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Franklin Levinson's

Horse Help Center

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Horse Clipping Blues

Hello Franklin.

You probably do not remember me but my name is Alanna. I live in Toronto. I had spent a day with you learning about horses. I had not had my own horse when I had visited you but I do now. His name is Max. He is 6 years old, 16.1 hands tall and is a dark bay. I am soon to be showing the trillium circuit. But before I can show my coach and myself were planning to clip him. Unfortunately my horse is not very comfortable around the body or face clippers. I've read many articles from magazines and have been practicing turning the clippers on around Max. On an attempt to clip my horse we gave him 1 or 2 cc of trank. The trank did not do any thing for us. I was wondering if you had any suggestions for Max and I.

Hi Alanna,

Congratulations on you new horse. How wonderful for you. You were with me about a year or so ago I think. What is the 'trillium circuit'? I have never heard of it. Let see if I can offer suggestions for your situation.

There is no quick fix for this, except maybe a stronger tranq for you and your critter. The only way to really deal with this is to re-train him for it. Your riding instructor may be great at teaching riding but may not be a horse trainer (although she may not want to admit to that). Most riding instructors are not horse trainers, but rather specialize in teaching riding. Anyway, you'll need to have the clippers on a lot for a while. Have them on while feeding, regular grooming, etc. until the sound is no big deal. Once he is fine with the sound and you walking around holding the clipper, you will begin to occasionally touch him with the hand holding the clipper, but not the clipper itself. Touch him on a safe place like her shoulder. Not near her head or butt. Soon you should be able to hold your hand on the sport with the clipper in it but not touching him. From that point it is a gradual process of moving closer with more touching on the body with the clipper all the time calming and reassuring the horse all is OK and he is a good boy. Again, there is not quick fix. I can usually get a horse through this in a few days. Some may take longer, some may take less time. You always need to be patient, extremely sensitive and kind. Back off if the horse gets really scared. Do not try to push him through his fear until he is ready to take another step forward. Do you have the sensitivity and patience for this process? Many folks don't and only go to a stronger tranq. That may work, but it is a short lived solution. When do you want to start showing him?

I am taking on a few students for coaching in horse handling and training. This will be done via live chat or telephone coaching. Perhaps you may be interested in a few sessions? Let me know. Anyway, remember most problems can be solved by going back to the basics of good training. Re-starting the horse is another way of stating it. It is the surest way I know of making a lasting change happen for the horse. Keep me posted I am interested. Again, congratulations and it is great to hear from you.

Sincerely, Franklin

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