Sunday, April 25, 2010

A tail's tale


During the last moments I spent with Lyle, I unceremoniously cut off a lock of his tail with my pocket knife. I'll never forget the "what in the hell are you doing" look Lyle gave me as he turned his head to watch. At the time, I wasn't sure what I would do with my cherished memento; I just knew that a part of Lyle had to go home with me to the ranch.

When I told all of you what had happened, the comment section that day became an impromptu guest book, signed by everyone who had come to know and love Lyle through this blog. Sydney mentioned that if I happened to save some of Lyle's tail, she could braid it into a keepsake.

After an exchange of e-mails, I packaged up Lyle's lock and shipped it to Sydney in Ontario, Canada. Yesterday, it returned home, in the form of this exquisite hatband.



While mostly flaxen, Lyle's tail also contained many different shades of brown, and Sydney painstakingly sorted and counted out the best strands to braid them into this work of art. The intricacies of the knots are not to be believed.


If you think you might ever want a hatband or piece of jewelry woven from your horse's tail, read this FAQ over on Sydney's blog sooner than later so that you'll know the do's and don'ts of taking a sample. I got lucky and cut enough hair for her to work with. Actually, I cut more than enough, and she also made a tassle that I can use as a zipper pull or bridle charm. For now, I've pinned it to another work of art, which I've been meaning to show you.



When I discovered the art of KC Willis awhile back, I knew I had to have one of her pieces, and I picked out this one in exchange for designing a blog header for an old friend. Thanks, Donovan! It hangs next to the door I walk through to go to the barn, so I get to look at it 837 times a day often.

I will always carry Lyle in my heart, but being able to carry a little piece of him on my hat and seeing him as I walk out the door keep him that much closer.

46 comments:

  1. I have tears in my eyes right now. That was a fantastic idea you had at such a sorrowful time Carson, and then what Sydney did with it is simply amazing, AND the tassle on that awesome art work ... WOW!!! What neat ways to remember your good friend Lyle.

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  2. That is a really lovely way to remember a much-loved horse.

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  3. Sydney made a beautiful hat band. What a lovely memory to have of Lyle. Your artwork by the door is also lovely. I really like the sentiments it expresses. I'm sure you'll cherish your pieces of Lyle forever.

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  4. What a great idea. Lyle is still there with you all in spirit and presence. The hatband is just beautiful.

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  5. I LOVE it, both the idea of it and the actual craft. I'll definitely read those FAQs.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  6. I love the creativity & honor for Lyle!

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  7. That is a special memento -- small enough, elegant, a lasting keepsake.

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  8. That is something beautiful and unique to remember Lyle. I need to do something for Beauty. I do have a little bit of her mane, but not much.

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  9. How absolutely beautiful! Tears came again as I read today's post - but these are tears of joy at the love so evident in Sydney's work. You touch our hearts with your words - and Sydney was able to express that in her craft. What a perfect homage to Skippa Little Lyle.

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  10. WOW! Never mind the pictures of it on my black hat, thats perfect on yours. Perfect. The darker creme and brown compliment it so much.
    I am so happy that you love your hat band. It is definately the most unique I have done with one single horses tail. Everyone who seen it on my drafting table was in awe of it. I almost hated to see it go.
    A friend of mine has a tassel like yours made out of a bit my mare Indigo's tail she hangs from the rear view mirror in her car.

    I am not sure if I wrote in that note but if any hairs come loose use nail clippers (not scissors!) to clip the hairs as close to the work as possible. If it becomes dirty wash it gently with mild shampoo. Some people like to pin them to their hats too with a stitch of thread in the front and back. I also fix broken pieces where my work is at fault. I have only had one piece come back in the hundreds I have done because of a string that was not tied but that was before I glued the strings when I was don. If I am not at fault for the damage I will fix things to the best of my ability for little cost.

    Thank you for doing this post. Because of this the legend of Lyle lives on. Your just gonna have to post about the adventures you go on with him from the view of your hat now :P

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  11. Simply exquisite!
    It's hard to type with tears in my eyes...but I think I got it right.

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  12. What an absolutely incredible gift...you will cherish this forever.
    I had just started reading your blog when you lost Lyle. My daughters climb in the bed with me on Sunday mornings and I read your blog posts for the week aloud to them. We all sobbed through those posts when you lost him.
    We have just suffered the devastating loss of a pet as well...so we are sobbing again this morning.

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  13. Linda, wow. It's so beautiful. What an amazing keepsake to have in honor of Lyle. Wow.

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  14. How lovely is that?
    I LOVE the art piece and I think adding the tassel to it makes it complete!
    Hoosier hugs,
    Cheryl

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  15. It's beautiful! What a lovely memento of a wonderful and much loved horse, Lyle.

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  16. What an incredible memento. I love this post.

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  17. What a gorgeous keepsake! Sydney is very talented. I love the framed art piece too. Very unique.

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  18. Read your post with tears streaming down my cheeks like so many others have mentioned. What a lovely, cherished remembrance of your beautiful horse.

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  19. Both the hat band and the tassel on the art piece are beautiful - I love the idea that Lyle is such a regular part of your day and that he can travel with you and help in providing shade in the bright sun.

    I have already been crying today because it's Keil Bay's birthday and of course now I'm doing it again! There is something about horses that anchors deep within us, and keeps us intimately connected with our hearts.

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  20. It's like before you read a book it is just an object made out of paper but after you read a great book, the mere sight of it can provoke all the emotions and feelings you experienced while reading it. Your hatband and tassel are not mere objects made out of a horse's tail but contain the essence of your relationship with your beloved Lyle. That is art.

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  21. That is such an awesome keepsake. I can't think of a better way to keep him around. It really is a beautiful piece of Lyle.

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  22. That was such a neat idea and what a beautiful way to bring part of him back to be with you always. Inspiring post. I love that art.

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  23. I can hardly write as I can barely see the monitor because of the tears, I can't talk as my throat is in a cramp ....what a special memento. I am so glad Lyle will always be with you and not just in your heart....

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  24. So special....love how it turned out, and the photo you took of it was beautiful. I would definitely do something like this if anything happened to My Boy.
    Nice work, Sydney!!!

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  25. This post made me misty. What a gorgeous hatband. Sydney is extremely talented. So glad you've got these mementos of Lyle.

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  26. The hat band is a gorgeous piece of work, and looks as though Lyle's spirit lives within. The artwork is also amazing - you are surrounded by beautiful things!

    Nancy in Iowa

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  27. Carson, you now have a beautiful keepsake that Sydney has made. Lyle will always be with you. As Sydney said we'll watch for all of your adventures in future with Lyle now riding a top your hat.
    Best always, Sandra

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  28. What a perfect tribute! It's beautiful!

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  29. What a beautiful and touching way to remember dear Lyle. And excellent crafted. Impossible not to be moved by this.

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  30. Excellent craftsmanship and a fabulous memorial for you. I have two bridle tassles a friend crafted for me, hitched out of a favored horses hair, she incorporated silver wires to represent the silver I had on my show equipment when I showed the mare I lost. Truly a special heirloom to me.

    I would be thrilled to have such a lovely hatband like you have.

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  31. WHAT A BEAUTIFUL bRAID!!!!!!!!!!!
    I AM SO HAPPY FOR YOU!

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  33. That is so beautiful. What a wonderful way to keep him close to you forever. That's something I'd really like to learn to do.
    I still miss seeing him here on your blog. Hurts my heart to think of how much YOU miss him. Hugs to you girl!

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  34. The hatband and tassel are a work of the heart. As was your life with Lyle. Beautiful.

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  35. WOW....although it has been said many times I had to say it again. How special is that!! What an elegant and fitting way to honor and cherish a beloved one!

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  36. That hatband is incredible and what a lovely way to cherish his memory. Sydney is very talented indeed.

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  37. Wow!! That is absolutely beautiful and awesome!

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  38. What a wonderful idea for a keepsake; and I know that Lyle will always have that special little place deep in your heart as well. I'm so very sorry for the loss of such a wonderful friend.

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  39. Both are AWESOME! I also cut some of Bandit's tail and plan to have Sydney make something for me. Her work is incredible.

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  40. Love the hatband and the wall hanging. I had a bracelet made out of my beloved Buck's hair when he passed. What a nice thing for Sydney to do. It will be a most cherished piece forever.

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  41. Ditto, my friend, ditto.

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  42. That is just GORGEOUS and so very touching, too...Such Beautiful Braiding and one can see it was done with a lot of love. How really wonderful that you were able to get a goodly amount of Lyle's tail....Indeed, he will be with you in all ways, always.

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  43. I have pieces of my QH Diego's tail and forelock that I would love to do something with. I'm almost afraid to send it off somewhere since it's irreplacable. I'll check out the blog.

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  44. The hat band is gorgeous, such talent!

    I really love that first photograph. If you get the opportunity you should enter it into a competition, or make a print of it to sell online.

    I just read your other blog, and I'm glad Hank is starting to feel happier :).

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