A Do-It-All Clipper For The Entire Horse

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In October 2010 we looked at trimmers and in December 2010 we tried body clippers. We recommended a couple of small trimmers, the Wahl Stable Pro ($130, www.wahl.com, 800-767-9245), a long-time Horse Journal favorite, and the Laube Speed Feed ($120, www.kimlaubeco.com, 805-240-1300) for trimming, but we found them inefficient for body clipping the whole horse.

But it was frustrating, as we know many horse owners prefer trimmers for body clipping, either because of their lightness, because they?re far less expensive than body clippers, or because of their fine cut.

Now, however, Andis says they have a clipper that's the best of both worlds, a product that truly can efficiently and beautifully clip a horse's body and can trim his legs and face reasonably well, too. We didn't believe it but, incredibly, the Andis Excel 5-Speed Clipper ($226, www.andis.com, 800-558-9441) equipped with the new, wide T-84 blade, did just that.

it's lightweight (12 oz.), so quiet you can talk to friends or family while clipping, and it doesn't blow back so much hair that you feel like you also need to be clipped once you?ve finished your horse.

Caring For Your Clippers:

  • Keep your clippers and trimmers cleaned and oiled. That's metal on metal vibrating back and forth, which creates friction, which creates heat. Oil is a necessity to reduce the harm from the friction
  • Clippers tend to be durable, but they aren?t indestructible. Store your clippers properly, away from dirt, dust and where they won?t get knocked onto the floor.

OUR TRIAL. To examine the Excel?s usefulness, we clipped two horses. One, an experienced nine-year-old mare, had been given a full hunter clip with the Andis Delta 3-Speed? ($375, www.andis.com, 800-558-9441), a top-quality clipper we tested in 2010, three months previously and needed to be clipped again before showing season.

We clipped her right side with the Andis Excel and her left side with the Premier 400C ($298, www.premier1supplies.com, 800-282-6631) another top-quality body clipper we tested in 2010, for comparison.

The other horse, a five-year-old gelding who?d never been clipped before, received a modified trace clip using the Andis Excel. We also used the Andis Excel to trim the fetlocks and coronet bands of several additional horses.

Although it took about five minutes longer to clip the mare?s right side using the Andis Excel?probably due to the slightly narrower T-84 blade that's less efficient at cutting hair at any angle than the Premier 400C and other body clippers?we noticed three noteworthy advantages of the Andis Excel.

First, the T-84 blade left no lines on the mare?s coat. It produced a professional-looking clip job.

Second, we could carry on a conversation while clipping with the Andis Excel. While the Premier 400C operates with a rhythmic, metallic, slightly numbing hum, it completely precludes verbal communication. When we clipped the gelding, we clipped a small section using the Andis Delta 3-Speed? again for comparison, and found it's also too loud for conversation. We found the Andis 3-Speed emits sound at a lower decibel but a higher pitch than the Premier 400C.

Third, when we started clipping the mare?s left side with the Premier 400C, we immediately noticed that the Andis Excel had not been blowing hair into our face and all over our clothes. After using the Premier 400C, we wanted to take a shower, the usual feeling after clipping a horse.

We also used the T-84 blade to clip both horses? faces, and it blended the cut hair nicely. We found, though, that the blade is too wide to easily use under their throats, on their ears, bridlepath or whiskers. We also found that the smaller blades available with the Andis Excel or any of the other trimmers work far better on trimming fetlocks, coronet bands or clipping the tops of tails. None of these other clippers offer the five speeds for comfort, though, plus Andis makes 10 additional trimming-size blades that can be used with the Excel.

HOW THEY DID IT.? After our trial, we talked to Bob Erler, the national sales manager, Animal Division, at Andis, to find out more about these hybrid clippers, which are also designed for dogs and cows. He said that the Excel doesn't blow hair in your face for a simple reason: ?We have no cooling fan in our clippers. Our design allows for a cool and quiet-running tool.?

The Delta clipper has three speed settings and tops out at 3,200 SPM. The Excel has five speed settings that range from 2,500 to 5,000 SPM. The Delta 3-Speed weighs about 7 lbs., close to average for a body clipper. The Excel 5-Speed weighs 12 oz.

?The trend is going to the smaller-type clippers, because they do the same job with a lot less stress on you when you're clipping,? said Erler. ?In addition, think about the noise factor . . . the Excel 5-Speed is whisper quiet, and that's something that will also reduce the stress.?

BOTTOM LINE.? The Andis Excel worked well in our trials, and we suspect most horse owners will find it a useful combination of small body size with both large and small blades. Purchasing the Andis Excel, instead of a body clipper and face trimmer, also represents a savings of $100 to $200, or more.