I see your clop-clop and raise you a clip-clip! Custom haircuts may not be one of the mare necessities but at The Horse Barber (formerly JMC Equestrian Driving & Custom Clipping), the results are shear beauty.
Beauty Behooves You
Melody Hames of The Horse Barber, located just north of Manchester, UK, has found a unique way to combine her artistic talents with the practical business of horse grooming.
Not every client springs for “the works” when signing on to Hames' services, mind you, but those who do leave with an exquisite living canvas beneath the saddle. “I offer a friendly, non-judgmental and approachable service for equestrians of all disciplines including ride and drive horses, hunt, competition, hack and show horses,” explains Hames. “I can cater to every breed and coat type, and every request can be met.”
Though artistic horse clipping isn't exactly unknown, Hames has definitely taken the practice to a higher level. She first began clipping and trimming horse coats into intricate artworks about three years ago. As she got the feel for the technique, her designs progressed from simple patterns to increasingly complex scenes.
Hames creates all of her designs without using stencils and unlike tattoos, these custom clipped coats are both non-invasive and impermanent: horses will “grow out” of them in a matter of months.
Safety is the watchword at The Horse Barber and the well-being of clients' horses is paramount. “At The Horse Barber,” states Hames, “all the clippers we use are regularly serviced and PAT tested to ensure that they meet modern safety standards.” In addition, clipping isn't even attempted until the subject horses are relaxed and comfortable.
To illustrate (pardon the pun), Hames gently encouraged one horse to patiently stand for three different sittings to ensure there would be no stress or anxiety while she worked the trimmer.
Shaven, Not Stirred
Naturally, some people have expressed criticism of artistic horse clipping as a matter of principle, inferring that horses are being “exploited” without their consent and in effect are reduced to mere canvases. Some even question the reality of Hames' elaborate equine artwork, claiming it must be computer-generated and/or photoshopped.
After noting such concerns being expressed in comments at the former JMC Facebook page, Hames felt obliged to respond. “There were many people getting irate over what is, essentially, simply a haircut;” wrote Hames. “No animal is ever forced to stand or (is) made to feel uncomfortable during the trims. In fact, they quite enjoy the whole experience.”
*** UPDATED on February 24th, 2019 ***