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Clipping Horses and Ponies with Cushing’s Disease (PPID)

Clipping Horses and Ponies with Cushing’s Disease (PPID) - Masterclip

Tim Ryman |

Clipping horses and ponies with Cushing’s Disease (PPID)

Cushing’s disease is an endocrine disorder in equines caused by a tumour that develops in the pituitary gland. This tumour, known as a pituitary adenoma causes the pituitary gland to secrete increased amounts of hormones into the body. The correct terminology for equine Cushing’s is Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID). This over production of hormones in Cushing’s horses can often be seen in the classic tell-tale sign of the long, thick, sometimes curly coat that does not annually shed and remains all year round.

Clipping Cushings with Masterclip HD Roamer


Cushing’s disease can be confirmed by a veterinary blood test and although the condition cannot be cured, it can be managed effectively with tablets and careful stable management including clipping, dentistry, weight control and nutrition.

The thick, long coat of the Cushing’s horse can make them overly warm and sweat, causing discomfort and distress in warmer weather. Their thick coat can also prevent them from drying out properly, risking them becoming chilled and causing the body to use up valuable energy to keep warm. Moisture from sweating trapped in the hair close to the skin can also be an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and fungi, with an overgrowth likely to develop into skin issues. Regularly clipping the thick coat will be greatly beneficial to help your horse regulate their body temperature much more effectively and reduce the risk of sweating and overheating.

Selecting the best clippers for your horse

Because the coat of the Cushing’s horse or pony is usually very thick, curly and could be matted, a heavy-duty horse clipper is best. At Masterclip, we offer a variety of different horse clippers to ensure that your Cushing’s horse or pony keeps cool and comfortable all year round. Our heavy-duty Hunter, cordless HD Roamer and V-series clippers are ideal for full clips, legs and hogging of thick, Cushing’s coats. These clippers have powerful motors to help breeze through thick fluffy coats effortlessly. They are easy to use and have wide blades to take more hair off with each stoke and reduce clipping time. Our Masterclip horse clippers offer a choice of A2 blades to suit the condition of the coat and provide the best finish.

Heavy duty clippers can be used to clip your horse’s legs and head but you may prefer a smaller clipper to clip smaller, delicate areas such as trimming the face and heels. A medium duty clipper, such as our Royale or cordless MD Roamer are smaller, quieter, and easier to manoeuvre than larger heavy duty handsets, ideal clippers to finish off a super smart full clip.

 Clipping Cushings with Masterclip V-Series

What type of clip?

Cushing’s horses tend to need clipping all year round. In summer, usually a full clip, even for horses that are not in work tends to be best. A full body clip will keep them cool and help them to regulate their body temperature more effectively.

In winter, clipping depends on how your horse copes with the colder climate. A partial clip in a variation of a trace or Irish clip may be all that’s needed for most horses and ponies, especially for those still in work. These types of clip tackle the hair in the sweatiest places but allow to keep the backs and quarters covered.

Which blades to use?

The coat needs to be as clean as possible before clipping, but as such a thick coat does not tend to dry properly, bathing is usually not an option, even in the summer. Instead, brushing the coat clean as much as possible before attempting to clip will aid the clipper blades to glide comfortably through the coat.

A2 coarse clipper blades are the best blades to give your horse the first clip to remove the bulk of the hair. They cope much better with clipping through patches of sweaty, matted hair that would otherwise dull other blades much faster. Always start with freshly sharpened or brand new clipper blades and take time to regularly oil the clipper handset and blades every 5 minutes during clipping and to brush away hair from the blades. Don’t worry if the first initial clip doesn’t look perfect as the coat may not be very clean to provide a smooth finish straight away. Instead, after the first clip use a medium blade on the clipper to run over the clip again in a slightly different direction against the hair to remove any clip lines and a leave a more even, smarter finish. A full clip with a medium blade is ideal for the summer. This will ensure that your Cushing’s horse stays cool but has enough coat to keep their skin protected from the sun’s rays if they have sensitive pink skin. If clipping using a fine blade, you may want to turn your horse out with a UV sheet to protect against the sun.


Thank you so much for your comment Nuala. It sounds as though you have found great way to clip your boy to keep him comfortable but well protected all year round :) Lauren at the Masterclip Team


We help care for a 23-year-old Arabian who has PPID. He is given a 90% clip in summer (we leave some hair along
his back [a thick strip over the spine] as the black flies tend to attack him there and it helps protect him). We also
leave some hair on his lower legs to protect again flies. We don’t clip his face.

In winter, an Irish clip suits him — we do this in October. It provides enough warmth, but on milder days he can stay
comfortable. When the temperature drops below 40F in windy/wet weather, we use a medium blanket.
In dry weather, with no wind chill, we usually don’t blanket until it’s below 35F.

Thank you for the article; it’s very helpful.

Nuala Galbari,

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