Hair from Hartpury’s horses helps to restore houses with heritage!

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Equine

A local business is benefitting from the clipping skills of our equine students’ as the horsehair is used for a historical plastering technique.

The yard has been buzzing over the winter as students and staff have been busy clipping over 50 horses with all the excess hair bagged up and given to Stroud Lime Plastering Services to be utilised in an unusual lime plastering technique.

A dozen black bin liners of hair were collected, which goes a long way towards plastering as just 100 grams of hair can contribute to enough plaster to cover six square metres of wall space.

Adding horsehair to lime plaster is a traditional technique which has been used on buildings for hundreds of years. Typically this method is used on listed buildings to comply with regulations and to provide a look that is in-keeping with their heritage.

Combining hair with plaster helps to stop cracking during the drying stage as lime plaster shrinks when the water is drawn out. Horsehair acts as natural reinforcement as it gives the mix extra tensile strength to hold itself together and prevent splitting.

Stephen Cockings, of Stroud Lime Plastering Services, said: “Even to this day the flexibility and breathability of lime plaster is unrivalled by modern alternatives. Similar techniques are used in modern building with concrete and plastic fibres, but having used the plastic fibres with lime, I’ve learned through experimentation that the barbs on the horsehair grip much better than plastic fibres.

“The hair I have been receiving from Hartpury is some of the best I've used because it's even, clean and spreads very nicely into the plaster.”

The students utilised clippers and blades that have been provided for the equine yard by local manufacturer Listers. Students are able to use the clippers on their own horses or during practical teaching sessions.

The horses’ hair is clipped to stop them sweating excessively during exercise and enable them to dry off more quickly when wet – the Hartpury horses are now wrapped up in warm rugs to compensate for the hair loss!

Some of Hartpury’s University Centre students have even assisted Listers in producing educational guides and videos for their website. Equine Science and Management student Marine Delano and Equine Business Management student Jacques Bernard both put their best clipping skills forward to help out.

Listers are based in Gloucestershire and have been producing horse clippers and shearing equipment in the UK for over 100 years. They also kindly sponsored the Amateur A Tour class at the Hartpury Showjumping Spectacular.

More information on lime plastering can be found at stroudlime.co.uk, and Lister’s specialist horse clipping information at horse-clipping.co.uk.

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