Looking to take up a new hobby this winter? Why not give horsehair braiding a try!
Now that the holidays are over, we horse lovers (at least those of us in the Northern Hemisphere) may be tempted by winter naps and then, upon awakening, develop serious cases of cabin fever. How can we resist both scenarios and keep active until spring? Perhaps by taking up a new hobby like horsehair braiding!
In the olden days, socials such as quilting bees and barn buildings helped people maintain their motivation. I propose that we start a new tradition – horsehair braiding parties! Because the tools for the craft are minimal and inexpensive, braiding can be done almost anywhere. So, let’s invite a few interested relatives and friends into our warm homes to braid bracelets from our horses’ hair. Working on this project together will be easier and more fun.
In my opinion, throwing a horsehair braiding party is a great idea for several reasons:
1. It keeps our horses well-groomed!
To prepare, we’ll have to comb out our horses’ tails, not always the easiest of tasks. Completion of this chore will not only improve our horses’ appearance, but it will also make snipping off and shampooing the hair we need for our first meeting easier. Tip: snip some hair from the backside of the tail under the dock where the cuts won’t show.
2. We’ll keep up our social skills.
While working on our bracelets, we’ll share stories about our amazing horses and why we love them. And, of course, we’ll pause often for tasty refreshments.
3. We will express our creativity.
For example, if someone with a Pinto brings both black and white tail (separately rubber-banded), he or she can choose to blend the colors together into an all-gray bracelet or keep the colors separate to form a pattern.
4. Our bodies (at least parts of them) will get exercised.
Our brains, challenged to learn new things, will create new synapses (connections) and nerve cells. And our existing nerve connections will strengthen – maybe staving off early dementia? Our fingers will do all kinds of fine motor manipulations – perhaps delaying the onset of arthritis. Our hand-eye coordination, as well as our patience and determination, will also be tested.
5. It deepens our connection to our equine companions.
Not only is completing a horsehair bracelet a satisfying accomplishment, it also expresses our gratitude for our horse to anyone who sees us literally wearing our love on our sleeve. And we’ll be continuously connected to our horses – even when we’re not on or with them.
If you’re like I was – in need of instruction on how to braid horsehair (it’s not the same as braiding human hair) – may I recommend a comprehensive, color-illustrated guide? It’s the book that I wish had been out when I discovered horsehair jewelry and vowed to make a bracelet from the hair of my wonderful trail horse. I wrote Braiding Horsehair Bracelets, Your Beginner’s Guide to help horse lovers like you learn more easily!