Question: How would you clip a big horse who is terrified of the clippers without doping him?
Monty’s Answer: Thank you for sending this question to me. In the past two years my menu of procedures has grown tremendously where this problem is concerned. Yes it’s true; at 76 I’m still learning. There was a time when I recommended Join-Up® schooling to the Dually halter and then the use of the hair dryer to cause the horse to be more comfortable with electric motor sounds and the feel of the air on sensitive areas of their body.
These early procedures worked well and have served to improve the lives of countless horses all over the world. Some of my instructors came up with an additional procedure that I have found to be extremely effective. It is the use of a battery powered toothbrush. There are no sharp edges and you can get ones that have a very low volume so far as the electric motor is concerned. For the extreme case, taping the toothbrush to a bamboo pole can help one be more incremental in their approach.
Recently, I discovered all on my own, the addition of a gentle gelding that I could ride while massaging my equine student with the electric toothbrush. It seems that frightened horses will allow you to do much more from the back of another horse than they will when your feet are on the ground. We have been calling it the Monty Roberts Centaur effect. It has been an extremely valuable addition to the list of procedures I already had in place.
I am not asking a student to eliminate any of the early procedures. I am only suggesting the addition of those that I have listed here. Please do not use clippers while mounted on your quiet gelding as clippers have sharp edges and many have attached electrical cords. I do not recommend the use of an electrical cord until your equine student is perceived to be around 90% cured of the clipper phobia. The use of battery powered clippers should be employed before any cord is brought into play. Good luck. Keep us informed as to the outcome of employing these measures.