Long as we’re talking about horses…
Tuesday October 02nd 2007, 1:06 pm
Filed under: Life

(Picture is of north of the area I’m writing about, with eucalyptus trees, but it’s what I’ve got in the camera for the moment.)

Woodside areaI was driving through the hills above Stanford University, on my way to the freeway. There were fenced pastures to either side, where horses are often to be seen grazing peacefully in the preserved grasslands, with towering old oaks here and there for a bit of shade for them. I was surprised the first time I saw a white crane there as well; it’s not far from the San Francisco Bay, but the golden summer fields, away from the marshlands? Curious.

As I whizzed by this one day, I saw that horse. Its day was being anything but pastorally perfect. Its head was very low, its ears back, an equine version of being slumped down with its head in its hands, having a very rotten no good I-think-I’ll-move-to-Australia kind of day. It took me by surprise and I had no time to stop nor way I knew of to help it, no clue who the owner was nor how to reach them. I thought, as I drove on, that I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to get too close to a large angry animal that didn’t know me anyway.

Its beautiful long, blond tail had been flicked against a fly and gotten wrapped into the barbed wire. Hard. It had apparently tried again and again to free itself, making it worse and worse. That poor animal was stuck.

I went about my errand and then came back the same way, looking for it, prepared to try to help this time and looking for a place to pull over. Which I did. But it wasn’t there; it had given up and yanked itself free, leaving a fair chunk of tail hairs behind. A bird was there, trying to free some out for its nest, but it wasn’t having any more success than the horse had had.

I am a handspinner. This was an exotic fiber to go work with. Lookee there. Yes, I know that’s weird. I had already made a doormat out of the very rough outer coat of a yak, just because that was oddball enough of an idea that when someone said that’s all the stuff was good for, well, hey. So maybe now it needed a blond edging on it.

Some of it was just too tangled, but I got a fair amount out and piled the wirey stuff on the front seat of my Honda Accord. And then continued on my way to go pick up my oldest from school; she was in middle school at the time.

She came to the car, saw it–I’d forgotten to move it to the back seat, out of her way–and exclaimed, “Oh, Mom, what IS that?” I told her. “Oh, Mom–that’s GROSS!”

Why is it gross? It’s just hair from a horse. Don’t you liiiiiike horses, dear?… (Picture the ingratiating smile of the mother of a teenager.)

Looking at the stuff later, I decided what I really needed was someone with a violin to give it to. ( Right?) It was stiff and thick and totally not something I was going to spin. Don’t tell the horse, but I tossed its tail and freed myself of it.

8 Comments so far
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You know you are waaaay past,”It’s just a hobby” when….

Comment by Carol 10.02.07 @ 7:10 pm

Lol! Guilty as charged, definitely! And that little Victorinox pocketknife would still be there trying to cut through the first strand on the fence, trying to free the horse. I wasn’t much help.

Comment by AlisonH 10.02.07 @ 8:03 pm

I have a friend who spun and knitted a scarf from her beloved dog’s clippings. Was very soft and interesting… In the eye of the beholder…

Comment by Bev 10.03.07 @ 7:02 am

I hear you about fiber. I love ALL of it. I wrote about you on my blog today. It’s about several things, but includes: micron and Bradford count. 🙂

Comment by Joanne 10.03.07 @ 9:36 am

Mane and tail hair would only be good for door mats, it’s so coarse. Have you ever been swished by a horse’s tail? Ouch! However, if you have a friend back east with a horse you might ask for hair in the spring during shedding season. I’d be curious to see how it’d knit up. My pinto, Chief, used to shed so much I swore I could make a blanket.

Comment by Judy 10.03.07 @ 10:32 am

I think the horse was probably happy to be rid of it, too.

Comment by Amanda 10.03.07 @ 4:15 pm

Your horse hair story is so funny – at least your part, not the for the horse!

Finally, yesterday I got your book in the mail – I am savoring every page, it is a lovely book.

Comment by Karen in Oregon 10.03.07 @ 5:00 pm

Your horse tale/tail is a wonderful story! Thanks for sharing it. I’m having a difficult time waiting till Christmas for your book and the new KPs Harmony needles, but I promised myself I would wait and not get everything I want before December even gets here.

Comment by Toni 10.04.07 @ 6:47 am

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