Clipping Minis

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Credit: Courtesy Andis Clipping Miniature Horses can be a problem because of their thick coats and small stature.

Credit: Courtesy Andis Clipping Miniature Horses can be a problem because of their thick coats and small stature.

Brooke Sheridan is known as “The Clipper Girl,” and she is a professional Miniature Horse clipper and spokesperson for the Andis Company. When asked for tips on how to best clip Minis, she said, “Use a smaller, but heavy duty pair of hand-held body clippers, because Minis have notoriously thick coats, and you don’t want to run the risk of burning out the motor. Yet because of their size, you’ll want to maneuver around them easily"

She stressd the importance of bathing first. “Grooming alone is just not enough," she stressed. "Months of accumulated dirt and oil will cause a sticky buildup on your clippers no matter how much you curry and brush beforehand.”

Once your Mini is dry, Sheridan said to jump in by going against the grain, starting from the neck and shoulder, then work your way around the barrel to the hind quarters. She recommended doing the head and legs last as they are more sensitive and you’ll already have most of the job done if you have to deal with some squirming. If that’s the case, and you need to use restraint, she uses a small tarp clamp in place of a twitch (you can find one in a hardware store).

For an everyday clip, a size 10 blade is probably sufficient, she said. But for show where you want to sculpt the face to look “Arabin,” you’ll need to have size 50, 40, and 30 blades on hand. She also razors the muzzle and around the eyes for even more definition.

You’ll no doubt run into tricky spots where the hair doesn’t cooperate, so clip in whatever direction will get the job done, she suggested. "You can always go back later and even things out, but be sure to use steady pressure. And, keep a stool or a bucket nearby; you’ll want to sit on it, especially when you get to the lower half, tummy and legs." Sheridan reminded everyone to keep their blades lubricated.

When it comes to the mane, for a show clip allow for at least a 6-inch bridle path, and thin the mane from both the top and bottom to protect the crest from breaking over, a particular problem for stallions, she suggested.

For babies, Sheridan said you can start clipping them at one month of age, especially if you live in a warm weather climate.

Finally, she counseled everyone to take it slow and allow enough time for breaks. Once you have your Mini clipped, she said blankets or fly sheets are a must for warmth, cleanliness and protection from bug bites.