CUT OFF: Shelley Henry's horse Frequency Oak will have his man trimmed off for a good cause. Shelley has been coping cheek from campdrafters about his long hair, so she is cutting it off for the charity Beyond Blue.
CUT OFF: Shelley Henry's horse Frequency Oak will have his man trimmed off for a good cause. Shelley has been coping cheek from campdrafters about his long hair, so she is cutting it off for the charity Beyond Blue. Contributed

Owner to shave horse's mane for charity

INSTEAD of hearing cheers of support from the crowd when she was campdrafting, Shelley Henry was copping cheek from the sideline about her horse's appearance.

Well, not so much his appearance as just his hair style.

Her bay gelding Frequency Oak has a long mane, which bucks the trend at campdrafts as the majority of competitors keep their horses' hair clipped short.

"When I was at Winton draft they were paying me out. I was going around the first peg and they were saying his mane was going to fly up into my eyes and that I wouldn't be able to see," she laughed.

Shelley, who has worked for 14 years in the male-dominated mining industry, clearly wasn't too bothered by a few people making fun of her horse. But, as there was so much pressure on her from other campdrafters to cut Freaky's mane, she decided to use all of that attention for a good cause.

"At every campdraft people would hit me up about shaving it off," she said.

"I always said if I was going to cut it off, I would need a good reason to do so."

Shelley's good friend Zoe Searle soon found that reason: fundraising for the charity Beyond Blue.

An Every Day Hero page has now been launched and Shelley is aiming to raise $5000 for the charity before she makes the big chop.

"It will be sad for me to cut it, he really does have such a gorgeous mane," she said.

"He has never had it cut."

While it seems like a novelty or gimmick to shave a horse's hair for charity, Shelley has a lot of passion behind her decision to support Beyond Blue.

At the moment she is working as the caretaker on Caiwarra Brahman Stud, which is situated 40km outside of Julia Creek in central Queensland.

She has witnessed the impacts drought has had on her community.

"I think there are real flow-on effects from the drought," she said.

"People can't sell their cattle because the cattle are too poor, and they might not be able to afford to buy feed for them.

"When they don't have money coming in they stop spending in town. So it's all the little businesses that are suffering as well.

"As you would know, cattlemen are sometimes too proud to accept help.

"Beyond Blue just gives people someone to talk to."

Shelley is also planning to contacting business owners to see if they will support her fundraiser.



Shelley Henry is going to shave her horse's lovely mane for charity. She has take him to a few drafts this year. This photo was taken at the Winton Campdraft.
Shelley Henry competed well at the Winton Campdraft on her long-haired horse. Tammy Cross

While Frequency Oak has only been around for a little more than a decade, he has certainly made an impact in the horse world.

Freaky was bred after Shelley was gifted a stallion service from Jaye Hall, who is one of the owners of Caiwarra Brahman Stud.

At the time Shelley was working 13-hour shifts on a three-weeks-on, one-week off roster in the mining industry so she didn't have time to work him properly.

He was broken in by Colin Brown in Charters Towers, then loaned to his daughter Katie who used Freaky for roping and barrel racing.

Freaky was successful in the rodeo arena, helping Katie win a rookie horse title for roping. He has also been used for showjumping.

Shelley describes returning to working on the land after a long stint in the mines as "refreshing" and now has more time to ride.

"I only started drafting again recently," she said.

"He only did two drafts last year and I won the Saxby Round-Up encouragement draft. It was very exciting for me as I don't get to draft too much."

Fast facts

Visit frequency-oak-s-shave-for-beyond-blue-rural/posts/622096 to support Frequency Oak's shave for Beyond Blue.

Campdraft horses generally have hogged manes. In theory the clipped hair means the path of the reins will not be hindered when the horse is galloping.

The short hair also shows off the full confirmation of the horse's neck.

Rodeo, western and cutting horses often have long manes.