This groomer turns horses' coats into elaborate works of art

By admin
10 April 2016

Her creations are so intricate some people have been fooled into thinking the patterns are actually tattooed onto her equine canvases.

You always feel better after you’ve had a good haircut.

In fact, Melody Cannon’s ‘clients’ love it so much, they’re likely to whinny with pure joy and go for a gallop when she’s finished working on them.

A photo posted by JMC Equestrian (@melody_jmc_may) on

The British groomer, who owns professional horse grooming service in North West England JMC Equestrian Custom Clipping, has made a name for herself for painstakingly hand clipping exquisite designs into horses.

What started as just a bit of fun for Melody – a little heart here, a star there – snowballed into a full-on specialist service where the horses’s entire coats are transformed into beautiful artworks.

As is the case in any salon worth its salt, you can choose from a number of styles for your horse, including the bib cut (the chest area), the hunter cut (which looks like a small saddle) and the full-body cut (excluding the legs).

Prices range from R210 to R315, which isn’t a lot for a haircut that’s nothing short of an artwork – even if it’s only temporary.

It takes time to transform a currycombed horse into a moving artwork. Romeo’s styling (above) took hours over a period of three nights.

Some people criticise Melody for doing this to horses and even say it’s cruel. But she says the horses are kept calm between sessions until the styling has been completed.

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Many people have asked how she gets the horses to stand still for so long, convinced that she sedates them. “I pride myself on working with horses without sedation,” she says.

“It’s really not difficult when you have built up trust and a bond. You also need a deep understanding of the equipment required and the different breeds and their coat types.”

Other people have voiced concern that cutting the horses’ hair exposes them to cold. “Most horses are body clipped during the cold months because they will still be exercised heavily just like in summer months.

The hair is clipped to prevent excessive sweating and dampness in the coat during and after work. Horses get chilled when their coats are wet or damp, even with blankets. But horses are body clipped only if they live inside and are worked inside 24/7 with very limited turnout outdoors,” horse expert Jennie Louise wrote on Horse Illustrated’s Facebook page.

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How does Melody go about turning a clipping into an artwork?

“All my work is free hand; I sketch shapes on paper in the days leading up to clip day and take them in with me and see how I can fit them in. Sometimes they have to adapt to suit the horse,” she says.

How do the horses feel about the procedure?

“?It wasn't much fun for Romeo, it was GREAT fun for him. He absolutely adores the attention and can't get enough of it.”

She calls the artwork she did on Romeo, Armour De L’Amore (Armour Of Love).

“Sometimes he turns his head and grooms me back because he likes how it feels. This is what the majority of horses are happy and content do.”


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