Because my horse died...

BECAUSE MY HORSE DIED...

 

Is usually how I start my answer when I'm asked - How did you get into this?

For the first few years my answer was sugar coated, a bit embellished and padded to protect the emotions of those who were curious how I got my start in the peculiar world of horsehair jewelry. Over time my answer became more blunt and to the point with the harsh reality of why I started doing this flashing like neon sign to the poor person who asked me.

SO WHY DID I GET INTO THIS?

We've established that the main reason is because my horse died.

He died.

Seaver died.

And when he did I felt crushed. A part of me desperately wanted to keep a piece of him close to me, I just wasn't ready to completely let him go. I had heard about horsehair jewelry and started my search online for someone I could trust to send my precious boys tail hair to.

After days of scouring the internet I came to the conclusion that I was A - not sending his tail hair overseas, B - terrified of getting scammed like the people on the horse forums had, and C - it can't be THAT hard, I'll just do it myself!

I quickly learned that doing it myself was not as easy as I had assumed it would be. (let's all go back to our parents old saying "Don't assume. It makes and ASS out of U and ME)

I DON'T GIVE UP EASY

Being the stubborn person I am, I spent months attempting to make a bracelet with his tail hair. Each time I thought "I got it!" it would end up scrapped for being not perfect enough. This is another problem I discovered I have. I want the things that I do, that I put out into the world, to be something I'd be proud to give, it needed to be perfect. When I finally created what I thought was the first horsehair bracelet I was proud of I realized it was the last of his tail hair I had left. I packaged it up in a neat little box and sent it off to the girl who had loved Seaver for most of his life. It was so hard to let that piece of him go, but the sense of purpose it gave me when I sent him back to his original owner is what sparked me to do more.

I began asking friends for their horse's tail hair, not telling them why, then surprising them with bracelets and key chains. From there this little side hustle took off.

EVOLUTION OF JEWELRY

As time went on my designs became more intricate. Word of my horsehair jewelry was spreading fast and the orders were coming in quickly. I decided to put myself into debt and picked up a booth at the great equestrian trade show, The Mane Event, little did I know that debt would be paid off by the middle of the first day there and my hobby officially became a small business.

I was often asked if I could make rings for horsehair. I did some digging and found suppliers that I could buy pre-made blank rings from, but something about it just didn't feel right. The jewelry I was making was made FOR someone. To celebrate the bond that person had with their horse, it was special and unique. It wasn't generic like the ring blanks that were available.

So the search began to find someone that could bring my ideas to life. In 2017 I began to offer rings and over the last three years Verstara has transformed from a side gig to a full blown, six-figure business gaining worldwide recognition.

Through my jewelry I have been able to help countless people, and THAT is what matters to me. It all comes down to the reason I started this in the first place. Helping to heal broken hearts, keeping families together, and providing a piece of comfort is the real driving force behind what I do. It's a passion that burns so deeply that I never want to quit.

 

 


7 comments


  • Ainsley Gray

    I got colleen name from my neighbor. Out on Lincoln hall road near lacombe. She had said she had gotten a piece made by her when her daughters horse had passed. This was before we had lost our beloved old man Buck. It was the coldest day of the last of December in 2017. Our poor 29 year old played down and never got back up. It was a sad day in our house. It was a even sadder day in the field as Bucks beloved 7 year old mare watch over as he takes his last breaths. Watches her master in tears. Then whinging so loud a cry of a horse I will never forget. While they losd him away to lay to rest. She paced the fenced for hours singing for her mate. She did this for days. I contacted Colleen about making us a few things. It took me till the mane event to get it to her. As I didnt trust the postal service. She was absolutely amazing took her time with us. She made me a key chain that I care with me every where. A necklace that Seana wore to her cap and gown part of grad. Seana would take the necklace and let licorice smell it and you could see the light come out. Colleen also combed out all the extra hair I had. As that old horse would carry my little around the yard from the age of 3 and a half to 7 it was amazing. I made a shadow box with it.

    On feburary 6th I needed to contact her again. As that day we lost a horse that we had resuced. This horse was only with us for a short time. She was so loving after she knew she was here to stay. The transfermation I was able to do. Was amazing. She was older then we where told and it was just her time. So once again at the mane event we will bring the hair. As i like to hand deliver it.

    Thank you so much for doing what you do. This keeps our biggest babies alive in us. I love knowing i have a piece of my beloved Old man Buck with me everywhere.

    Thank you Thank you


  • Shayla Derr

    It is heart-warming to be able to understand that your business was built on a platform of pure kindness and generosity. When I found you at the Mane Event in 2019, I was just a couple weeks from laying my beloved Twister to rest. He had been in my life for 14 years and was a huge part of me. I held back tears while you helped me choose the perfect piece. Although I have many memories I yearned for something I could physically hold onto and feel closer to him, and you delivered! I’m very grateful I trusted you with my ring, it is simply gorgeous. My younger sister also lost her gelding in November 2019 and after my family had seen my ring, my Mom ordered a bracelet out of his hair for my sisters birthday. She was delighted. We appreciate your work!


  • Pamela MCCready

    I would never trust anyone else. The care and detail that is put into these pieces is indescribable. When I unexpectedly and tragically lost my wonderful Cirinity to colic, I agonized about how to find a fitting keepsake for myself and for the couple of junior riders that she had taken care of. After scouring the internet, I came across Verstara. Coleens products were among the few that didn’t look like 4H projects. These are pieces of fine jewelry and worth every penny. The designs are exquisite and the craftsmanship is impeccable. I will never trust anyone else to create a tribute. Thank you so much


  • Leigh DesRoches

    The 1st time my daughter & I ordered from Colleen, we had hair from 2 horses that we had been holding onto. Chester’s tail hair was turned into a cowboy hat band, and Tango’s mane became an absolutely gorgeous bracelet for Kaylee to wear to her HS graduation.
    Our Summer girl, and then our senior Chance followed.The pieces that Colleen has made for us are treasured….loved even.
    Sadly we will need to contact her again, as we have several more seniors on the farm. When their time comes, Colleen will be the only person and Verstara the only co. that I will trust with our beloved herd’s hair, to make our memory pieces ❤.


  • andrea Thomas

    I absolutely love my bracelets and pendants you made for me.
    They are elegant, and unique.
    I’m deciding on my next pieces.
    I’m fortuned my ❤️ horses are in my back yard.
    When the time comes, and they are gone.
    My jewelry will even more special.


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