Clipper training horses: techniques that work

click to watch in YouTube

click to watch in YouTube

How do you approach body clipping foals if they aren’t halter trained yet? With good technique. 

The technique is the same one you should use with any horse (approach and retreat) but the application is different.

Think about that sentence for a minute.

The technique, the idea, the thought, the theory, is approach and retreat. Approach can be outside the stall, inside the stall, five feet away or five inches away. The idea is that you ‘approach’ in some form and ‘retreat’ when the horse responds in a way you like. In this case I ‘retreat’ when they look at me.

The application is different because I don’t have a halter on them. The theory didn’t change. The application changed.

Sometimes ‘different’ makes people nervous. What if it doesn’t work? What if they run? What if I can’t get close? What if…what if…what if…

As long as that ‘what if’ doesn’t leave one of you injured then ‘what if’ it happens? You can probably make a plan for how to handle it. If they seem scared with you outside the stall, maybe you stay at that distance for a few days. The same technique applies though; they look toward you, you shut off the clippers.

When you get comfortable with the theory you will execute the application much better. 

(The most asked question has been, “Why clip the foal?”. You will notice in the video that there are two foals but I only clipped the one. The one I clipped was having trouble cooling himself. He was overheating. His body was soaked in sweat daily without working and his breathing rate was increased, labored, from the heat. He would get depressed/lethargic. The other foal was fine. I clipped the one because I was afraid for his health and didn’t want his body working so hard if I could step in and help.)



  1. Elizabeth Hanson on September 6, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    Such a great technique. I am impressed. And I hope that since you are starting them so young they will feel much more comfortable when they are grown up.

  2. lindy on September 1, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    These guys will be clipper trained for life! And Justice looks so much better now, a whole different color! I wonder why he wasn’t shedding that foal coat, though….

  3. Leah Sinclair on July 22, 2016 at 11:24 pm

    So relaxed and he looks great afterwards, love it and the way you teach (horses and people) ?

  4. Paula O on June 30, 2016 at 8:47 pm

    Just sitting here with a big smile on my face 🙂 You truly speak “horse”…they trust you so much already. Genius.

  5. jeanie mcjunkin on June 30, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    this is such a great video on many levels. they are adorable. justice is quite the looker with his new haircut. thanks for taking us along on this journey. i look forward to your posts so much!

  6. Jim moore on June 30, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    A such great technique. I sometimes think I’m pretty good until I watch you pros. I appreciate all you do, thanks.

    • Amelia on July 1, 2016 at 10:00 am

      That sounds concerning for the foal. Has the rescue or a vet given you any ideas on what may be going on? Seems unusual.

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