Kaya’s Horse Restoration

Recently a new project galloped into my house in the form of Kaya’s horses, Steps High and Sparks Flying. I have wanted these horses ever since I got Kaya so it was very exciting, but as you can see, I had some work to do before they were ready to meet Kaya. My sister gets the credit on this thrift store find; actually I am quite touched at her determination to get them home to me because it so happened that she found them at a thrift store halfway across the country from where I live. She was working as a camp counselor for a summer program through a college and happened to be doing some shopping with some of the other counselors. They went into a thrift store and my sister spotted these horses and was able to buy them both for $40. I probably don’t even want to know what sort of explanation she gave to her new counselor friends as to why she was buying them (I’m sure she said something to the effect of “my sister is really weird” but I don’t really care–I’ve never met them and never will, so no worries!). She even had to check her bag and use the horses as her carry-on when she came home, so talk about sisterly love! When she first gave them to me and I handed over the forty bucks I was a little skeptical. I wasn’t sure that they were really worth that much since they were in pretty questionable shape. The biggest issues were that Steps High has had her tail cut short and both have had their mane cut in the front (apparently on a horse this is called the “forelock”). They were both dirty and pretty marked up, too. Steps High also came with her saddle, though unfortunately it was missing several pieces, so I don’t know for sure what I am going to be able to do with it. I decided to jump right in with some restoration and am quite pleased with the results! I will show some pictures from my restoration project, starting with some before pictures:

Time for a bath!

They both looked a lot better once I had washed them. I took a magic eraser to Sparks Flying’s legs and muzzle, this worked very well for getting off the scuffs and marks. I didn’t use it on Steps High because I didn’t want her color to come off (magic erasers are pretty harsh). Then I had to do something about Steps High’s mane. I brushed through it the best I could and then decided to try some fabric softener. The “Downy Dunk” method supposedly works well on dolls, and even though the horse mane is definitely a lower quality hair than what the dolls have, I figured why not. I pretty much just saturated the mane and then let it sit for several hours before rinsing it out and brushing it. It seemed to help, but I decided I wasn’t quite satisfied yet. I saturated her damp hair with Argon Oil of Morocco (a really great conditioning product we have used on dolls with great success) and then blow dried it on the low setting. It helps to have a second person for this, so my husband sportingly held the hair drier while I brushed it through. This process helps to basically melt the hair back into a straight style. I used a wire wig doll brush at first and then switched to a toothbrush, which really helps to pull each strand of hair straight, eliminating kinks and frizz. This worked great! I had to trim the ends about half an inch or so, but once I did that I saw a huge improvement.

Here Steps High is getting ready to have her hair conditioned:

I used a black Sharpie to fill in the scuff marks on her ears and legs. I wasn’t sure if I would need brown or black, but the brown ended up being too light. The black was perfect:

As you can see, her ears look great here:

The other big issue was her forelock, so as you can see above, I just pulled a lock of hair from her mane and moved it to the front, like bangs. I used a needle and thread to put a few small stitches through it to keep it in place (it kept wanting to flop back, otherwise). I did the same for little Sparks Flying.

Steps High was missing her bridle that is supposed come with her, so I just braided her a new one out of hemp cord. It ended up being too thick to string through the hole in her mouth, so I just tied it around.

At this point, I’m not sure what I can do about Steps High’s short tail (I didn’t really get it in pictures, but it’s about six inches long) so she is just going to be short-tailed for now. Other than that, I am pretty tickled with how these guys turned out! I have been wanting them for my collection forever, so this really worked out great! Paying about a third of the cost of what they are new is nothing to complain about, either!

I think Kaya is pretty happy, too. 🙂 I should also mention that Kaya was a restoration project doll for me too, so this is actually pretty fitting. If you haven’t read about that saga, you can check it out here.

Below are the “after” pictures. It was about 100 degrees and about to thunderstorm when I took these, so I will try for some more another time. 🙂

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20 Comments Add yours

  1. Marion says:

    What luck that your wonderful sister found and bought these horses. You did a good job in the restoration.
    Marion

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    1. Emily says:

      Thanks! It was definitely very lucky!

      Like

  2. Marilyn says:

    What a super sister you have. The horses are beautiful and look like new. Great job.
    Marilyn

    Like

    1. Emily says:

      She’s pretty great! Thanks Marilyn!

      Like

  3. kaitlynrh1 says:

    They look amazing!

    Like

    1. Emily says:

      Thanks, I am so happy to have them!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Jen says:

    Wonderful! Do you have any recommendations for using Argan oil on dolls like Saige and Caroline who are prone to frizzie curls?
    I wonder if you could extend the tail with a faux weave? I’ve consulted the ladies at Sally Beauty about dolls before!
    Lake Superior trip report?

    Like

    1. Rutvi says:

      Kaya looks so happy!

      Like

      1. Emily says:

        I think so, too! 🙂

        Like

    2. Emily says:

      Yep, you can definitely use Argon oil on Saige’s hair, my mom used it with nice results. It’s basically just a good alternative to braid spray, I think. I actually found it to be even more effective. If you are nervous just do a very small drop at a time, rub it in at the ends, and then let it sit. Repeat as needed. I haven’t used it on my Caroline because she is still like-new, but my mom did it on her Lanie, who has similar hair, and the results were excellent. It actually brought back some of the bouncy curls.
      That’s a really good idea about a faux weave for the tail. I was kind of wondering if I could maybe do something like that, I will have to look into it!
      Our Lake Superior trip was excellent! Our main reason for going was this: this year is the centennial of the National Park service. My husband and I are huge National Park goers (we want to visit every one) and we decided to celebrate the 100th birthday of the NPS by hiking 100 miles in the parks this year. It’s kind of hard to do where we live, in the middle of the midwest, since most parks are so far away, but we did a lot of traveling during spring break and over the summer (we are teachers) and found ourselves at 83 miles. We knew that once school started it was unlikely we would be able to get anywhere, so we packed up and headed to Pictured Rocks for a quick 17 mile backpacking trip! It was insanely beautiful, we watched the sunset on the beach a, short walk from our campsite and had perfect weather, but since we were only there for two days we definitely will be going back! I want to do the dinner cruise that you mentioned! I hope you guys had an amazing trip, too!

      Like

  5. Emma (Wack-A-Doodle-Dolls) says:

    Wow! That is such a cool restoration! They both look great now! Amazing pictures! 🙂
    -Emma-

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Emily says:

      Thanks! It was fun to fix them up!

      Like

  6. Lydia Louise says:

    Your sister is so awesome!! And you did a fantastic job restoring those girls!! They look so much better 😀
    -Lydia
    Lydia’s Dolls

    Like

    1. Emily says:

      Thanks! She really is great!

      Like

  7. Flo says:

    How sweet of your sister! They look great too, what a challenge.

    Like

    1. Emily says:

      She is very sweet! Thanks, it was a fun challenge!

      Like

  8. They look amazing! I’m sure Kaya is so happy to have her horses. 🙂

    Like

    1. Emily says:

      Thank you! I think she is very happy. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Jaclynn says:

    Awe, that is so sweet of your sister! You did a great job restoring them! Congratulations! 😀
    ~Jaclynn~

    Like

  10. bennettv says:

    Wonderful! How sweet of your sister to bring those horses back for you and as carry ons too! 🙂 The horses are beautiful! You did a great job!

    ginnie / http://www.fakingitmostly.com

    Like

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