Pony Girl or Boy

Published: 15th September 2010
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If you’ve got a knack for hairdressing, try your hand at prettying up the manes and tails of ponies and horses with braiding, banding, and other ornamental embellishments. Don’t let the name scare you off, as pony girls or boys can be mature horse lovers as well as younger ones. The main requirements are manual dexterity and a desire to ensure that an animal’s crowning glory is truly glorious.

For ponies and horses that serve recreational purposes, hair treatments can add beauty or whimsy, accentuating a well-proportioned body or adding interest with multi-colored ribbons. If a horse’s neck is shorter than it should be, a little corrective hairstyling can make it appear longer, thanks to a braiding technique that creates the illusion of length. In the competitive sports arena, these same equine hair-do tricks can give animals an edge over the other contenders. Braids (also called plaits or plats) can keep a racehorse’s unruly mane from obscuring its vision, and they can enhance the less-than-perfect conformation of a show horse during an event.

To perform these coifing tricks professionally, you’ll need to learn not only the hair techniques but also the rules governing the appearance of animals for each specific activity. There are clearly defined parameters that must be followed, depending upon the breed and discipline, so there’s an emphasis on correctness as well as creativity. To learn the different methods of hair arrangement, attend classes or clinics and practice as much as you can. The Internet is a good source for instructional information, but even the best braiding tips won’t mean much without hands-on experience. If you don’t have steady access to a horse, practice on a long wig to keep your fingers nimble, but remember that stationary wigs are much easier to handle than restless horses.

This job can be done on a full-time or part-time basis, depending on your situation and the availability of potential clients. Dressing the manes of several horses before a weekend event can provide a nice supplemental income, but you’ll probably have to start out small, building a reputation and a following—just as those who dress people’s hair must do. You could also consider work as an employee of a company that provides pony girls and boys to clients, as these facilities may have on-the-job training opportunities.

Close daily contact with horses
Option of self-employment or staff employment

Mandatory familiarity with rules governing specific breeds and disciplines
Work may be seasonal or sporadic

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