From Endurance to Dressage
I am going to be honest here. It sort of creeps me out that people have jewelry made from the manes and tails of horses who are no longer with us. My shield is up; take your best shot.
It wasn't until Montoya, my most beloved horse of all time, passed that I had even heard about cutting off the tail and keeping it as a memento. I am sorry, but no. Hell no. When the vet asked me if I wanted to cut off her tail, I was absolutely horrified. It felt like I would be maiming her to even consider such a thing.
After much insisting, I was finally persuaded to take a small piece of her forelock which I placed in a sparkly, gauzy bag along with her bridle tag. I never look at it, and in fact, I had to hunt around my office to even find it.
Cutting off one of my horse's tails after death will not be anything that I ever do. I am also opposed to burials. I have made my husband promise, and I mean PROMISE, that my body will be cremated. That's assuming that he outlives me.
I have zero connection to the remains of the deceased. And when it comes to the cremains of a loved one; scatter 'em, I say. And I mean no disrespect. For me, the corporeal shell is just that, a place to hold the essence of who we are. Once we no longer inhabit that being, it is a meaningless bag of bones and hair that should be allowed to return to the earth.
So imagine my ... disgust, creep factor, wariness when I opened my birthday card from my dad and stepmom. In it was a gift card to a company that makes jewelry from horse hair. My very first thought was a simple, no. My plan was to just let the gift card sit there unused and hopefully forgotten. But ...
I am also horribly opposed to waste. The gift card was sent with love and the hope that jewelry made from Speedy's or Izzy's hair would bring me joy. I decided to look at the web site and see what it was all about. SpiritHorse Designs is a small company that specializes in meeting the needs of each of its customers. From what I can tell, the company is a one-woman show.
At first, I decided I would just order a piece of jewelry using the horse hair they keep in stock. I didn't want to know where the hair came from, I just didn't want it to be from Montoya. And then I read something that really struck me.
Don't wait until you have to say goodbye to have a special horse hair bracelet or jewelry created.
Don't wait until you have to say goodbye ... I never thought of it like that. It didn't bother me at all to cut a hunk of Speedy's and Izzy's tails while they munched happily on their breakfast.
It didn't bother me one little bit to carefully shampoo each strand ...
As I happily shampoo'ed, I realized how horrible it would be to wash away the dirt and debris knowing your horse was gone. But mine aren't gone. They're right here with me.
As I scrubbed and rubbed, it was done with joy in my heart knowing that both of my boys were happily eating their dinners after having been ridden and loved on during the morning.
As I washed and rinsed, I actually felt excited about wearing a piece of jewelry made from their hair. They didn't mind giving it up, and now wearing a bracelet will make me smile every time I look down at it.
It takes two to four weeks for your jewelry to arrive, so I'll be sure to let you know how the bracelet turns out. I no longer feel creeped out by the thought of wearing a piece of jewelry made from my horses' hair. Instead, it feels me with joy.
As it turns out, the gift certificate was the perfect gift. I am filled with joy and gratitude at just the thought of seeing that bracelet.
Thank you, Dad and Judy! I am going to love it, I know.
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
*** SCEC 10/15-16/22
2022 Completed …
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
(*) Tehachapi 7/24/22
(***) Tehachapi 8/28/22
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 62.115%