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March 28, 2005

Clipping Your Donkey for Show - Part 1

Show season is fast approaching. If you are considering clipping your donkey for show for the first time, you probably have a lot of questions about what to buy and how to get the job done.

I know there are a lot of different ways to do it. I will share with you what I have found to work best for me.

First, it's important to have good quality equipment, and the right equipment. I purchased an Oster A-5 clipper a few years ago. I know there are nicer (and more expensive) clippers available, but this one has worked well for me, and it was reasonably priced. The model I have is a single-speed, but I believe they have an A-5 two-speed model as well.

The next question is, "What size blades do you buy?" Here are the different blades and clipper combs I have tried.

#40 Blade
This is the blade that came with my clippers. It is a surgical use blade with a 1/100" cut size. This is way too short to use by itself unless you are shaving your donkey for surgery. Of the blades I had tried, this is my favorite one for using with clipper combs. The cutting teeth are close enough together and the tips close and short enough that it easily cuts through the hair and I don't have trouble with the hair getting hung up and caught between the blade and the attached comb.



#10 Blade
This blade is an all-purpose blade with a 1/16" cut length. I have heard that a lot of experienced groomers and people who have done a lot of clipping before like to use this blade for a lot of their body clipping. I have not observed the techniques they use for clipping. I guess maybe they clip with the direction of the fur instead of against it.

For someone who has not done a lot of clipping, I have found this blade a little harder to use. I find that I can get a more even length if I clip against the direction of the hair, and this blade is too short to lay against the skin and clip without a clipper comb attached. The teeth are a little longer than the #40, and when I attach the clipper comb, hair tends to get stuck in between.

#3F Blade
This blade is a Full Tooth blade with a 1/2" cut length. This is by far my most favorite blade for show body clipping. It clips a little slower than the #40, but without a lot of work, it gives me a nice smooth show clip and still leaves enough hair that my donkeys don't look bald.



#5F Blade
This blade is also a Full Tooth blade, and has a 1/4" cut length. I use this blade if I am clipping my donkeys' ears to have pom-poms on the tips. I first tried it last year, and it worked very well for that.

3/4 inch Clipper Comb
This is a plastic clipper comb that easily snaps on to your blade to make the cut longer. If I am doing a rough body clip (just removing length, but not worried about a smooth show cut), I will use this 3/4" clipper comb with the #40 blade. It quickly and easily cuts the fur, leaving an approximately 3/4" long coat. I used this the first few years I clipped for show, but last year I tried the #3F blade by itself, and it gives me a smoother show finish. I still sometimes use this 3/4" comb for clipping their course manes short.




1/4 inch Clipper Comb
The first year, I also bought a 1/4" clipper comb to use with the #40 blade for show clipping faces and necks where the fur tends to be shorter than 3/4" already. This took off the length, but the clip was short enough and the comb teeth far enough apart that it left a lot of tracks in the fur.



Now that I have had a chance to try all these different combinations, here is what I prefer. If I am clipping for show, I clip the body, neck, head and legs with the #3F blade. I use the #40 blade with the 3/4" clipper comb (or just a pair of scissors) to clip the mane. If I want a pom-pom effect on the ear tips. I use the #5F blade to clip the rest of the outside of the ears. I do all of my clipping against the direction that the hair grows.

Now you can go shopping for clippers and blades! While you are shopping, you will also want to purchase a bottle of blade wash and a bottle of blade coolant spray.

Next time I'll share some of the steps I use to get my donkeys ready to clip.

Kristie Jorgensen

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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at March 28, 2005 06:01 AM