Body clipping


Body-clipping a horse can give some really strange results, but I thought this warmblood was particularly interesting. I’ve noticed that clipping a horse sometimes reveals dappling that is not evident on the regular coat. That seems especially true for silver dilutes. I’ve also noticed that some clipped horses are rather unevenly colored, and that even more of them grow back with uneven color, but this is the first one that I have seen where those uneven areas look so much like a dappling pattern in reverse.

Here are some more angles on the same horse. (And thank you again to Kim Smith for sharing her pictures. Getting such numerous clear shots of unusual colors is such a treat!)


Notice on this last one how the dark area on the hind leg follows the pattern of the veins, just like ordinary dappling does in reverse.


I must admit that my own experience with clipping is very limited, so I don’t know how common reverse dappling might be, and whether it is something seen when the horse is clipped or something that appears as the coat grows back. Perhaps owners of Miniature Horses, which are often clipped for showing purposes, can share their experience with color changes.

I do know that horses like this are often mistaken for roans or even for duns, especially in photos where the difference in hair length cannot always be seen, because of the contrast between the head and the body color.


2 Responses to Body clipping

  1. Robin March 23, 2012 at 9:00 am #

    My daughter is a professional body clipper specializing in minis. She body clips hundreds of horses each year all across the country — every color under the rainbow. I can tell you from my own large herd that many of these horses undergo a dramatic color difference from natural coat to clipped coat, some so remarkable that I ensure that show horses are body-clipped and broodmares left natural prior to having photos taken for official Coggins test results for travel. Otherwise, to a lay person/inspector they would look like two different horses and no amount of arguing would convince these officials otherwise unless the horse had distinct white markings. I see the illustrated “dapples” especially in the darker horses frequently — and these are well fed horses with nice shiny coats. Unevenness in color is also pronounced in horses she does where the nutrition is, let’s just say, less than optimum and the color variation in the coat will be more pronounced. The most dramatic change we see is in the light-colored silver bays (not so much in the dark) where the horse goes from a sorrel appearance to pure silver. Same goes for blue roans, light palominos, silver buckskins, heavily sabino roaned horses that will clip down to almost white. With all the color variety in minis, it’s really a shame that we clip them so dramatically for showing as some of them exhibit the most beautiful and striking color in a nice tight natural coat. Unfortunately they spend most of the year fuzzed up as fur balls, so clipping is a necessity both for their comfort and for evaluation purposes at shows.

    • The Equine Tapestry March 26, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

      Thank you so much for the information, Robin! I knew if anyone could talk about what clipping does to body color, it would be Miniature Horse exhibitors. 🙂