Clipping an area on your horse is useful for a variety of reasons, especially for revealing the extent of injuries and wounds, and for removing hair and debris from a wound bed before cleaning. Good and effective clipping is an art. It requires quality, functioning clippers and gentle care to not frighten your horse or cause them pain.
Halter the horse. It helps to have a skilled helper at the head of the horse. Turn the clippers on a few feet from your horse so they can see and hear them. Watch their response dull as they are desensitized to the sound.
Begin by clipping the hair a few centimeters away from the injury or wound and gently move closer to the wound. Clip in the same direction of hair growth first to remove large sections, then finish by clipping close against the lie of the hair.
Tips for safety & Success
It pays to invest is a good quality clipper, maintain it well, and keep new spare clipper blades ready for use. There is nothing more frustrating than clippers that do not work or are poorly maintained. When possible, only clip dry hair. In rare cases, you can accidentally shock your horse if you use electric clippers on wet hair.
At our practice, we place a piece of gauze with sterile lubricant (KY Jelly works) into/over the wound prior to clipping around the wound. This catches the loose hair that would have otherwise entered the wound, and makes cleaning the wound easier.
In an emergency, sharp bandage scissors can be used to clip hair away from a wound to allow it to be assessed or cleaned, but clippers are faster and often safer.