Is your horse looking a little scruffy these days? Is his normal 5 o’clock shadow starting to resemble ZZ Top (young folk, feel free to click the link if you don’t get the ZZ Top reference)? Well before you get out those trimmers, you should know that the whiskers on a horse’s muzzle have a name, and they serve a purpose. The tactual hairs around a horse’s eyes and muzzle are called vibrissae. These long hairs help a horse detect objects close to their face.
If the hairs on your horse’s muzzle are excessively long, you can trim them, but leave serveral inches intact, or he’ll be bumping into things like a blind drunkard! You may have better luck using a small pair of scissors (not the big ones your grandma uses to cut fabric) because many horses are sensitive to the sound of the horse clippers and become distressed. Since they have a blind spot (covered in a previous FillyGirl post) right in front, they could become even more stressed.
As for that hair under their jaw creating that “unkempt” look, it’s actually o.k. to cut those hairs short. Doing so will prevent food from getting caught, and flies from laying eggs in there. Plus, after a clean “shave” you get to say, “Who’s a handsome boy?” “Who’s my handsome horse?” 🙂