Horses Galore and More turns therapeutic hobby into business
For more information about Horses Galore & More, Barb can be reached at 307-262-4971, on facebook at Freeman’s Horses Galore & More, or by email at: email@example.com.
When Barb Freeman goes to a trade show, she arrives with a carload of horses – stuffed ones, that is.
Her trade show displays are filled with large and small horses with every type of outfit she can make. Some are designed for cowboys and cowgirls, while other horses sport fun, vibrant dresses. At Horses Galore & More, Freeman has a horse that will appeal to everyone.
Her first horse doll took shape 25 years ago as her small daughters sat under her sewing table and played. Sewing has always appealed to Freeman, who started making items when she was just 12 years-old.
“I started out making gifts for my family,” she said. “Then, friends would ask me to make something for them. It blossomed from there.”
Over the years, sewing was a good fit for a military wife, whose husband was gone for periods of time.
“I work full-time now, so making the horses is good therapy for me. My husband has passed away, so it gives me something to look forward to in the evenings,” she said.
Freeman uses a McCalls pattern she purchased 28 years ago to make the horse dolls.
“I have tweaked the pattern, and changed it to create different sizes,” she said. “I have also changed the hair on the horses and the dress styles. I recycle old blue jeans to make the boy’s outfits, and several different types of fabrics for the girls. There are no two alike.”
One horse takes her about four hours to make.
Freeman is also licensed to use the Wyoming bucking horse logo on the outfits of her horses and she has found those to be her best sellers. “I can hardly keep those in stock,” she said. It is also her favorite doll to make.
Although it’s more difficult to sew, Freeman uses leather-type and vinyl-feel fabrics for some of the clothing for the horses.
“I like using different fabrics because it differentiates them from each other,” she said. “I also like to come up with new ideas, and different yarns for the mane and tail to make them look different.”
Although many of the horses have a western theme, some are made from fun, little-girl type fabrics for children and adults who aren’t into the western way of life.
Horses are big business in Wyoming, and Freeman feels her horses are an ideal item for her to make and sell. She sells the horse dolls through word-of-mouth, rodeos, horse events and trade shows. She also attends a few craft fairs in Douglas and Casper. Depending upon which craft shows she plans to attend, Freeman makes other animal dolls to sell, like moose and lambs.
The crafter also donates horses to each trade show she attends, and to several charities and youth groups. Among those are the College National Rodeo Finals, the Intercollegiate National Rodeo Fund for injured rodeo athletes, Toys for Tots and Make-A-Wish.
Because of the military, Freeman said she has horses all over the world.
“We lived in Germany for awhile,” she said. “We also lived in Kansas and Texas. Because we moved around a lot, I have horses everywhere.”
She also sold several horses and lambs during the Sheep Dog Trials in Kaycee a few years ago.
“The judges were from New Zealand and their wives were buying them to send back home,” she said.
The small business has been a great supplement to her income, in addition to being something she enjoys doing.
“It gives me something to do in the evenings,” she said. “It is also fun, because I never know how they are going to look when they are done.”
Freeman’s adult daughters, Amber and Lindsay, have also joined in the fun helping Freeman create hand-painted, custom signs. Amber is a registered nurse at the Wyoming Medical Center in Casper, and Lindsay works as a pharmacy technician at Albertson’s. Both girls enjoy creating the signs and spending time with their mother, who sells the signs along with her horse dolls. ❖
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