So, I was thoroughly impressed with the way Johnny stood immobile for 2.5 hours while I blundered around him with a set of buzzing sharp blades, but, here’s what I learned: watching numerous YouTube videos does not, in fact, make one an instant expert on anything. If you happen to decide to body clip your horse for the first time, I offer these helpful tips:
1) Watch lots of YouTube videos (they won’t make you an expert, but they are actually helpful)
2) Have 2 sets of blades (KoolLube works great, but towards the end of 2.5 hours of clipping, it’s nice to switch to a fully cooled set if your clippers themselves don’t overheat)
3) Start on your off side (for Lefties–me–start on the horse’s left side; I’ll explain why below)
4) Wear clothes you don’t mind pitching into the trash
5) Study the direction of hair growth before putting the blades to the horse
And, last, but not least, do NOT expect perfection…it will not happen.
Getting the angle of the blades right was far more difficult than I had anticipated. I mean, I have plenty of experience clipping legs, muzzles, ears, and doing surgical clips on small animals. I honestly didn’t think body clipping would be so hard; tedious yes, difficult, no. Here’s how my first foray into bodyclipping went down…
I set everything up: a stool so I could reach his 17h backside, clippers, blade oil, KoolLube, a body brush, Laser Sheen, and, of course, copious amounts of treats (for Johnny; coffee for me). I pre-oiled the blades, wiped off the excess, and made the first swipe like I’d watched on YouTube. But, oddly enough, my swipe didn’t look quite like it did in the video. It was patchy: some of the hair was sheared off, and some of it was still in full 1/2″ length. I kept at it, though, and just hoped I’d be able to clean it up later. Turns out the neck is a lot harder than the midsection and the rump, and things got better as I kept going. Johnny actually seemed to enjoy the process and took a little siesta while I choked on hair and dander. I looked a little like a brown chia pet when it was all said and done, but at least there was more hair on the ground than on me (or Johnny). I hadn’t planned on clipping his legs or face, but the contrast was so drastic (and my lines less than perfect) that I did those as well. The legs didn’t turn out too bad, but his face looks a little like a case of the mange gone bad. In fact, his whole body looks a lot less glamorous than I had anticipated, but I’m hoping it will all even out in two weeks. Here’s a photo montage… Don’t judge his mane–pulling his mane is a month-long process involving sedation and blistered pinkie fingers.