The Foal Clip – for Spanish Fillies and Colts

In this section I will discuss how to clip the different styles for fillies and colts based on their age.

Foals have thin skin and jump around a lot – so be extremely careful not to nick the young foal. When the foal is very young he won’t have a lot of hair. If you go to work on him with electric clippers, you’ll most likely clip off too much hair especially in the mane area. A foal clip can be achieved with scissors. This discussion will assume that the foal has never been clipped before.

• Have the foal located nearby his mother. If the foal is not overly strong or rambunctious, one person can cradle the foal while the other clips. If the foal is already large and strong, one person can dally the rope around the stocks to keep him still while the other person clips.

• Pull the foal’s tail out straight and use scissors to cut off most of the long tail hairs. Use care. Do not get the electric clippers out just yet as this will frighten the foal even more. You will go back and tidy up the tail after you have done the mane.

• Use scissors to clip and shape the mane. Start just behind the ears. Keep your scissors pointed towards the withers. Try to keep the cut at least an inch higher than your final cut at this point. This will allow you some room to correct errors.

• Make a smooth arch shape down the hairs that are standing up straight. Foals have a fluffy mane and it’s hard to get a good arch.

• The highest part of the shaped mane should be about in the middle of the foal’s neck.

• As you get closer to the withers, be very careful NOT to cut this hair. You’ll need to leave most of the wither hair in place so the foal will not look like he has a notch in his neck in front of the withers.

• Turn your scissors and point them towards the ears. Start several inches upwards of the withers (you’re leaving that part till last) and cut towards the ears. As you go up the mane you’ll notice that the hair is fluffing out and standing out square like a cube.

• Use the scissors along the sides of the mane to trim away some of the hair. The top of the mane that is standing up should be in a point.

• As you get towards the ears again, step back from the foal to see what you’ve done (oh no!).

• Tie in the mane with the poll of the horse. There should be a smooth topline curve from the middle of the mane up towards the poll and over onto the forehead.

• Clip off the forelock. Be careful not to cut into the poll area. This needs to tie in with the rest of the mane. Shape as needed to make it look like a natural part of the forehead.

• Take a step back and look over what you’ve done so far. Now you’re ready to trim the wither area. Just trim off the highest hairs. Leave plenty of hair over the withers. Do not re-enforce the dip in the withers by cutting the hairs even with the neckline. There will be empty spots in this area; they’ll fill in later. From a distance the mane will look more full.

• The foal’s ears will look huge with no forelock and no mane. You can use your scissors to trim off excess hair or for a show cut, use the clippers to completely show clip the ears and muzzle. To use scissors, gently close the ear with your hand so that the sides of the ears come together. The extra hairs will be poking out. Trim these hairs with your scissors so that the inside hairs are now flush with the ear “rims”. If you’re going to clip the ears with electric clippers you may need to use a twitch – foals need to be a month or so old for the twitch to fit on them. Or use an extra handler and take your time to get the job done right.

• Now go back to the tail. If the foal will tolerate the clippers, finish by shaving all the hair off down to the skin with your medium or large animal clippers. Otherwise tidy up the tail with your scissors. Caution: Clippers can get hot and they can also nick baby’s thin skin. If your foal is extra fluffy, be careful how you trim the tail near the buttocks. Try to trim just the tail, and then purposely make a final clip area that is rectangular where the tail inserts – this is for neatness. 

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