UAE pride makes its equestrian mark with hair clipping art
New horse hair clipping technique, featuring the country's top personalities and brands, causing a sensation
As a symbol of power, grace and strength, the horse and related equestrian pursuits have come to define the UAE quite unlike any other interest. The annual Dubai World Cup offers the victor untold riches and acclaim. Endurance races around the world consistently crown locally-based winners. From Melbourne to Ascot, a runner hailing from the Emirates is destined to attract attention and more-often-than-not take home the cup. The staggering consideration these creatures constantly command reveals a deep-seated devotion.
Now, with the help of Al Madam Stables' Sandrella Edina, the country's iconic animals can also reflect their owners' pride in the nation through a horse hair clipping art technique perfected by the Hungarian native. Images of the UAE's rulers, self-portraits, class-leading local corporate logos or merely attractive patterns can be shaved in the stallion or mare's coat, their skin underneath providing the dark lines to create the image. The full-time hippotherapist and trainer based at the Sharjah establishment has spent years honing her non-invasive 'like getting a haircut' craft, though only recently began to show off the results on social media leading to an understandable clamour for Edina's designs.
The phenomenon did not go unnoticed by the Co-Chairman of Galadari Brothers, Suhail Galadari, who commissioned artworks including this newspaper's emblem, which was clipped into Rock Star, a white-coloured former endurance racer. The Khaleej Times insignia took just 20 minutes to complete and will be visible until 'Rocky's' patches grow back in around three months.
"I studied graphic design for two years," explained Edina when asked how she decided to embark on this venture. "I first did a star in Rock Star two years ago and started practicing other designs. My friends saw and they asked me to do their horses.
"My family has supported me and my brother has even brought special clippers from America for me."
Edina grew up on a farm at home and moved to the UAE six years ago specifically to work in the equine industry. Her six months at Al Madam have seen the expert establish a successful hippotherapy clinic, which helps those with special needs overcome challenges using horses as part of their therapeutic and rehabilitative treatment. The visitors to the stable were the first to comment on Edina's creative pastime.
"They came and took pictures. At first, they thought they were drawings. They didn't believe they were clippings.
A tech-savvy friend, Sarah, took note of the appetite for photos of Edina's decorated horses and decided to compile videos and images on Instagram: @c.sandrella. This led to increased orders.
"Almost every day people are asking. A lot of people want the UAE rulers on their horse. They are the most popular followed by their own stables' logos or horses' names when they go for endurance."
For an intricate job such as a customer's profile picture, Edina requires two days. To start, she draws the subject and makes sure the client is happy and then begins clipping. The longest a clipping session has ever taken though, the Ras Al Khaimah Emirate logo - is only around 75-minutes.
"I have to be fast because after 45-minutes the horse may begin to sweat and it becomes very difficult."
Edina's work has become so sought after, she now receives requests for her talents when on her yearly trip back to Europe.
"I was afraid when I did my first profile picture. What if they didn't like how I drew them?! But I practiced and now I want to try as many designs on as many horses as possible."