With autumn leaves falling, most horse owners will soon be dusting off their clippers and preparing to give their woolly equines a much needed haircut.
For Melody Hames, she has combined her passion for art and horses and is now well known as The Horse Barber. Melody has created some spectacular clipped designs on horses which have been shared widely on the internet. Not only is she a very creative clipper, Melody also specialises in dealing with horses who are anxious about the process.
Sam Hobden from Haynet recently caught up with The Horse Barber to find out more about the personality behind this very creative equestrian business:
Your passion for horses is incredibly strong! Were you brought up in this environment as a child?
I didn’t come from an equestrian background, both my mother and father don’t ride. I started riding at the age of eight years old when one of the girls that lived on my street began taking lessons at the local riding school. She decided to stop, but I was hooked from day one!
What were your childhood ambitions? Was it to always work in the equestrian industry?
From an early age, I was incredibly interested in art as well as horses. I didn’t really know where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do! I would say my passion has always driven me in its own direction. I did temporarily begin dance lessons, however I quickly became quite bored and dropped them so that I could go riding more. The journey has had many changes along the way and never goes to plan, but I think that’s part of the beauty of it.
In recent years you have expanded your passion of clipping horses into a business. Tell us about The Horse Barber and what are you particularly proud of about your company.
The Horse Barber brand has very much evolved over time from my original startup of the business. I educated myself on barbering whether it’s on horsehair, human hair or dog hair. I developed my craft by lots of practice and experience and by keeping an open mind but ALWAYS following my gut instinct and feelings on everything.
I then coined The Horse Barber as my passion for my craft grew and grew. I am particularly proud of the service The Horse Barber provides because I get a great deal of satisfaction in working with horses that really need my help. For example, horses that have been frightened or had a bad experience, I really get a great deal of job satisfaction from seeing happy horses and happy owners. It is rewarding to see a clipped horse who has dealt with process, especially when the owners have often deemed the job impossible. I love sharing my education and helping horse owners to understand better what works for their horse.
What have been the triumphs and challenges of working in the equestrian industry?
Working in the equine industry is certainly not the easiest not only are we challenged by weather elements and working outdoors but also working in an industry that has a lot of preconceived ideas about how things should be done.
I pride myself in challenging concepts when it comes to clipping horses and assisting people into opening their mind to different approaches, different methods and also different styles. Education is very important to me as I strive to make a better future and constantly improve the industry when it comes to clipping horses.
Your skill in clipping horses is absolutely top class! When did you start clipping in an artistic form?
Thank you! In 2012 I was asked for my first design by a client. I remember thinking ‘I have never done this before what if it goes wrong?!’ But I’m very much of the attitude, say yes and worry about the ‘how’ later. Seize the opportunity and embrace the challenge that it brings. I think it’s very much my passion for art and design that has really contributed to the development of my craft. I am also quite tough on myself so always strive to be better than the day before.
What are your top tips for anyone that wants to try being more creative with clipping a horse?
My advice to anybody that wants to try and be more creative when it comes to clipping horses is, try not to worry about it going wrong. It has to go wrong before you get it right. Don’t rush, take your time. For anybody that seriously wants to pursue creative clipping , you can sign up to www.thehorsebarber.com newsletter where I will be publishing my online training facility very soon! And importantly, enjoy it! After all the horse knows your every thought and energy, so make it happy and positive.
Social media has been an incredible platform to showcase your work. Which social media network works best for your business?
Social media has changed the face of society, especially for us small business owners trying to make a name for ourselves. I have seen things change massively since I began my journey.
Facebook was predominantly the biggest platform, however as time has gone by one thing has changed and Instagram has grown massively! I think it’s about paying attention and being assertive whilst acknowledging that change is forever happening. So it is important to keep an open mind and move with the times. It is also so helpful to look at successful people and learn from others who thrive in what they do.
Having a website is essential for anybody that wants to make their business a serious contender. Even today some people think that websites aren’t relevant but every successful business needs their own website. I think its important to keep social media in perspective, and always have a back up plan (eg website). Lastly, in the equine industry word of mouth, recommendation and your reputation is more important than anything.
What are your future plans for The Horse Barber?
Next up for The Horse Barber, I will be conducting interactive talks in the Live Zone at Horse Of The Year Show in October. (Please come and say hello if you are attending!) I’m incredibly excited to have been invited to this event, after all, it is the biggest horse event at the annual calendar within the UK.
The recognition means a lot to me.. I have worked out in America doing demonstrations which I have thoroughly enjoyed but I must say, to be doing HOYS, on my home turf is something I am quite proud of.
On a day off, where would we find you?
In my spare time when I’m not working, I like to interact with my Welsh Section D whether it is in the field or out hacking. He’s my business partner, my best friend and we play tag in the field regularly. I have a lovely partner who is very supportive of the business and finally, I love shopping and finding a good bargain too!
Where do you hope to be in ten years’ time?
In ten years time I aim to have the most comprehensive equine clipping online training system through my website. This is for people to be able to continuously develop their grooming and horse clipping skills. This is going to be available worldwide. I very much enjoyed the demonstration side of things, so I am visualising travelling further afield with my demonstrations too!
Against the Clock
Pull A Mane or Scissor It: PULL !!
Bays, Grays or Chesnuts: Has to be Chestnut ( Romeo would kill me!)
Gin or Champagne: GIN and make it a Unicorn!
Sunshine or Snow: Snow – being from the North West of England it’s probably a good job we never get sun.
Home Counties or Far Away Shores: Both!! But I love the Northern Hills in England – it’s home.
Spend or Save: Spend! Usually on my next clipper blade to experiment with.
Home Cooked or Eating Out: Home cooked. I love cooking.
Music or Film: Film and please make it a soppy one.
Wellies or Heels: Heels – I love being a woman.
Please visit: http://www.thehorsebarber.com/
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