14 Aug 2021

Horseshoe - A Good Luck Charm, But Why?

Did you know...

...that an early form of hoof protection was seen in ancient Asia, where horses' hooves were wrapped in rawhide, leather or other materials for both therapeutic purposes and protection from wear.

...that the Romans appeared to have attempted to protect their horses' feet with a strap-on, solid-bottomed "hipposandal" that has a slight resemblance to the modern hoof boot.

...that in 1897 four bronze horse shoes with what are apparently nail holes were found in an Etruscan tomb dated around 400 B.C

...that around 1000 AD, cast bronze horseshoes with nail holes became common in Europe. Common was a design with a scalloped outer rim and six nail holes.

Source Wikipedia

From these it has been a long way to the modern horseshoe. Nowadays horseshoes are available in a wide variety of materials, but also styles, developed for different types of horse and for the work they do.

Horseshoes have traditionally been common lucky charms. You can often see them hanging over the entrance of a home. Horseshoes are thought to bring good luck and protection over the centuries. But why people around the world believe in the luck of the humble horseshoe?

"In the Irish story of the blacksmith and the devil, one day a blacksmith was working hard in his shop forging horseshoes. Suddenly, the devil appeared and demanded his own shoes. The blacksmith, recognizing the devil, took a burning hot shoe and nailed it deep into the devil's hooves. After walking away, the devil was in such excruciating pain, he ripped the horseshoes off and swore he would never go near one again. Thus, the tradition of hanging a horseshoe over the entrance of a house to ward off evil spirits was born."

"Another story has more to do with the metal in the horseshoes. Early Western Europeans believed that iron had magical powers. Iron could drive away evil, and folklore of the time told of many malevolent fairies and mystical creatures. Since horseshoes were made of iron, they kept the badly behaving fairies away. Other legends said that witches were so afraid of iron horseshoes, they traveled on broomsticks instead of on horseback."

Source: people.howstuffworks.com

Horseshoes, like many other goods in our daily use, include both: practicality and beauty. Sometimes we just forget about the beauty of them. In a jewellery, the functional beauty can be very delicate, and can you imagine a better good luck charm for yourself than a ring, bracelet, necklace, tiebar or a plastron needle with your own horse´s tail hair? We bet you can´t!

Ring Artema Star. Also available without stones.

In the nannasalmi collection you find many designs with a horseshoe.
Which one would be your favourite lucky charm?

Bracelet Shoe-shoe, ribbon 6 mm

Bracelet Cedric, ribbon 9 mm

Equestrian necklace

Necklace Salinero, ribbon 6 mm

An "everyday good" can become something special. Something fine that brings you good
luck and gives you the possibility to have your horse near you, every day.

Please, visit our website for more details:

6 May 2021

Best Moments with Your Horse (1)


Early May morning. It´s quiet, all you hear is birds singing. You walk through the stable yard, gravel snarls under your feet. The sun hasn´t risen yet, but the skyline is already pale pink.

Approaching the stable you hear a friendly neigh. Your horse has recognized your steps and knows what is to come.

A heavy stable door squeaks when you open it. You sense the familiar scents of the stable: hay, manure, leather - and horses. You think that nothing smells as good as a horse. 

You go to greet your horse, give him a little morning hay. But still he must remain in the stall. You head to the tack room first. Your friend is waiting with a basket of a thermos flask full of hot coffee and stuffed breakfast rolls. You drink coffee together, you enjoy the silence of the stable. On the walls saddles and bridles shine cleaned, bits washed and shiny, and you realize that coffee doesn´t taste so good anywhere else. 

Once you have finished your little breakfast, you take the saddles on your arms, bridles to the other hand, and go back to the horses. They are waiting for you vigilantly, ears chortling, eager but calm. 

You brush the horse's sides and back quickly and brush the face a little just for being close. The saddle feels light to get up on the horse’s back. Bridle slips like itself on the head. When the bits snap into place, you hear that familiar sound as metal chinks on the teeth. The horse chews a few times and the bits settle in comfortably. You are ready. 

The hooves clop on the stable floor as you two lead the horses out. Now you get in the saddle and a wonderful, peaceful trek through the dewy meadows and spring-awakening forest begins.

"Moments like this," you think, "I want to cherise in my treasure box of memories."

Worth your memories,


4 Mar 2021

Any day can be the last one

Every horse owner knows that any day can be the last one.

It goes for horses as well as for us humans.

When going to the stables, you look forward hearing the familiar, friendly neigh.

You know how it feels when a dear friend puts its muzzle against your cheek -
and can´t wait for it.

But one day, suddenly, everything can be different.

For a year we all have read the terrible news about the virus that has no borders or limits.
It´s everywhere. It can choose anyone, no matter if you are young or old.

And now we hear the news from Valencia, Doha and Florida. Riders, grooms and vets say
the same words than the first doctors in Europe a year ago: "It is hell here".

By the time writing this, six horses are reported dead. For sure there is more to come.

There are no words that can comfort those people who have lost their horses.

Any day can be the last one. We all know that. 

It can be a broken leg in the corral. It can be swell. It can be bad laminitis.

It does not have to be very "dramatic", but it´s always a great loss and tragedy for you.

But you can´t start to worry about all that or let worrying thoughts take over,
it would drive you crazy.

What you can do is to enjoy every day you spend with your dearest friend, your horse.

And take the best possible care of it.

And to cherish its wisdom, frienship and love it offers you.

Next time you go to the stables, give your horse a big kiss and an extra apple.

Condolences to those who lost their horses and and many thanks to all those
who have rushed to the rescue, either financially or concretely.

Stay safe, humans and horses.

Pictures pixabay.com

16 Feb 2021

From the Wilderness to be a Top Model

Signed photos by Wojtek Kwiatkowski, others from Ursula´s home album

Luna in the Baroque Horse Magazine. They published a photo of Luna once and later asked Ursula to submit her story of taming her.


I often dreamed of adopting and taming a Mustang. The first time when I was a kid in Germany after watching the movie "Misfits". I used to look at internet adoptions when I lived in England after reading the book "Shy Boy".

Then on this day ten years ago I went to a BLM adoption event, I met some nice Mustangs, watched a gentling demo, met great people and went home with some pamphlets.

I sent a friend request to the TIP trainer that I met there and looked thru her photos......and there she was.

Before coming to new home

It was love at first sight. A few days later I went back just to look at her, but knew right then and there that I had to have her. That mare had other ideas, but with a lot of patience, time and never giving up this wild horse took me into her heart. ( I can't even type this without tears) 

I named that mare Luna.

She had a colt a few months after she was captured.

Luna and I. Learning to lead.

There was a time when I seriously doubted that I would be able to teach Luna anything.
But she started teaching me.

Freezemarked mustang

I am incredibly blessed to have her as my friend.

Ursula, Luna and Stella (borzoi)

Pure love.

  • 2018 more than 80,000 horses were shipped out of the U.S. for slaughter.
  • Many American cattle ranchers ranch on federal land. Every month they pay the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) a certain amount of money for their cattle to be allowed graze the terrain.
  • When the cows feed on the grass, they prevent it from becoming fuel for wildfires.
  • Comparatively low feeding cost of cattle and doing business with the government keeps beef costs down for consumers.
  • Cattles share the ranges with wild horses.
  • Mustangs and burros are protected since 1971 by the federal Bureau of Land Management and there are population limits on cattle herds based on how many horses the land can sustain.
Cattle ranchers don´t like that.

For decades, BLM has rounded up wild horses and burros, aiming to do it every three to five years. In 2018 the bureau removed over 11 000 wild horses and burros nationwide. But the taxpayer-funded corrals and pastures, where horses wait to be sold or adopted, are nearing capacity.

Slaughtering horses for food is illegal in the U.S., but a market exists in Europe, Japan and Russia. This is why brokers called “kill buyers” send trailers full of horses, both wild and domestic, into Mexico and Canada, where slaughter is legal. In 2018 81,573 horses made the trip.

BLM tries to control herd populations through operations known as "gathers". For weeks or months at a time, agents and contractors lure horses to water traps, and chase them with helicopters into temporary pens—six-foot metal fences covered in burlap. The horses are trailered to one of 20 permanent facilities the agency owns around the country. There, the stallions are gelded, and along with the mares, are branded with a freezemark.

Adopters used to pay a $125 fee, but in March 2019 the BLM began paying them $1,000 as an incentive. Adopters get half up front, and receive the rest after BLM checks in, at the end of one year, and finds them to be doing a responsible job. After a year and a day, the adopters can buy the horse, and become his legal owner.

Activists focused on the plight of wild horses beginning in the 1950s, largely due to the crusading efforts of Velma Johnston, better known as "Wild Horse Annie". Johnston convinced Americans that mustangs, which had been set loose on range land as they were replaced by cars and tractors, were national treasures, and that roundups were ruthless and excessive. Congress agreed, and in 1971 passed the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, which declared the animals to be “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West.”

Summary from the original article by Sam Bloch / The Counter:

Luna´s little friend, late Carlos, was a rescue pony.

A bracelet Faune was made for Ursula. Here is the ribbon woven for it:

Thank you, Ursula, for sharing your story and these stunning photos with us! Luna and you are a perfect example of power of love, care, patience and trust.

16 Jan 2021

What is so special about the nannasalmi horsehair jewellery collection?

Because your horse is the most important, most beautiful and dearest, we think that the jewellery made with it´s hair should be as perfect, appreciated and valuable. That´s why so much thought, time and effort is put on each jewellery in nannasalmi collection.


Ribbons in nannasalmi jewelleries are woven miniatyre textiles. The weaving technique is ancient, but was never used in jewelleries with horsehair before Nanna Salmi made her first item over twenty years ago.

Most of the horsehair jewelleries on market have a braided or plaited ribbon. Those techniques are easy and quick, not very difficult to learn.

Woven ribbons have special qualities:
  • They are more durable, no hair strands sticking out
  • They are fine and smooth
  • It´s possible to weave a pattern to a ribbon that makes it more personal
In a weave hair strands reflect light beautifully and look very special and different compairing to braided or plaited hair.

This technique, even patterns and their names, are copied by some jewellery makers. As the technique is quite challenging you usually find items with pretty short ribbons like rings and bracelets.

Each horse has different kind of hair and even hair strands from the same tail varie of their thickness and quality. That´s why a long or broad, even ribbon is very difficult to weave.

Long ribbons are requiered when making bracelets, and even longer ones when making necklaces. Them you find in nannasalmi collection. Broad ribbons, 9 mm, are used also in some bracelets of the collection.

pferdehaar halskette mit hufeisen und diamanten

Metal parts

Each part of each jewellery is hand cast and hand finished by a professional caster and goldsmith. All metal parts are designed by Nanna Salmi and used only in this collection. The only industrial parts are clasps and fasteners.

Engarvings are made manually by our extremely skilled engraver.

There are plenty of similar looking horsehair rings on a market. But if you take a better look you will see the difference.

Comparing to many other rings with horsehair ribbons, whether woven or braided, the nannasalmi rings are heavier and more massive. For example the golden ring Carus in size 18 weighs ca. 16 g. That is 16 g of pure gold.

There is a reason for that:
  • High edges protect the ribbon against abrasion and hits
  • The rings are slightly convex inside which makes them very comfortable to wear


There are golden items with cubic zirconias or other gemstones on the market. Using cubic zirconias and other gemstones in gold and white gold rings lowers their price comparing to using diamonds.

In nannasalmi rings and other items,too, metals and stones are equivalent: with economical silver economical but high quality Swarovski cubic zirconias, with more valuable and expensive gold and white gold more valuable stones, diamonds. That is also a part of ethics of professional goldsmiths.


The nannasalmi collection offers the most versatile selection of rings, bracelets, brooches, necklaces, earrings, cufflinks and tiebars made with horse hair. We are sure that what ever your taste of jewellery is, you find your favourite in this collection.

We are proud to represent the original collection of woven horsehair jewellery and we are very delighted when you choose your special keepsake from this collection. Like almost 3000 clients all over the world already did. Thank you for that!

When you order a nannasalmi horsehair jewellery, you order fine jewellery which you can carry with pride and is, at least emotionally, the most valuable jewellery in your jewellery box.


13 Jan 2021

Horses by Katriina Viljamaa-Rissanen - movement and light

Horses have been an inspiration for many artists. Katriina Viljamaa-Rissanen is one of them.

Finnhorse by Katriina Viljamaa-Rissanen
Aamu-usva, Morning Mist

"I want to tell what our current Finnish horses are like. All represent one of the four different breeding directions.

For me, photography is the first stage of sketching, I throw myself into the trot of horses. As a rider I experience the pace and feel the movement. I read their facial expressions; intentions and spirits. It's pure joy!

Ear postures, fire in their eyes and vibrating nostrils. Movement and light bring rhythm to my work. I tell about the Finnish horse as an individual, lively and wise."

Finnhorse "Huiske" (Whisk, Swinging)

"I have been with horses all my life. We have had horses for over thirty years and I have had a possibility to observe them on a daily basis, as a rider, owner and artist. The anatomy and movements are familiar and watching them free in orchards and pastures has deepend my vision."

Finnhorse "Jytke" (rhythmic thumping)

Finnhorse foal "Lentäjän Poika" (Aviator´s Son)

"Classical drawing is my thing. Visually I´m interested in movement and light."

Finnhorse foal "Raikuli" (endearment word for a "Wild Boy")

"At first I had just Finnhorses, later, as the riding hobby continued, the half bloods as well.
This is my Coco."

Bracelet Naomi by nannasalmi made of Coco´s tail hair and silver.

Thank you, Nanna! The bracelet is even more lovely than I could ever imagine!

I expected a bit more variation in the tones, but you have found such beautiful striping, it´s like a dream.

And so Coco! Sensibility, intelligence and hardness - it´s all in the pattern. Adorable, loveable challenge as a horse.

Metal parts shimmer like square mirrors. The bracelet lives, shines and flashes and hair shimmers so beautifully in light. The refinement of hair you can´t see in a picture, you have to experience it.

Silver was a right choice. My zodiac is Gemini and air and light are the most important elements for me. Silver is space and freedom. So perfectly well designed, composed and woven. 

Thanks and huggs, Katriina

Nanna´s late jackrussellterriers Pauhu (left) and Hauke by Katriina

Katriina Viljamaa-Rissanen

Graduated from the School of Art and Design in 1968.

Specializes in illustrations.

In recent years, a free artist specializing in horses.

Received several illustration prizes, the most significant being the Finnish State Prize and the Rudolf Koivu Prizes.

Works and lives in Lappeenranta, Finland

The source of the text and photos and more about Katriina on her gallery page: galleryhorses.fi