

    I do a modified bib clip: just the lower part of her neck, and patches over her triceps muscles. She’s also sensitive to rubs, so this amount of clip, weird as it looks, means I don’t have to blanket much, and when I do she still has enough hair on her shoulders that she doesn’t get rubbed. I really don’t care that it looks weird: like you, my horse is more important than other people’s opinions.

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  6. I have probably clipped over 100-150 horses in my time. My own horse, however has not seen a clipper in the entire 10 years I have owned him. Fortunately he grows little to no hair and that is how I like it. Now when people ask me if I will clip for them I feign deafness or a limited grasp of the English language. Works a treat!

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  7. Frankie floofed out basically overnight and currently resembles a woolly mammoth. Homeboy is gonna have to live through two days of showing this weekend because ain’t no time to fix him up beforehand, but we’ll be clipping his fuzzy butt sooner rather than later. Ugh.

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  8. Planning to bib and possibly Irish clip my three this weekend. Everyone gets a bib clip, but may only Irish clip Q for the time being as I hope to be working her more than the others and she runs hotter than them.

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  9. Cosmo got his first clip Labor Day Weekend this year. He is prepared for the next big chill, that will never comer to San Diego. But when it does, who’s gonna be prepared. My red fluffy mammoth. Clip #2 is on schedule for this weekend. If I’m lucky I’ll get away with just 3 clips this year, but I doubt it. Luckily, he is SUPER good about it and just falls asleep while I climb around/under him. His ears are a no-go tho, and I let him have that. He also gets testy on the left side (droopy side) of his face, as I can imagine he only has partial feeling there anyway so it must feel really weird to him.

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  10. The last time I body clipped I thought I had caught the flu after. Turns out my allergies have gotten THAT BAD. So now I suck it up and pay someone else to do it. I go away with not at all last year for anyone since they were all out of work for much of the winter. But the new pony is already looking like a yellow buffalo, so she will have to get done, and soon. Boo. I think Eros will need to also. Pammon seems to not grow hair.

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