British artist, Melody Cannon has a very interesting job – she gives horses free-hand artistic haircuts at JMC Equestrian Driving & Custom Clipping in Bury, Greater Manchester. For the past three years, she has been using her unique talent to clip their body hair into beautiful works of art.
At first, Melody started by carving simple patterns – like stars, hearts, and bees – into her clients’ shiny coats. But as the popularity of her designs grew, she started doing more elaborate, full-coat designs, all freehand, without the use of stencils. The unusual haircuts not only help the horses stand out of, but the frequent clipping is supposedly also good for them because it helps prevent the fur from matting. The JMC Facebook page features pictures of Melody’s latest creation, titled ‘Armour De L’amore’ (Armor of Love). They have attracted a few negative comments, along with concerns like “Won’t the clippings make it easier for the insects to bite the horses?” And “Sorry, but as skillful as it is, you shouldn’t do this to a horse!!!” Others thought it might be a computer generated picture, doubting if horses would stand still long enough to get such haircuts.
In response, Melody wrote: “There were many people getting irate over what is, essentially, simply a haircut. No animal is ever forced to stand or made to feel uncomfortable during the trims. In fact, they quite enjoy the whole experience.” She also explained that for Armor of Love, she got the horse to stand patiently in three different sittings before the final artwork was ready. “At JMC, all the clippers we use are regularly serviced and PAT tested to ensure that they meet modern safety standards,” she adds. “I offer a friendly, non-judgemental and approachable service for equestrians of all disciplines including ride and drive horses, hunt, competition, hack and show horses. I can cater to every breed and coat type and every request can be met.” And her work is not only about aesthetics – she’s also helped smooth out horses coats after medical shaving for ultrasounds, or just to get rid of excess weight in hair.