How does one start making costumes for horses?
It started, of course, with Arabian horses. Actually, it started with a half-Arabian and endurance/competitive racing back in the mid 1970s. When shopping for a new endurance horse, a yearling stallion ended up in our back yard instead. He had the conformation and heart we wanted in an endurance horse, but he came with an outstanding pedigree, incredible personality and lots of talent. That led us to breeding and showing purebreds rather than part-breeds.
Segue to membership in the largest Arabian club in Michigan of the day, the Arabian Horse Association of Michigan, and a surprising assignment as chair of the newly formed Promotion Committee with hands-on involvement in several major state-wide projects (including exhibitions at such venues as the Pontiac Silverdome, the Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival, the Pinconning Cheese Festival, the Montrose Blueberry Festival, the Howell Mellon Festival, just to name a few).
Eventually, our Promotion Committee formed a core parade troupe which participated in parades all over the state of Michigan (encouraging local AHAM members to join in whenever a parade was in their area). We wanted to demonstrate the versatility of the Arabian horse by having riders in the trappings of a variety of different disciplines, such as hunt seat, saddle seat, western, dressage -- and of course, Arabian native costume (in all it's Hollywood glitz and glamour!).
It didn't take us long to recognize that horses in Arabian native costume garb were a crowd favorite. With that in mind, we began making our own costumes. Lots of odd things came out of that, but eventually, we got a few that were pretty good. Soon, as a new one was started, people asked after our older costumes. Soon we had people asking if we could make a costume especially for them. It was never a production line operation, but more a love affair with the variety and creativity of "gilding the lily" which was our beautiful Arabian horses. And most especially we delighted in watching the reaction of people at the festivals and parades to seeing an Arabian horse and rider in full "native" garb for the very first time. Always a pleasure!
How did Arabian Knights Costumes begin?
Years passed. Damage from a serious car accident ended our breeding operation. Riding was no longer an option. Years of convalescence ensued. Boredom set in. College called. Several degrees later and working as faculty at a major Midwestern university, the pull of the Arabian horse endured. Attending shows was thrilling, but lacked the intimate involvement of friendly competition we craved.
Back home, the old sewing machine awaited.
As before, making costumes turned out to be a labor of love, revisited. This time, it prompted contacts in the wholesale market and the purchase of new, more specialized equipment -- and learning new skills and techniques along the way. That expanded our horizons -- and our product line.
What does Arabian Knights Costumes offer, besides native costumes?
While we still remain a very small concern, today we make Arabian horse native costumes -- plus; that plus including a variety of clothing items (both embroidered and printed) such as T-shirts, tank tops, baseball caps sweatshirts, cotton and denim shirts, and a wide variety of other items. And -- because we also love our family of cats and dogs, we include several items that feature them as well. That, in turn, brought us into contact with several local cat and dog clubs. While Mid-Michigan Cat Fancy was forced to disband during the economic downturn, the Michigan cat fancy itself is still alive and well. As for the various canine clubs, Michigan loves its dogs!
It's thrilling to attend horse shows and see our costumes compete in the ring.
We've had the chance to renew old acquaintances as well as meet many new friends, some who are new the Arabians and some who have been around for years. We love getting the chance to sit and talk about memories of horses and events we've remember, and hear others share their memories as well.
Perhaps one day in the future, we'll have a chance to meet and talk to you, too. We're looking forward to it!
Meanwhile, please look at the items we currently have available in our online store.
If you see something you like, let us know. (Always love to hear from you!)
If you'd like to talk to us about creating something unique for you, please contact us. We'll see what we can do.
Thank you for visiting, and for reading about our journey.
Hope to hear from you soon ...