Teaching a Horse to Accept Horse Clippers

If you think about horse equipment that horses like the least, horse clippers probably come to mind.  However, it is possible to slowly and patiently teach your horse to accept them and stand quietly for a clipping.  Here’s how.

This method will require about a month of daily work and possibly longer.  So be prepared to be very patient!  This is not an overnight fix, but will last the horses’ lifetime.

On the first day, all you need to do is show your horse the clippers and let him sniff them.  The clippers are turned off, and as soon as your horse sniffs them, shower him with praise and feed him a treat.  That’s it, you are done for the day! The next day, do the same thing again and again the next.  When your horse starts expecting a treat the minute he has sniffed the clippers then you are ready to move on.  Your horse has made a connection in his brain between the clippers and treats.

With your horse in the cross ties, plug the clippers in, turn them on and hold them away from your horse.  If he stands quietly without fear, give him a treat and turn them off.  The goal here is to desensitize your horse to the sound of the clippers.  Do this for several days until he starts looking for a treat the minute you turn on the clippers.

The next step is to touch the clippers to your horse’s neck while they are turned on and have him stand quietly.  The reward is a treat and turning the clippers off.  So, with your horse in cross ties, turn the clippers on and rest them against his neck.  If he moves, try to keep the clippers there until he stands quietly.  Then give him a treat and turn them off.  Keep doing this until it’s very easy to do, and he appears to have accepted them on his neck totally.

The next step is to simply move them around on his neck.  Reward for standing quietly while you rub the clippers all over his neck.  When that is easy, you can start moving the clippers to more sensitive areas like the face and bridle path, using the same reward for good behavior: a treat and turning the clippers off.

Eventually, with enough time, patience and experience, your horse will stand so quietly while you rub the clippers anywhere you want that you’ll know you can begin actually clipping. Congratulations! You have trained your horse to accept the horse clippers.

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