Full disclosure: I hate body clipping. HATE. IT. But today I want to share with you a body clipping secret that changed my life forever.
The Irish clip.
While it’s certainly appropriate and necessary for some horses to get an all-over shave, many can get away with a clip that keeps them warm but makes it easier for them to cool out after working up a sweat.
Until I discovered the Irish clip, I usually just went the whole hog on my horse, not necessarily because he needed it but because the only thing worse than full-body clipping is trying to make trace clip lines look halfway straight and symmetrical. Especially after you’re a couple beers into the six pack you brought to the barn because you hate clipping so much. But I digress.
The quality of my life improved dramatically when I discovered the Irish clip (so simple! so quick! so hard to screw up!) from my then Tryon, NC-based eventing buddy Kaitlyn Jansen.
I was in love even before she pointed out the clip’s powers of optical illusion. The climbing line can make horses appear more uphill and — this part is top secret — if you add an ever-so-slight curve to the neck it can even make them look a bit rounder. A clip that might even earn you an extra dressage point or two? Sign me up!
Kaitlyn in turn had adopted the Irish clip from another Tryon equestrian, Annie Lane-Maunder.
Annie didn’t invent it, of course, but she did import it. Annie has evented for 55 years through all the levels, in North America and in England, and since settling down in Tryon has inadvertently become the area’s Irish clip evangelist.
She says, “I’m pretty sure that Kaitlyn would have gotten it from me since no one in this area had seen it until I moved here 17 years ago!” At one time, Annie says, she had 22 horses in her barn, “all with the Irish clip!”
Some photos of Annie’s horses sporting her signature clip over the years:
Want to give it a go? Check out this tutorial (beware: there’s some traditional trace clip demo-ing in there too — eek!):
Thanks for spreading the good word, Annie! Go Eventing.