Jillian, owner of Peatside Equi Custom Clipping, is always happy to do a traditional clip — but it’s when clients let her take a walk on the wild side that she really shines.
Jillian kindly took a few moments to talk with us about her craft and the inspiration behind her work, which you can see more of by visiting the Peatside Equi Custom Clipping Facebook page.
Where are you based, and do you travel to do clip jobs?
I am based in North Lanarkshire, Central Scotland, and I travel within an approximate 15-mile radius for single clips but do travel further afield for multiple clips on a single yard.
How long have you been clipping? When did you get the idea to start doing “creative” clips?
I was given my first set of clippers at the age of about 12. My poor poor pony, he was not pretty after those first few clips! I started getting creative when I was maybe about 16, trying out little things like hearts and stars, progressing onto names and slightly more difficult quarter designs. I came across some photos last year on some online clip competitions, which was when I did my first full body patterned clip, the zebra pony!
How long does it take you to clip a horse?
The longest clip I ever did was probably five hours — it was a child’s pony, the little girl drew a design on paper of hearts and swirls everywhere. However, the zebra print I’ve done quite a few times now and can complete in under an hour!
Are your designs freehand or do you use templates or stencils?
All my designs are freehand so that customers can have exactly what they want. I always get asked if I use templates/stencils and the answer is no!!! That would make things way too easy. I like a challenge, and my customers love to watch a one off design being created!!!
Have you grown to enjoy clipping, or does it drive you crazy (hair EVERYWHERE!) like it does the rest of us?
I love clipping! The hair does make me itchy, but I don’t care, I really enjoy my work which is what I think makes me good at it. I take my time to do the best job possible and I won’t stop until I’ve achieved the best finish possible.
Do you have any clipping tips or tricks?
Wash your horse thoroughly the day before clipping. A dirty horse can blunt a sharp set of blades in one go, it creates more wear and tear on the machine, makes them heat up faster, meaning you have to take more breaks to allow them to cool, which makes everything take longer, and leaves a not very nice finish on the clip. Also after clipping, get a bucket of hot water, as hot as you can bear, a dash of Hibiscrub or Dettol and a dash of baby oil, dampen a cloth with the mix and wipe over the horse thoroughly. This will remove any loose hair and grease, and leave the coat beautifully shiny and silky smooth!
What is your favorite clip job you’ve ever done?
I have quite a few favourite clips! The zebra was my first full creative, but it had been done before by (New Zealand body clipper) Greta Alexandra Oskolkov-Schneider so was not original. So… I think I will go for my leopard print pony. I’d never seen it done before and have never seen one since! Also up there with favourites are the Pegasus and dragon clips, because since doing them I’ve seen others do them too — it’s amazing to think that my work has inspired others to get creative!
Where do you find inspiration for your clips?
I am constantly thinking of new clips to do. I sometimes just draw a horse outline on paper and imagine what I could draw inside it that would look cool, though I always end up getting carried away and doing extra bits when I actually get to the horse! Sometimes my clips are not my own design — I will do anything a customer requests. I’ve done the one direction symbol, did a thistle today (Scottish flower) and have even done bagpipes!
You did a special clip recently to raise awareness of grass sickness — tell us about that.
The grass sickness clip was done for a Facebook friend who I knew from showing horses at our local venue. Rachel Mangto has had a tough year. She and her friend Natalie Young have lost three horses between them to Equine Grass Sickness, which is a devastating and more often than not fatal disease in the UK. They started a campaign called “Clip for a Cure” asking people to clip a triangle on their horse and donate £3 to the fund for research into the illness as nobody really knows why it strikes. The triangle represents the three types of grass sickness — acute, sub acute, and chronic — and their three horses Jasper, Storm and Spencer. I heard of the campaign via Facebook and contacted Rachel to have her other pony Dougal clipped by myself free of charge. I wanted to take the Clip for a Cure campaign to the next level, so instead of clipping a simple triangle, I did a checkerboard of triangles over his whole body, which the text to donate number on one side. Rachel insisted on paying for the clip, so I donated the whole fee to the fund. We have also entered the clip in a competition, the prize being £250 worth of Masterclip vouchers. If I win I intend to donate the prizes to Rachel to be raffled off to raise more money towards the £3000 target she has set.
Do you have horses of your own and if so, how do they feel about being “guinea pigs”?
I have two ponies of my own, my Welsh b gelding The Milkybar Kid who was a rescue pony, and a part bred Welsh c, Cody. I’ve also borrowed my partner’s driving gelding Rocky, who was the first Pegasus pony! Rocky and Cody love being clipped — they would stand all day, I think they enjoy the vibration of the machine! The Milkybar Kid wasn’t great to clip when I first started getting creative so I’ve had to take my time with him, often just doing part of a clip and returning to it the following day. Thankfully due to now having so many varying sizes of clippers for different bits, like head and between legs, he is much better and starting to enjoy his pampers.
Thank you for sharing, Jillian. For more information and to keep up with Jillian’s latest work, “Like” Peatside Equi Custom Clips on Facebook here.