The Native clips are a bit different than performance and leisure clips since you are not allowed to clip certain areas when showing. They must be shown in as natural conditions as possible. Trimming of any area such as ears, jawline, tail or feathers is often not allowed (depending on the breed).

As more and more native horses are worked out during the winter season, the need to clip them has also increased. When writing about native I include the native ponies, cobs, draft/baroque and the Icelandic horse.

I am personally happy to see that more and more Icelandic riders chose the Icelandic full clip or Icelandic clip above the Icelandic chase or strip since these clips allow the horse to temperature regulate better when trained, but I also understand the issues related to the require of rugging, especially when the horses often are turned out during all light hours.

When clipping a native horse, timing is crucial depending on each breed. If you intend to clip the horse throughout the winter season it is advisable to clip as early as possible. When clipping in the mild autumn the coat is not as thick, and it gives the horse the time to get the right amount of regrow before the hard-cold winter minimizing the require of stable management (and rugging as when clipped with a close finish).  Many also decide to clip with a 2.5mm or 3mm blade instead of a 1.4mm blade and therefore not leaving them with too close a finish.

By clipping you can maintain their normal training level since you have given them the best possible way to temperature regulate and get rid of the heat, they have generated during a training session. Many horses benefit with more energy and better performance when they are clipped and not hampered by a dense coat. Especially native horse with dense coat are affected during the training session and are often dripping with sweat when trained, making it difficult to dry fast or be turned out in the paddock right after a training session.

The Icelandic full clip is a performance clip. The entire body (and saddle area) are clipped. The front legs are clipped to just above the knee preferably with a high triangle at the front of the knee to create a visual longer look of the leg, leaving a nice finish. It is not allowed to clip the feathers or the head. Some may trim the long hair under the jawline creating a clean finish, but you are not allowed to clip the jaw.

A full clip requires careful rug management duo to the vulnerability to temperature fluctuation, cold and wind. You will need to invest in different turnout rugs and be willing to switch between different number of grams. If clipping early autumn, you minimized the require and management of rugging during the hard-cold winter period, especially if the second clip variates from the full clip. Many Icelandic riders choose the Icelandic full clip as the first clip of the years in late September/start October followed by a second clip in late November / start December. For the second clip, the full clip is replaced with either a chase or a strip, depending on the performance level and density of the coat, leaving the horse less vulnerable to temperature fluctuation.

The Icelandic clip does not vary much from the Icelandic full clip. The only visual difference is the front legs that are left unclipped and with a high triangle on the shoulder to create a visual long look of the legs when showing. The need of rugging is the same as for Icelandic full clip.

With The Chase Clip (Leisure Clip) the horse is only clipped from the bottom of the jaw to under the belly leaving a triangle shape. Everything under this is clipped. By clipping the downside of the neck, chest and under the belly sweating can be reduced. By not clipping at the top of the neck muscles and thus making the neck muscles as well as the body, legs and hindquarters less exposed to clod, it ensures that the Icelandic also has the opportunity to protect itself from the cold if it turned out during all light hours of the day.

With the Chase clip, the horse has the ability to protect itself from the cold in most cases. These clips are good alternatives if you don’t have the possibility to pay the same attention to temperature fluctuations during the day/week, since the horse is not exposed to the cold the same way as when full clipped. These clip will require the horse to be rugged to compensate for the clipping, unless the weather is particularly mild, but you don’t have to invest in the same amount of different turnout rugs as when full clipped, nor exercise rug since the horses back and lumbar muscle are kept warm by the long and dense coat.

The Strip Clip is suited for horses in light leisure workout, that live out during the winter months in all kinds of weather, with access to a field shelter, or suited for horses that struggles to hold body condition. The clip is concentrated on the downside of the neck and chest extended between the forelegs to include the belly. Rugging might only be necessary under the coldest conditions.


When clipping the legs of the Icelandic horse we want to create that perfect sharp contrast from unclipped to clipped and create a long visual look of the legs whereas when clipping other native breeds, we want a blending transition from clipped to unclipped. By turning the clipper with the head down it is easier to blend around the knees and hocks. Have in mind that some horses are totally different in colour when clipped making the blending difficult to hide.