The Winter Clip 101

I’ve “put myself out there” and publically clipped my horse, and received a lot of different kinds of attention for it. Some get angry, some get curious (which someone handle great, others just get rude), and some openly takes my place in the “debate” and defends me. But what I’ve seen though, is a lack of knowledge about the subject. Let me guide you through the winter clip!

DSC_0091.jpgOne of my ex-horses; the fjord Odin. Rocking his clip!

There are many reasons why you would clip a horse. Many of my followers come from warmer countries (where there are no snow or “proper” winter), and therefore look at clipping as something you do during summer, to help the horse keep a reasonable temperature. To them; clipping the winter fur makes no sense, because the horse will need that fur for the colder temperatures!

Which is true. I 100% agree! The winter fur is great, and without a proper winter fur coat on, your horse can not keep himself warm on his own. He will simply freeze to death if you clip him, put him out on the field, and proceed to give zero fucks about him.

However, I think many forget that we take this whole winter clip-thing very seriously. I have over 15 different rugs, in different thicknesses and shapes, so I can closely monitor and keep his body temperature correct. My horse will not get cold, thanks to my rug wardrobe! He will also not get too warm. I also have extras of everything, in case something gets wet and doesn’t dry properly.

Let me also correct those of you who say “shave”; I know you probably know, but the terminology is a bit important. The horses are not shaved at all, they are clipped. That means that there is in fact fur left behind (you can choose how much by using different blades).

DSC_0002.JPGSpot the horse with poor fur quality!

Now, the reasons why we clip the horses are many. A perfectly healthy horse kept outside 24/7, will in 99% of the times, not get clipped. Let me guide you through the 5 main reasons as of why the winter fur is clipped away;

1. The horse has such poor winter fur quality, it doesn’t keep him warm. Putting rugs on top of a long, dysfunctional coat of fur makes it difficult to find the “correct” rug. Clipping away the fur will ease the struggle of finding the perfect rug. This is commonly seen in older horses, sick horses, and horses with PPID (Cushings Syndrome) etc.

2. The horse is stabled. With indoor temperatures, he will break a sweat. Sweating for up to 12 hours straight can (and most likely will) lead to skin conditions, such as eczema and dandruff etc. This can cause great discomfort, in addition to be itchy and bothersome. Being too warm for close to 12 hours might also result in a dehydrated horse, greatly increasing the risk of colic.

3. The horse is trained a lot. Many competition horses are clipped to ensure they’re comfortable even during tough training. A thick winter coat can overheat the horse and result in colic, or a discomfortable and angry horse who starts to look upon training as something bad.

4. The owner simply doesn’t want to spend two months getting the fur off. Yes, many times it can take months to brush all the hair out when winter is replaced with summer! Your entire wardrobe of rugs, saddle pads, bell boots, bandages and bridles (and your own clothes!!) will be drenched in fur and it really is bothersome.

5. The owner is allergic to horses, and clipping them makes it easier to handle them.

DSC_0130Fluffy Brego!

Now, I have no intentions to imprint on you that clipping the winter fur is the only way to go. If the fur is healthy and working properly, it will keep your horse warm even in the worst imaginable temperatures. It will keep him comfortable during basic training, and it will dry him up no-time when he gets sweaty. All he needs is a slight breeze, and swosh! Sweat away!

However, the more unnatural you keep your horses, the more you have to do in order for him to feel great. The winter fur is made to fit the horse’s natural needs, not our unnatural ways of keeping him. If he is put in a stable where the temperature is unnaturally warm, you need to help him. If you train him more than he would naturally exercise himself, you need to help him. No one gains anything positive from an overheated, angry horse, nor a sick horse with colic and skin conditions!

This year is the first time both Lillen and Brego has been clipped, and they both seem a lot more comfortable and energetic. They now don’t have to deal with spending energy on keeping themselves cool, and that is something they both seem to love! When they’re outside they get well fitted and warm rugs on, and they can move freely around. Brego has already gone rogue and runs around like the biggest cold-blooded rebel I’ve ever seen. I thought I had a calm youngster, but I think I need to find myself some extra safety gear next time I saddle up. The ER should be ready for me!

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Odin was very happy about his body temperature after he got his clip!

My preferred clip is to leave the head and the legs, so they have protection against the weather where I can’t supply them with rugs. This works great for my horses! Do you clip your horse, and why?

Emma

Stan the shire

What a good way to start the day! This morning, a kind follower alerted me that Lillen had been put up for sale… On the german Ebay site. I am of course not fond of people who tries to scam and fraud people, but I am not that kind of person who freaks out or gets sad when people do this. Let me all introduce you to Stan the shire!

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In this ad, you will be presentedย with four pictures of Lillen, picked from my Instagram Account.

As this wasn’t unoriginal enough, he is stated to be 10 years old and 189cm tall. Which is absolute true of course, seeing as they’ve picked the information straight from my account.

However, in order to disguise their fraud, they’ve renamed him. Because was they selling Lillen? Oh no. Their horse was a totally different one.

Named Stan.

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I don’t speak german, but Google Translate gently guided me through his ad. He is apparently a very kind horse, gentle in all imaginable situations. Also we apparently know this person, since the horse is advertised on our behalf. Now; which one of you crazy guys is behind this?? *glaring at my follower count, since it probably has to be one of you* (just joking here)

He is also valued at 9500โ‚ฌ.

But is it Lillen?

Of no no; this is Stan.

I immediately reported the ad, not because I was offended, but because of the obvious reason that I don’t want people to be seriously interested in a horse that turns out to be pure scam. I always report ad’s where I suspect there is a fraud behind it. I only hope the scammer hasn’t found any victims yet.

This of course only goes to show how important it is to never buy a horse you have not seen in person. Also make sure that his identification papers are correct and matching the horse you are looking into, and do search the web for information about him. Google Searching the pictures in the ad will also give you an idea if the pictures in the ad is stolen. It’s not a guarantee, but it can help.

I tried to get in touch with the person responsible for the ad. I sent him/her a message (in English, not sure if the language barrier is there or not) “kindly” asking the ad to be deleted. I also told him/her to ‘please fuck off <3’, just to increase the potential of some drama. I have also requested the person to say something, and alerted him/her that this is going to be posted online for everyone to see.

The pictures is a bit blurry, but trust me; the details are not very important. It’s a very basic ad, except their lack of being able to state properly what kind of education he has, and other details you expect to find in an advert. Yet; nothing too alarming honestly.

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So far I haven’t gotten a response. Which makes me sad :c Was I too hash in the message I sent? Are they afraid to create drama?

The ad was taken down within 5 minutes after reporting it; I would suggest the person behind it deleted it him/herself after my lovely message, as Ebay themselves weren’t able to check out the ad themselves.

I hereby declare November the 18th the official Stan-the-Shire-day. It is celebrated by having a laugh at that time a person tried to sell Lillen’s identical twin named Stan.

If I do ever get a reply from them, I’ll let you all know โค

Emma

Our snowy routine

Many of my followers live in countries with less to no snow and/or ice, and have difficulties imagining a life where your house if half-way buried in snow, and where you have to ride your horses on ice. We have 6 hours of daylight (which you’ll miss out on, because you’re at work/school), and live a life in darkness for 5 months. Let me give you an idea of how we survive!

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The first clue to survive, is having good tyres on your car, so you can get around without dying on the road. Most cars in Norway drive with exccelent winter tyres, and many of these are studded, so you have a great advantage on slippery roads. I just got my own car, and even though it’s a 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer (not a brand new car, to say the least, hehe!), I have a badass set of studded tyres. That car has not slipped once so far this winter!

Second clue of survival, is wool.

Yes, I know there are ‘vegan’ and more animal friendly materials to keep you warm, but wool is unbeatable. It is extremely breathable, it helps your body adjust temperature (you’ll rarely get sweaty wearing wool!), and if you do get wet, wool just keeps on warming you up. You can be soaked, and still be warm, even if the outside temperatures makes water freeze.

Also, wool doesn’t shed microplastic into the ocean like fleece do. If you’re concerned with animal welfare, shop wool from a farm with excellent animal care, and knit your own sweaters.

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Our horses usually don’t mind the winter, and if you leave them “as they are”, they will get a thick winter coat to keep them warm, and if they live barefoot, they’ll probably do just fine. Ice might be a challenge for barefoot horses, but they are born with instincs, and usually handle it well. You do not ride a barefoot horse on ice though; he needs to be left on his own, and take the time he needs to safely cross minding his own balance. A horse kept barefoot will usually be equipped with studded boots during a ride.

Horses who are not left “as they are”, will be shoed with studs and special snow soles, to ensure they have excellent grip on all surfaces you might ride across. The studs keep them from slipping; you can in fact ride a dressage session on slippery ice without a single issue. The snow soles keeps snow packs from building up underneath their hooves, and your horse won’t walk around on stilts.

Many horses are clipped too during the winter. Many refer to it as “shaving”, but in technical terms this is not correct; they are not shaved skin close, but they get their fur clipped. They do in fact have quite a lot of fur left. Clipping a horse requires good knowledge about rugs and how to blanket a horse, in addition to a large wardrobe of rugs for various needs and situations.

Clipping a horse ensures he does not overheat during training, and can be a good thing for horses who lives in a stable. Stables often get quite hot during the night, and a thick winter coat may result in a dehydrated horse, risking collic. It can also lead to eczema and other skin conditions, seeing as they will be drenched in their own sweat for close to 12 hours. If the horse is not stabled, he will usually not get a clip. Yes, we do have horses living outside 24/7, even in the harsh Norwegian winter. 90% of horses do this perfectly fine without the aid of rugs! Elderly and sick horses might need some help staying warm, but a healthy horse should have no problems staying outside.

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Our farrier putting on studded shoes with snow soles.

Riding and training outside is also not a problem. Ice is actually concidered a pretty soft surface (it’s quite springy!), and riding on/through snow is a wonderful feeling! As long as it is a powdery snow, and not snow with an ice crust on top, the horse will not bother a whole lot. We do however take the footing and resistance of the surface into thorough consideration; you don’t go showjumping on snow as the first thing after a snowfall. But being childish and galloping around on the arena knee-deep in snow, is not a problem. Showjumping can be saved for later when the arena has been plowed flat. Yes, we jump on snow and ice.

Many think it’s irresponsible to ride on ice and/or snow, but think about this; what should we rather do? The number of accidents is close to zero and with all the precautions we take, an accident is rarely a big one.

Many places in Norway is covered in frost and snowy fluff for close to 6 months of the year. Should the horses stay inside, or only train inside, for 6 months at the time? I think not!

Improvice. Adapt. Overcome!

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“COME AT MEH!!” says Mr. Cat. “Nah I cannot do that untill I’ve greeted you the dog way!” says Mr. Dog. They love playing together in the snow!

Also, the darkness is someting we adapt to. We have eyes that work and headlights in case it’s awfully dark and no moon outside. You’d be surprised about how bright it can become outside, when the moon is out and reflecting on all the snow and ice!

Emma