The purpose of clipping is to aid the comfort of the horse during the winter months. It is a balance between the horse's natural protection against the colder weather and our desire to keep working the horse.
The longer and coarser winter coat usually starts to grow in early Autumn. This extra insulation causes the horse to sweat more during work, which if not dried off may cause chills and general loss of condition, and generally makes it uncomfortable for the horse. A clipped horse is also easier to groom and clean.
Styles of clipping
Three common clipping styles are illustrated. The darker brown is the longer unclipped hair.
Obviously the more hair that is removed the less tolerant the horse will be to the cold and wet. So the hunter clip is only suitable for horses kept stabled all the time and exercised often.
The trace clip leaves most of the exposed areas of the horse unclipped and is suitable for horses turned out during the day and stabled at night.
Whichever clip is used we must compensate for what we remove by rugging up' the horse. The New Zealand is one of a huge range of available types of rug. It is a hard-wearing, waterproof, lined rug traditionally made with a canvas outer (modern synthetic variants are available) which is used when horses are turned out into a field. It is secured by straps that will keep it in place even if the horse rolls (that's the theory).