For a lot longer than I’ve been spinning, knitting, or doing anything else creative with textiles, I’ve been riding horses. This is my horse, Siân (her registered name–ie, the one on the papers–is Morning Theft, and if you know where that comes from then you deserve a cookie):
As lovely as she is, her hair isn’t much good for spinning (unless you’re making something to wear during your extremely repentant moods). Mane and tail hair can be used for braiding, but hair from the body of a horse is too short and coarse for spinning, which is really a shame when you see how much of it comes off the horse in springtime.
There is, however, a breed of horse that grows a coat that is much finer, softer, and curlier than that of other horses. Appropriately called Curly horses, their hair is short but definitely spinnable, and when I learned of the breed I knew I had to try it for myself. Much googling led me to the Curly Horse Fiber Guild site, which eventually got me in touch with Bunny Reveglia, a Curly horse breeder and fiber artist. Bunny sold me some washed Curly horse fiber in various colours:
Of all the fibre I’ve spun, I’d say it’s most similar to mohair, although much shorter. It’s smooth, lustrous, curly (of course), and quite a bit softer than what I expected. It’s tough to spin it on its own, and is best blended with other fibres like wool or alpaca. I bought a couple of 75% alpaca/25% Curly batts from Bunny as well, one of which yielded this skein of pretty soft 2-ply worsted-weight yarn:
Overall, it’s not an extremely versatile fibre, but it does blend well, and it’s fun to be able to finally spin horsehair. I’m thinking of working on another skein, blended with wool, to enter into one of the big competitions this year. At the very least it should get points for being unique!