Preparing Your Horse for the Clippers

If you want to use clippers to prepare your horse for a show or to get his winter coat under control, you?ll need to make sure he is thoroughly prepared for what is, to most horses, a very scary experience.? As with any training, take your time and don?t rush the process – it may take several days before you can actually clip your horse.? Start by turning the clippers on in the barn, but not next to your horse, so that he can get comfortable with the sound.? Gradually bring the clippers closer and watch how he reacts.? Keep the clippers out of sight, and feed him some treats.? Once he appears to be taking no notice of the sound, you can begin to bring the clippers in sight of the horse.? As he accepts this, you can begin to rub him with the vibrating clippers, although not actually clipping at this point.? When he is calm and comfortable, you can slowly start to clip.? Most horses are simply frightened of the noise and desensitization to the sound quickly removes any fear.? However, horses that are ticklish and find the actual clipping to be unpleasant are harder to work with.? If at any time you feel threatened by your horse?s reactions, contact an experienced horse-person or trainer for assistance.? Remember that pushing the horse into a state of panic will not cause him to learn anything except that he truly has something to fear.? Also be aware that if your horse panics and you turn the clippers off, he will have learned that by panicking and threatening you, the clippers disappear. Take it slow and end each session on a positive note and you?ll find that the entire process will go much more smoothly.

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