A New York jewelry designer and private horse-rescue operator has joined forces with Old Friends to create a unique philanthropic opportunity for the horse-loving fashionista.
By twisting and braiding horse-hair plucked from the tails of famous retirees at the Kentucky farm, Jennifer Brock has intertwined a piece of those famous horses into wearable and affordable jewelry; lovely pieces sold at Old Friends to benefit the very horses who inspire the work.
“Everybody’s crazy about them!” says Old Friends office manager Sylvia Stiller. “When people come visit us for the first time they leave that day with a favorite horse. These bracelets” which incorporate a piece of their tail “are a nice way for people to feel close to their favorite horse.”
Although not too much hair is plucked! Stiller notes that the hairs are harvested judiciously, leaving plenty of tail hairs to get them through the winter.
Brock, who operates Brock Stables of Hancock, N.Y., training and rehabbing ex-racehorses, sells horse-hair jewelry through her website HorseFlyCreations.Weebly.com.
In this week’s Clubhouse Q&A, she discusses how the collaboration with Old Friends came about, and the most popular racehorses to inspire her jewelry.
Q: Please tell me about the crafting of bracelets you make for Old Friends Equine, and especially about the idea to incorporate a piece of a horse’s tail in your work?
We use a four-strand rope braid and glass beads or gemstones, and usually add a heart charm to our bracelets.
We started creating memorial bracelets for Old Friends when they lost beloved horses, and for ourselves, to honor our favorite equines in our own rescue.
The idea of incorporating a horse’s tail into our work arose from our desire to create an inexpensive wearable memorial for one of our first rescue horses, an OTTB named Hemi.
I create them by weaving the hair into a four-strand braid. In this manner, we are able to incorporate hair from up to four horses in one bracelet. We can either keep the color and strands separate, or blend them together to create a unique look.
We can also do a twist of colors to create a “candy cane or stripe” effect.
Due to the popularity of the bracelets, we’ve also added necklaces to our collection. These allow us to accent them with unique gemstone pendants.
Q: When did you start making bracelets for Old Friends, and how did the partnership come about?
We have been making bracelets for Old Friends for over a year, supplying the Gift Shop with bracelets from the hair of the horses residing at Old Friends.
I can only guess that it was fate that brought about this partnership.
It has been a very exciting and rewarding partnership that supports both Old Friends, and our private equine rescue.
Q: What is your background as an artist and equestrian?
I’ve always had horses; I can’t remember a time when I didn’t. When I was five we “traded” a Siberian Husky for a Shetland pony named Shorty, who was the first in a long list of beloved equines in my life.
I took a few jewelry classes in college, as part of the curriculum for Art Education. And this is where I developed my skill. Now, my 17-year-old daughter Courtney, who shares my love of horses, works with me to create the pieces.
Q: Who is the most popular racehorse in you collection? The one from which everyone wants a tail-hair?
From our collection, I think the most popular racehorses that everyone wants tail hair from are Awad and Ruhlmann.
I personally favor Bull In The Heather, and my daughter favors Wicked North.
The most popular Old Friends equine, however, is Little Silver Charm for bracelets. But then, he adds that pony cuteness to his marketing strategy.