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Who Nose - Should You Trim Horse Whiskers For Shows
 By Soquili   •   16th Aug 2012   •   6,272 views   •   15 comments
Horse WhiskersA horse’s muzzle is soft, and velvet-like. Personally, it’s one of my favorite places to pet on my horses. But, what I’ve grown up on is that for competition, that velvety nose better be trimmed and clean. But I’d never been told what a horse had its whiskers for! Only that they need to be trimmed and clean for competitions if I wanted a blue ribbon! What about you?

Here’s a scenario:
A foreign rider was competing in a German Dressage competition, and they were disqualified. Why? Because their horse’s nose was trimmed. It is illegal in Germany to trim your horse’s whiskers. In any event. That is quite different from American Arabian Halter Horse shows, where the Handler trims all whiskers away, baby oils the muzzle and facial features, scoops out the ears, and some owners even put eye makeup onto their horses.

You may be asking yourself “Why would that be illegal? It’s your horse right?”

Well, it is illegal because I believe that the Germans have taken in the fact that the whiskers allow horses to know where they are putting their noses... After all, those “Why the long face..?” jokes are not fictional. Horses cannot see their nose because of their long faces and eyes positioned on the side of their heads, unless you are a Centaur.

When your horse is dipping his head into his water bucket for a nice, cool sip of water, his whiskers let him know when to stop and begin to drink. Otherwise, he’ll dunk his head down and get a nose full of water.

For this reason, I personally leave an inch of whisker for my horses, that way my horses knows where his muzzle is going without riding around with a beard.

So, what do you think? Is Germany right for making it illegal to trim a horses nose? Voice your opinions in the Comments!
Horse News More In This Category:  Care and Grooming      Horse News More From This Author:  Soquili
C H O S E N  
That's quite interesting O.o I learned something today!
  Aug 16, 2012  •  5,606 views
 
Foxchase Farm  
I always trim mine right before a show, then they grow back until the next show. It's funny that you posted this because I've always wondered why some horses dunk their whole face into the buckets of water. I thought they were just playing. Now I know the real story!
  Aug 17, 2012  •  5,275 views
 
Bright Horizon  
Personally I don't like to trim whiskers because of the reasons listed in this article, but I don't think it makes a huge difference for the horses usually.
  Aug 17, 2012  •  5,267 views
 
Double Spur Ranch  
I Personally think that it really shouldn't matter. Because a horse will learn when their noses are trimmed they won't just stick their whole nose in the water bucket. Their skin can feel too. My horse JJ always has his nose shaved and it's never made him stick his whole nose under water. It probably makes horses more cautious about where they are putting their noses so maybe that could be a good thing in the end? So that is my personal opinion and I really don't want to be attacked for my personal opinion, and that means by everyone.
  Aug 17, 2012  •  5,246 views
 
Madeirey  
I do trim my pony's nose whiskers and I knew the reasons for the whisker, and the ones above their eyes, but I believe that it isn't a big deal to trim the ones on the nose. The ones above the eyes though... Absolutely not! Horses need those very badly do they don't hit their eyes on something. Same thing with ear hair, they need them to keep out most bugs and if you trim them it looks TERRIBLE.
  Aug 17, 2012  •  5,268 views
 
ImaCoolCowgirl  
I had some idea that was what they are for but I never looked into it much. I never trim my horses unless they are going to a show. Chris looks like a bearded dragon right now but Buck is suposed to be shown this weekend so he is clean cut :P Sadly in the show world a lot of times its not about what is best for the horses, its all about winning people will do anything to win regardless of how it effects their horses.
  Aug 17, 2012  •  5,266 views
 
Starlight Farm  
Personally I say yes to clipping whiskers for shows - it looks so much cleaner and is expected in many areas still. If you're not showing, however, leave them alone. I only clip them the day before a show - otherwise, I don't touch them. They'll be an inch long about 2 weeks after the clipping, so it doesn't take them that long to grow back. I've also never seen a horse dunk its nose into water, unless it wants to splash it (they're careful creatures.... sometimes, anyway). So, for showing I say yes. Otherwise, no. Now clipping the ears is a different story...
  Aug 17, 2012  •  5,331 views
 
Topthorn Equestri  
I've also heard that whiskers tell a horse if a plant is poisonous or not.
I'm not sure if that's true, but never hurts to take the extra precaution.
  Aug 17, 2012  •  5,532 views
 
Empathy  
I Don't trim the eye whiskers. But otherwise, Destiny has never dunked her whole face in her water before, also, her bucket is automatic and refills after taking a sip, so it is far too small for her entire face. I do trim her muzzle and ears though. The ear plugs we use for her pervent bugs and she gets her ears checked every day. (She is groomed by staff) So I really don't worry about ear issues. I know the risk that is taken trimming her whiskers, but her nose is always clean, and she feels with her skin as well. It also doesn't take long for them to grow back, so I usually keep them at an inch. (unless going to a show which hasn't happened yet because she is too young)
  Aug 17, 2012  •  5,581 views
 
Gone forever BYE  
I knew what the whiskers are for
  Aug 17, 2012  •  5,225 views
 
Painted Destiny  
This is a wonderful article. My horse when I got him had never had his whiskers trimmed, so you can imagine how long they were. I always leave about an inch. I never trim above the eyes.
  Aug 18, 2012  •  5,281 views
 
Dark Star  
I will never show a horse with whiskers, beards, eye whiskers or ear hair. It absolutely drives me up the wall. The only reason I tolerate Archie having his head clipped badly (with scissors) is because he is impossible to clip on his face (His legs are clipped every spring). Dee is clipped before most outings, whether going to a show, or a barrel race. She is clipped. Because it annoys me. I want her to look like the champion halter horse she is, and she would not have that if she wasn't clipped, because that annoys judges too. (Say it doesn't and I will call your bluff, because I have been on a judging team, I have been in judging competitions showing, I train with a AQHA judge. I know what does and does not annoy most of them, clipping is something most judges take as part of the presentation score.)

Dee does dunk her whole head in water, but it's because she likes to play in it and get her handler all wet. It's quite funny. She dunks all the way to the bottom and then bobs her h
  Aug 19, 2012  •  5,257 views
 
Arialr  
Yeah. I leave about an inch to and inch and half of whiskers on my horse. There's a horse at my friends stable who had his whiskers trimmed on his eyes and poked his eye out on a fence. SO I don't trim my horses eye whisker things.
  Aug 19, 2012  •  5,505 views
 
Emmurr  
I think that's quite a good idea, I hate seeing horses with whiskers trimmed right down. It's like cutting off fingers! (Obviously it doesn't hurt) But it's like their fingers, their way of feeling around where they can't see. I don't think it's fair on the horse to have his whiskers trimmed, that's why we always leave ours natural, plus, we don't bother showing :P
  Aug 20, 2012  •  5,250 views
 
OklahomaBlessing  
wow I learn something new every day!
  Aug 28, 2012  •  5,229 views
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