Monday, 15 August 2022

Hairdresser saves girl’s dream

A HAIR salon helped a teenager achieve her riding dream by attaching mane extensions to her pony.

A HAIR salon helped a teenager achieve her riding dream by attaching mane extensions to her pony.

Amy Allen, from South Stoke, feared she would have to pull out of the Horse of the Year Show when her father David accidentally shaved a large chunk from Sugar’s mane.

But the 13-year-old was able to compete after Kimberley’s Hair Studio in Woodcote saved the day.

Amy’s mother Sue, a regular visitor to the salon in Wood Green, asked owner Kimberley Russell if she could restore the pony’s mane with artificial extensions.

Although Mrs Russell had not worked with animals, she agreed to have a go.

Mrs Allen, whose daughter attends Langtree School in Woodcote, bought the extensions from an equestrian supplier.

Her husband drove Sugar to the salon in a horse box and Mrs Russell carried out the procedure in the car park behind her premises.

She stood on a stool while using a heated wax gun of the same type she uses on her customers. She was helped by staff Chloe Stark and Lois Bowles. The process took about 20 minutes.

Two days later Amy and Sugar, a 128cm pony who competes as Pennyroyal Little Brown Sugar, took part in the event at the Birmingham NEC. Each finalist performed a two-minute routine for a panel of judges who then inspected their animals.

Sugar’s hair was specially plaited for the occasion and the pair, who were the only amateur entrants, were placed 10th.

It was the third year running they had taken part in the show and the last time Amy could compete in her age group. In previous years they came sixth and seventh.

Immediately after the show Mrs Allen removed the extensions with a dressmaker’s seam ripper. She said: “David was mortified when it happened. He was trimming Sugar’s mane with clippers and she suddenly moved.

“I was desperate for Amy to compete and suddenly realised hair extensions might be the answer.

“Kim and her team have always been flexible so I asked her to help and was so relieved and grateful when she agreed. At first she thought I was joking. I had to assure her that I was being totally serious!

“She really saved our lives — we’re not just over the moon that she did it, but that she did it so willingly.”

Mrs Russell, who opened her business six years ago, said: “Sue came to us in a real panic. The missing chunk was very noticeable and Sugar couldn’t have competed.

“I said yes straight away as I’ve done human hair extensions and assumed it would be similar, which luckily it was. Horse hair is a bit coarser but the principle is the same.

“Sugar was a bit uneasy but she was very well-behaved. I imagine a few passers-by must have stopped and stared but we were focused on getting it done.

“I was really happy to do it because Amy had worked so hard to get into the competition. She deserved the chance to go for it and we’re all very proud of her. I only charged for the wax — it was worth doing just for the experience.”

Amy has been riding since she was five and has two other horses, a riding pony called Brookwater Candyfloss and a long rein pony called Little Sam.

She was encouraged to take it up by her mother, a keen rider who owns a horse called Ginge. Mrs Allen said: “Amy was desperate to compete one more time — it’s every child’s dream and one of the biggest events in the horse world.

“We had travelled all over the country to get her to that point and the idea of missing out was just too much. She was so thrilled that she could still take part.”

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