Horse hair jewellery makes an unusual and beautiful gift or keepsake. Necklaces, pendants, bracelets, earrings, key fobs and charms can all be made from your horse's tail hair, with a little patience and practice. Once you become more skilled in the process you can use hair from different coloured horses to create intricate patterned braids which can look truly stunning. You can buy special kits which contain everything (except the horse hair) that you will need or you can source the components required individually from a good craft shop.
First of all you will need to collect long tail hairs from your horse. You will need a bundle of hair about 1/4 inch in diameter. These can either be collected over time as they shed naturally during grooming or you can remove them as required, taking hair from the bottom of the horse's tail bone.
Gather the hair together and secure it with an elastic plaiting band. Wash the bundle of hair carefully with shampoo until it is completely clean and free of scurf and grease. Don't be tempted to use conditioner on it or it will become too slippery to plait!
Allow the hair to dry completely then using a strong colour-matched thread, (carpet or button thread works well), wrap one end of the bundle tightly. For additional security apply Super Glue around the thread. Use disposable gloves to protect your fingers from the glue.
Next attach a metal finding to the end of the bundle. Put a little glue in the finding for extra security, insert the hair and squeeze it tightly shut using small pliers. Wrap a soft cloth around the finding prior to closure to prevent damage from the pliers.
Decide on the style of plait/braid you would like to use. You may wish to perfect your technique using a bundle of cotton thread before starting on the real thing. When you're ready to begin, attach the end of the bundle of hair to something secure so that you can pull on the strands as you plait. You will need to keep the plait fairly snug although not too tight as this will cause it to kink.
When the plait is complete, wrap the end with thread as before; seal it with glue and affix the second finding. Finish off by trimming any protruding hair ends with sharp scissors and spray with hairspray to add shine.
Making horse hair jewellery is not easy but it is good fun and once you become sufficiently skilled, you will never be short of ideas for Christmas and birthday gifts for your horsey friends!