Have You Ordered?

I just sent out four custom pieces, and a few of them were Christmas gifts.

Have you ordered your horse hair jewelry for Christmas or Hanukkah gifts?

Remember, only a few more days to get your horse hair to me to make custom jewelry for that horse lover in your life or even you (you deserve it, right?).

Sneak out to the field and snip a bunch of hair from the underside of the tail as big around as your pinkie, put a rubberband on it and mail it to me at:

Susan Newquist
Red-Tail Designs, LLC
813 Porter St.
Easton, PA 18042

Get it to me by December 1, and I’ll send back a unique holiday gift in time for Christmas.

Keep in mind that all pieces ordered after Nov. 24 will incur a $20 per item rush fee.

Can’t sneak out to the field in the time? Give a gift certificate for any denomination!

Holiday Custom Orders

Did you see that word up there in the title?


Really? Already?

Personally I think all the holiday hoopla shouldn’t start until after Halloween. On Nov. 1 you can break out the Christmas carols and stores can heap upon us trees and sparkly ornaments and the like. But until Nov. 1, it’s still fall and pumpkins and trick or treat.

On the other hand, I think about holiday gift giving year-round. I’m always shopping for the perfect gift.

The perfect gift for the horse lover in your life is a custom horse hair bracelet! You send me the horse hair, I wash it and braid it, adding beads and sterling silver, even gold if you like. A piece of your favorite horse with you all the time.

Check the horse hair tab above to check out the different jewelry styles. If you’re not able to sneak into the field and clip a bit of horse tail, I offer gift certificates for purchase in any denomination. You can also order custom jewelry without sending me horse hair and I will use the tails I have in stock. Choose from white, black, brown or any combination of the three.

Creating this jewelry by hand takes time, so keep in mind these deadlines as you contemplate which horse hair jewelry piece to buy for a friend or put on your wish list.

  • Horse hair must be in my hands for the order to be placed. Send your horse hair to me as soon as possible.
  • I prefer to have horse hair before November 24 for custom pieces.
  • Any horse hair arriving after November 24 will incur a $20 per piece rush fee for Christmas delivery.
  • All horse hair must be to me by December 1 to be made into jewelry for Christmas delivery.
  • Gift certificates are available any time and do not expire.

Please fill out the custom horse hair jewelry order form and mail it along with your check or money order to:

Susan Newquist

Red-Tail Designs, LLC
813 Porter St.
Easton, PA 18042

If you choose to pay with PayPal, I will invoice you when I receive your order.

Happy Halloween/Happy Thanksgiving/Merry Christmas!

Tassel Mania

30 horse lovers + beads + cones = lots of horse hair tassels.

Tuesday night I introduced the Timbertalk Trotters to the art of horse hair tassels. This Montgomery County 4-H horse club has members from 8 to 19 years old and all of them had a blast making tassles. Even the moms joined in.

Some people brought their own horse hair and a few donated mane hair, which makes soft, fluffy tassels. I set them loose on a box of beads and the kids turned ordinary tassels into one-of-a-kind pieces of personal art.

Three of the members of this 4-H group are proud owners of Red-Tail Designs Horse Hair Jewelry. One just received her horse hair bracelet with name plate in June as a high school graduation gift from her mom.

My budding horse lover came along to help me teach and to get a glimpse of 4-H. She begged me the whole way home to join. I see 4-H meetings in my future.

If your 4-H club, Girl Scout troop, Boy Scout troop or other group would like to learn horse hair tassel making, contact me.

Even the moms were in on the action of making tassels.

Avoiding Taxes

The ’09 tax deadline isn’t that far off and I really don’t want to get my tax stuff together. Usually I’m on top of it, but this year I’m not feeling the love. Instead I’ve found a variety of activities to help me avoid working on taxes:

  1. Clean living room
  2. Shop for mother-in-law’s birthday gift
  3. Paint porch
  4. Play Candyland…twice.
  5. Go out to dinner with a friend
  6. Take cats to the vet
  7. Schedule oil change and dog’s vet appointment
  8. Make trail mix
  9. Assemble Ikea shelf
  10. Make a horse hair bracelet
  11. Sort and shelve fabric by color
  12. Rearrange medicine cabinet
  13. Make a beach bag (summer is coming, you know!)
  14. Make August vacation plans
  15. Plan a birthday party
  16. Reschedule oil change
  17. Write this blog post.

Okay, I guess I need to finish my taxes now. Unless you have a better suggestion.

Horse Riding Lesson


Meeting Tootsie.

Head up. Chin parallel to the ground. Chest open. Hands in a triangle. Knees and thighs pressed in. Heels down. Toes pointed up. Look where you’re going not where you are.

Do all that at the same time…oh, and make that horse go forward.


Yesterday we braved the rain for horse riding lessons at Windmill Farm. In an indoor ring, thankfully. This is our first foray into a mother-daughter, quality-time activity that is chasing my daughter’s dream of being an equestrian. She’s 6 so dreams loom large and oh-so-graspable without consequence of time or cost. She was beaming when she got off Tootsie at the end of the lessons. My legs hurt when I got off K.C., but I had a great time.

Despite the amount of time horses have been in my life, I’m really not a very good rider. My teen years spent taking care of horses didn’t actually include riding. So on the ground, I’m an ace at reading ears and eyes and keeping control. Once I’m up on top, well… let’s just say it’s a long way to the ground.

My limited riding included lots of western pleasure rides and a week at Girl Scout horse camp learning to ride English. Two memories stand out from camp: 1) a horse got colic (didn’t know what that was but the instructor with the accent looked very frantic) 2)  my horse jumped 3 feet to the right when another horse he didn’t like got too close. Being scared out of your mind kinda puts a crimp in your pole-bending.

Those first few instructions on form yesterday were more than I ever remember learning before. Maybe it’s because I’m older and can pay attention .

For a few moments I could do all those things and lead K.C. where I wanted him to go. I am an equestrian! And then my mind would wander….

The riding lesson reminded me a lot of my first few yoga classes. It seemed near impossible to control all those physical aspects at once, while maintaining focus on what I needed to do next. I’m sure with time it will become natural.

Right now my daughter and I are committed to 3 lessons. We’ll see if she’s still determined to be a collegiate equestrian after a few weeks. If she is, well, my updates may become pleas for you to support my business so I can afford her horse lessons.

Barn Party

Sue made a gorgreous double strand, adjustable horse hair bracelet.

Hi ho Silver. Large silver beads set off this adjustable, two strand bracelet.

My first ever Barn Beadin’ Party early this week yielded a lot of laughs and even a few Christmas gifts for equestrians in the Lehigh Valley. I met up with the horse folk from Durham Creek Farm at My Father’s Beads, where I taught them how to turn their horses’ tails into jewelry. We had a blast.

These horse hair tassels are pretty enough to put on a Christmas Tree.

These horse hair tassels are pretty enough to put on a Christmas Tree.

Some took to the bracelet-making and aced the four-strand braid. Others found their groove making tassles with their horses’ tails. I love these classes at My Father’s Beads. Imaginations run wild in the bead store, and everyone comes up with a completely different project utilizing the same basic ingredients.

Trish, a beader and equestrian, whipped up this bracelet in no time.

Trish, a beader and equestrian, whipped up this bracelet in no time.

If your barn in interested in having a barn party at your barn or at a local bead store, contact me and we’ll set something up.

Christmas Is A-comin’

Christmas is a-comin’ and you have just 5 more days to get horse hair to me for custom pieces. December 10 is the last day I will accept horse hair to be transformed into jewelry and delivered in time for Christmas. At this point a $20 rush fee is added to all orders.

In other financial news, I’ll be raising my prices in January. Sad but true. I haven’t raised my prices in quite a long time, but the price of gold and silver have skyrocketed in the last year. To keep up with the times, I need to raise my prices. So get those orders in before the end of the year to take advantage of this year’s prices.

We cut down our Christmas tree today in the wet, blinding snow. It was definitely the snowiest tree-gettin’ we’ve ever had. Makes it all the more festive. As per tradition, we headed over to Pearly Baker’s for some Boulder Style French Onion Soup afterward. Warms you up fast! The Kahlua in my hot chocolate warmed me up even faster!

I hope you all have a joyous holiday season, no matter what you celebrate.

Horse Hair Jewely Class

A pair of horse hair earrings made by a participant in last week's Horse Hair Jewelry Class at My Father's Beads.

A pair of horse hair earrings made by a participant in last week's Horse Hair Jewelry Class at My Father's Beads. See what she's been up to since the class at www.whosgotyourgoat.blogspot.com

If you missed the Horse Hair Jewelry Class last Sunday, you have another chance!

Swine flu claimed some of class, so I rescheduled another class for Thursday, November 19 from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. The class  will be at My Father’s Beads in Coopersburg, PA. You can register online or call the store at 610-282-6939. Time to make start making  gifts for Christmas!

Horse Tail Rope Halter

Braided horse hair tied into a rope halter with fiador knot and lead rope.

Braided horse hair tied into a rope halter with fiador knot and lead rope.

Setting the knots was the tough part.

Setting the knots was the tough part.

So it really wasn’t a mummy.

The white horse was a model for my latest venture into custom pieces I never dreamed of: a replica rope halter made from horse hair.

Really, folks, I’m as impressed with rope halter as I am with the horse head.

But this tale has a sad beginning. The rope halter is made from the tail of a horse named Matador. He died recently of colic. He was a beauty. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I shed a few tears when I got his tail in the mail. A small reminder of my loss of Saint in April (horse…dog, it’s a loss no matter how small or tall the friend).

A fiador is a round knot under the chin, which makes a loop where the trainer can clip on the lead rope.

A fiador is a round knot under the chin, which makes a loop where the trainer can clip on the lead rope.

Learning how to tie a rope halter with fiador was the first task. Not as hard as I suspected. Next, I had to shrink all the measurements to make it a smaller size. Again, not as hard as I suspected.

Then it was making the rope from Matador’s tail: all 7 feet of rope. Matador had an impressively long tail, but I still had to make 16 pulls to weave them all into a 4 strand braid.

Seven feet of braided horse hair.

Seven feet of braided horse hair.

Now came the hard part: tying the rope halter with the horse hair. Horse hair is flexible, but stiff. It will take the shape of anything, but sometimes it has to be forced into that position and held there for quite a while.

All of the knots wanted to come undone when I tied them, so I had to set them by weighting the halter. With the fiador tied, I hung it from a lamp with a horse bit (how appropriate) and a candle in a cup that looks like a cappuccino (thank you Secret Santa ’07) . No rhyme or reason here, just heavy stuff that was available.

A few days of hanging set the fiador knot and I tied the rest of the halter. While that was hanging to set the knots, I moved onto the horse head.

If you look closely, you can see the horse's eye.

If you look closely, you can see the horse's eye.

The rope halter looked like a jumble of knots without something to give it shape, so I conceived making the horse head out of what was, again, handy…newsprint, freezer tape and glue. The muse of the horse head guided my hand through a box of glue to Elmer’s wood glue. It gave the paper a hard exterior almost like paper mache. Elmer’s regular glue made it a bit soggy.

So now the horse head and halter are headed across the country to California. In a few days a man will be opening a box and remembering his faithful companion.