Back in the day, my show horse was one who barely kept a short coat longer than three months out of the year. That meant every fall for Quarter Horse Congress, I either had to show a fuzzball, or get him shaved. I paid for the service once and watched closely, then bought my own clippers and never looked back. Buddy was a fairly decent client (except that one time I thought surely he couldn’t stand on two feet, and it resulted in a black eye for me…), and Dad usually helped, but our well-turned-out clip jobs were boring by comparison to my interviewee’s.
My Uncle sent a link to an article recently that I’m seeing pop up more and more now. A young woman in the UK has taking body clipping to the next level and beyond. I reached out to her and had a fun chat about her art. Meet Mel, “the clipper woman.”
-You started at a young age, and do to the needs of your own horse, right? How did that inspire you to turn an ordinary clip job into a work of art?
Requests from friends and friends of friends and it grew from there!
-Do you still offer standard clips as well, or are all requests for your creativity?
Yes I still have a wide range of clients who strictly request traditional clipping, some people are quite conservative and I like to cater for these just as much as the creatives… it’s equally good to cover both aspects as I take my work seriously and I understand people have different drives and motivations in the equestrian industry.
-What has been your most popular design?
It’s split between The Castle Clip and The Armour De L’amore definitely! The Castle Clip and the Armour De L’amore have had the biggest responses so far. The Castle is important to me as it kick started the larger scale custom clipping and gave me something to really work at. It got me a lot of attention. This season my favorite has been the Armour De L’Amore clip as its on my personal horse Romeo and I have worked over time to build him up and now he stands un-haltered with compete trust while I work which has been a challenge as he’s was a very nervous character and still is but he trusts me and its a great feeling. I have a wide range of blades and clippers – I have blades and clippers to suit pretty much every situation, and ever breed as well as coat type. No stencils have been used to date or CGI’s here – all hand crafted. It’s very much like a craft to me that only comes with experience and practice.
-What has been the most memorable response to seeing one of your clip jobs?
Somebody responded to the Armour by saying she needed to see it on the day she did, she was very low and up against the world and seeing my work accompanied by the Game of thrones quote, (‘Never forget who you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength . Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it and it can never be used to hurt you’ – Tyrion Lannister ) made her feel like she could carry on during a really low point in her life. This stands out to me. And when people say i inspire them, its all i could ever wish for!
-Is there anything you know now about grooming/clipping that you wish you’d known when you first started? What advice do you have for someone who wants to try this at home?
To anybody wanting to try their hand at clipping My main advice would be to exercise patience, persistence and perseverance – don’t give up before you start – don’t be afraid to make mistakes, this is only way to perfect a craft and clipping is very much a craft learned only by experience. Get to know your area if interest and read about it too, learn about your equipment and most of all listen to the horse stood in front of you.
Great advice, Mel, and thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me-so I can share with my readers!
See more of her work here…https://www.facebook.com/JMCequestrian/