30-year-old Melody Hames has been clipping horses for over two decades, and it shows. Today she is credited for turning horse clipping into an art form.
Hames started clipping horses when she was 9-years-old, and really got into it by clipping her pet Connermara pony who suffered from cushings disease, a condition that caused it to have a thick woolly coat that didn’t change in the warmer season. She did traditional clipping for a long time, but having always had a passion for the arts, and getting requests for custom artistic clipping from clients, Melody Hames started unleashing her creativity on the horses coats and soon became known as “The Horse Barber”.
Photo: The Horse Barber/Facebook
Through her unique approach and passion for the craft, Melody Hames changed equestrian clipping as we know it, turning it into an art form. She travels the world showing off her skills and teaching others the secrets of the trade. She has been featured in equestrian and art magazines all over the world and she’s also had several TV appearances.
Melody Hames set up her own horse clipping business, JMC Equestrian, in 2013, and has been inundated with requests for custom trimming ever since. She sometimes clips up to 5 horses a day, but she’s so passionate about it that she sometimes doesn’t even feel the hours pass.
“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,” Hames said.
The Horse Barber does most of her work freehand, spending between a couple of hours to ten hours on a single design depending on its complexity. She uses a variety of blades and clippers based on the horse breed and coat she is working on.
“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 artist told The Telegraph.
Melody Hames has been chastised for her creative clipping, with some of her critics even accusing her of animal cruelty, but she claims that most of these people don’t really understand what she does.
“I make it my mission build up horses,” Hames told iHeartHorses. “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!”
A post shared by The Horse Barber® Melody 🇬🇧🐴💈 (@thehorsebarber_melody) on Jan 24, 2018 at 9:33am PST
“Regular breaks are taken during the bigger clips and sometimes even split over several sessions,” the artist added. “For example, Armour De L’amore was spread over three separate days! 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.”
For more of The Horse Barber’s amazing masterpieces, check out her official site, as well as her Facebook page.