How to Clip Mares

This clip will be used on all fillies once they reach two years of age. Colts are shown with either everything shaved off (forelock, mane, tail) or everything growing out. Only fillies and mares keep the shaped manes and partially clipped tails for the rest of their lives – the “mare clip”.

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• Allow the forelock to grow out naturally. At first the horse will look a little silly with a short tuft of hair growing straight up out of her forehead. If the forelock gathers cockleburs these can be removed by adding oil to the mane and combing them out. This is better than cutting the forelock as banged forelocks are not appealing.

• Allow the tail to grow out. There will be a time when you first start growing out the tail that the hairs will be too short to give a decent looking mare clip. The look of a growing-out-tail is that of a wire-haired brush. If you start growing the tail out in the late fall of her yearling year, by the following spring there should be almost enough tail hair to get the look started.

• Since you are letting the bottom part of the tail grow, you will only shave the upper part. Most people go by this rule – shave down to where the shaved part is even with the bottom of the female reproduction part (vulva). How far down you shave will also depend a bit on the mare’s conformation. Mares needing to look a little larger in the hindquarter would do better if their shaved part is a little shorter and the long tail hairs are kept banged a little shorter. Mares with large rumps look fine with the hair shaved all the way down to the vulva.

• The problem with shaving all the way down to the vulva is that if your clippers slip, you will eventually make this area longer and longer. When you start growing it back out, the tail hairs that are growing out won’t blend with the rest of the tail. This is why I prefer not to shave too far down the tail.

• To actually do the shaving, shave upwards against the grain of the tail hairs. Press down hard as you push the clippers up in order to shave down to the skin. Blend the top of the tail hair into the rump by using lighter strokes.

• To bang the tail, gather all the tail in your hand, pull down, and use the large animal clippers to evenly bang the bottom. A shorter tail will make the rump look a little larger.

• Use the clippers to thin the sides of the mane. This is the same as described for the yearling cut.

• Use the scissors to shape the top of the mane. This is the same as described for the yearling cut. 

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