Wednesday, July 27, 2016

What Do Wednesday; Whiskers

This week's question stems from a photo I took today while making B model my new bridle*

*I say new, but I paid for it almost 6 weeks ago on ETT and it just arrived today. The cons of ordering  off ETT. But I was excited nonetheless. I got it for his hackamore, since the one was I was using in the interm was shitty and slightly too big and therefore the noseband was sitting about an inch too low on his nose. Like I said, I bought the damn thing ages ago, but it JUST arrived. Finally. Its gorgeous. Moving on.

I noticed his super long whiskers for the first time in any pic (so then I had to dig for more) and it struck me how long its been since I actively shaved any whiskers on either of my horses.

Back in the day, I used to show hunters and as many might know, Not even in the ears, so god bless if your horse didn't stand to be shaved there. So naturally, I followed along because thats what everyone else was doing and shaved all my horses basically bald everywhere always.

begging politely for noms whiskers

Then I started eventing and people banged their tails and pulled manes and tails so of course I did too. I might have done this for about 10 years until I moved to MO and honestly got incredibly lazy and stopped doing everything but face shaving for shows. I personally dislike the event tail look and it was the greatest decision ever to let Yanks tail grow much  more tail hair!! #Luxurious

Then I noticed  that not many people were really shaving faces at events and jumper shows anymore, and since I really didn't enjoy taking their faces off... I stopped without really realizing it. On occasion I would notice and think it looked pretty unkempt, so I would buzz it off.

Frozen whiskers
Looking back, I really don't understand why, having 'made the transition'.

It wasn't until I bought Bacardi, aka self destructor, that I intentionally left all forms of hair on the face.

It took me all of 5 minutes to be OK with this since shaving all forms of hair on my own body is annoying and doing it on a 1000b beast who didn't want anything to do with it was even worse.

playing with whiskers
Also, why was it ever a fad to remove something that legit has a purpose for the ponies.

Not that it makes a difference with Bacardi since he LITERALLY (no but really, literally) has a new cut on his face everyday, but I see what the naturalists are harping about. The hairs are there for a reason. How do we humans know if they are more deeply wired into vision or other sensory functions? Agreed, it look much better clipped for show, but really why?

majestic whiskers

As people like to say, "you wouldn't do that to a cat!"

So what I want to know is simply what you do with whiskers! Keep or clip! Feel free to elaborate. tell me dear readers, what do!?


  1. I clip them, doesn't negatively impact my horse in any way that I can notice.

    1. Yeah I would have to say my practice stems from mostly laziness but also the fact that B hates it and doesn't stand perfectly still. Plus, I'm just hoping keeping them prevents his silly self from face bashing as frequently but I'm beginning to see that it hasn't made a difference hahah! I never really noticed a difference for yanks either. Truly just justifying my laziness a bit

  2. I keep them, much the chagrin, annoyance, and disgust of my trainer. I lovingly refer to my mare as "the bearded lady." They few times I've trimmed--immediate cuts on her face. I am sure they get used to not having the whiskers if you do it on the regular, but since I only used to do it for the odd show it always seemed to have an impact. Anyway, I think whiskers are adorable.

  3. I've always clipped... I know it's big not to clip though and I've had a BM tell me that he won't be able to find his food or water without whiskers... Okay. I don't keep them clipped regularly though. I'll clip a couple days before a show or a clinic... Sometimes I don't. I feel like it's okay either way but that's just me!

  4. I clip them. They live in stalls and paddocks with food and water provided. They don't need to seek out grass amid brambles. I really just dislike whiskered faces. Although whiskers bother me less than goat beards. Hair under the jawline gets shaved no matter what.

  5. I used to always clip ears and face. When I started Eventing I couldn't get on board with pulled or clipped tails... Banging was enough for me. Now I will bang the tail but I have found myself leaving the whiskers lately. I don't think it's torture to cut them off but laziness has gotten the best of me.

  6. I used to show Morgans/Saddlebreds at breed shows so I was a DIE HARD REMOVE ALL THE HAIR. Since switching to dressage about 15 years ago, I have slowly let go of my OCD. Now Hampton just gets his chin hairs cleaned up, a bridle path and I shave his little white socks to help keep them clean. I don't touch his whiskers anymore, and not really his ears unless they are large chunks sticking out.

  7. I posted about this a while back, so it's probably no surprise, but I do not clip whiskers or ear hair. They serve an actual purpose (it's illegal in several European countries to clip the whiskers because they're considered a sensory organ!) and clipping them off DOESN'T serve an actual purpose, so to me that's a no-brainer. I do like the event horse tail (clipped, not pulled), but not banged super short... I like to leave more length so they can still swat all the flies. I scissor the mane, my horses don't really like pulling so it's not worth it to me. When I see an unclipped horse at a show I don't think "omg, tacky", I think "yay, this person gets it! bravo!".

  8. Keep. Eventers don't care, and even a lot of the upper level riders keep theirs (hi michael Jung and I think Lainey). I used to clip them, but noticed an increase in face cuts when I did... so I stopped for good.

  9. Keep. Eventers don't care, and even a lot of the upper level riders keep theirs (hi michael Jung and I think Lainey). I used to clip them, but noticed an increase in face cuts when I did... so I stopped for good.

  10. I trim off beards but all whiskers get to stay. Trim a bridle path and I will scissor ear tufts if they stick out. However I've got Arabians and they naturally seem to shed their faces bald until winter...

  11. I'm a pretty adamant keep whiskers on sort of a rider. I don't think that it visually makes that much difference.

  12. Keep on! Around the eyes too. I saw so many performance horses hurting their eyes in their stall, on anything really.

    So I am for keeping the hair on for health and safety issue ^_^

  13. I clip it all, but I'm more neurotic about it when showing. Legs (too many white markings and horsey wears boots for turnout), whiskers, under the jaw, bridle path, ears. Bang the tail, "pull" the tail (I rake it off- this is a habit from my old horse who would hold his tail out and up behind him as he worked and he'd get this awkward section of tail that wouldn't move with the rest of it). I just like the crisp look it all gives. My horse doesn't go out without his eared fly mask, and he's never had an issue finding anything. I do leave the eye whiskers unless they're curling into the eye, and even then I just trim them so they don't anymore.

  14. Eh - I hate how it looks, but I am slowly moving into the camp of leave the whiskers on. Boca doesn't seem to care either way, but the whole sensory organ argument kind of makes sense.

    As Olivia said above - that goat beard under the jaw - that's gotta go!

  15. I clip every once in a while when it gets unkempt looking

  16. I used to keep my horses immaculately hairless, all the time. ALL the time. They never had whiskers, and for big shows I clipped at least the old man hairs out of their ears. Never their eye whiskers though, and rarely the insides of ears. But they were always clipped. I clipped legs too - from coronary band to knee/hock, they were clipped.
    Then my horses all started to live outside, and I started to think... why am I doing this? They live out here... they need that hair. They need the leg hair. They need the whiskers.
    So, I compromise. I don't clip anything unless we're showing in a big show, then I clip just whiskers and don an ear bonnet. Ear bonnet not only looks nice but keeps me from having to worry about hairy ears. Because I LIKE the hairless look a lot, but I'm not willing to sacrifice my horses' comfort for it. Not anymore.

  17. I bang C's tail a little now that he actually has one. I trim with clippers the top of his tail A LITTLE to keep it looking manageable. I mean, it's not like he's ever showing as a hunter, so braided tail is a non-thing for us. Bridle path yes. Chin yes. I'll clip hair that sticks out of the ear, but always thought clipping the ear out was kind of mean so I don't.

    Dressage horses can go either way with whiskers. I prefer the clean, clipped look and C doesn't seem to have a preference either way. That said, it's been super hot lately and he's sporting something more than 5 o'clock shadow now.

  18. I trim them just before a show, but otherwise I completely forget about their existence.

  19. I keep all the hair! It serves a purpose and I don't show, so I leave it alone. :)


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