A skilled “horse barber” who has previously hit the headlines with her innovative clips has come up with a sweet new design for 2018 — hoping to raise money for cancer charity Macmillan.

This year Melody Hames has trimmed her eight-year-old Welsh section D Romeo with a gingerbread man theme, which she is linking in with a special fundraising coffee morning.

“Every year I do a creative feature clip — last year I did a Native American theme, the year before that it was a medieval one and before that it was a castle. This year, my close friend Robert Ainsley passed away from cancer on New Year’s Day, so cancer has had a huge impact on the direction of the design,” she explained.

“I usually come up with the theme in December but nothing felt right. Then when this happened, I decided I wanted to get behind Macmillan and give them some support. I spoke with them about ways to raise funds and they mentioned their coffee mornings. I didn’t want to do anything negative, so I started thinking about cupcakes and tea and then came up with the idea for a gingerbread horse.”

Melody, who travels extensively sharing her traditional and creative clipping skills, usually shares her designs on social media, and this is the first time she has tied a clip in with a fundraising event.

Her Gingerbread Horse Macmillan Coffee Morning is taking place at Lancashire competition centre Croft Top on Saturday, 10 March and includes a raffle with a range of horsey prizes.

“At the moment I am gathering prizes for it and the list is growing every day,” she said.

Donations so far include trailer hire from Barlow Trailers, rubber matting, a towing lesson, horse jewellery and a pony party gift voucher.

“People can buy tea and cake and also get the chance to see Romeo’s clip in person,” she said.

While Melody’s clips are inspired by some of the skills she learned during her degree in graphic design, her abilities were initially honed when she was nine years old and owned a Connemara who had to be clipped “all year round”.

“I started to clip my friends’ horses and friends of friends’ horses and then five years ago alongside my university degree I decided to set up as business and it’s gone from strength to strength,” she said.

Melody’s arty clips have caught the eye of media worldwide and after one of her designs was picked up in the US by CNN, she was approached by clipper manufacturer Andis to take her talents on tour.

Demand from her clients for quirkier clips is becoming more common, both at home and in America.

“It started off with a simple request for a star on horse’s behind a few years ago and a client put in on Facebook — everyone started asking for it,”she revealed. “Some love it and some hate it, and I am actually very traditional myself.

“These days though, demand it is growing from all walks of equestrianism and it’s more widely accepted. When I go out to America it’s catching on there.”

When last visiting the American midwest, Melody was asked to clip the Arabian Horse Society logo, as well as some creative stars with the help of some human barbers.

While logo designs can be at odds with affiliated rules, Melody has also successfully clipped a few unusual designs horses on the competitive circuit.

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“I did clip one dressage horse to promote the ‘not on my yard’ anti-bullying campaign last year, but the rider Katie Amos did ask for British Dressage’s permission first,” she said. “It was the first horse to have competed at that level with a creative clip and it was for a good cause.

“When people can see there is a good reason for it, sometimes you can get away with being a bit of a rule-breaker!”

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