Melody Hames has been clipping horses for over twenty years, and she has now turned it into an art form.
The 30-year-old started clipping horses when she was 9-years-old. Her pet Connermara pony suffered from cushings disease which meant it would develop a thick woolly coat that didn’t change in the warmer season, so clipping this was necessary.
She done traditional clipping of people’s horses to begin but then started getting requests from clients to do more artistic clipping, and having always had a passion for the arts, soon unleashed her creativity on the horses coats.
She soon became known as The Horse Barber.
Since setting up her horse clipping business, JMC Equestrian, in 2013, she has received a consistent steam of requests for custom trimming, so busy that she clips up to 5 horses per day. But this is not a chore for Melody as she loves it so much that the hours fly by. She said:
“Horses are my natural passion and first choice when it comes to grooming and clipping. It just comes naturally. I’m addicted to working and hours pass by and before I know it, I have done 4 or 5 horses and it’s the end of the day”
Most of her work is done freehand, using a variety of blades and clippers, and a single design can take anywhere between 2 and 10 hours, depending on complexity.
The artist told The Telegraph:
“No stencils have been used to date or CGIs here – all hand crafted, it’s very much like a craft to me that only comes with experience and practice,”
The feedback received by Melody hasn’t all been positive, with some critics accusing her of animal cruelty, but she claims that most of these people don’t actually understand what she does.
“I make it my mission to build up horses. The horses I work with are calm, relaxed and made to feel completely at ease so standing around is no problem at all! After all, horses are built to stand up. I think a lot of people who say I am bad for clipping don’t consider this!”
She gives the horses regular breaks during the bigger jobs, and some clippings will last several sessions. She explained:
“You cannot force a horse to stand to complete a creative clip if it does not want to do so! I asses the horse’s behavior and work to each horse’s individual needs to provide them with a happy and positive experience every single time.”