Friday, March 18, 2011


Yes I know this looks like a wholesome horsey scene, but it's going to get sleazy. Trust me.

Today I wanted to take a break from heavier blog fare like the previous one and have a little fun (My deepest thanks to all of you who shared your heart with me). Meet clever entrepreneur Jennifer Teigrob. When faced with a new season of life--becoming a mom--this former horse trainer found an innovative way to enjoy a passion without sacrificing her family. I found her story of creating a small, home-based business inspiring.

Describe your horse life BC and AC ("Before/After Children"), Jennifer:

Before I had children I spent ten years training and giving riding lessons. I managed my barn and worked with all disciplines of horses. I did alot of colt starting and enjoyed working with horses with fear and aggression issues. I taught horsemanship for beginning through advanced students, offered a horse camp every year, and did everything from show prep to working cows. It was a blast!

After my first daughter was born I cut back to mainly lessons and a training horse from time to time, she just went everywhere with me. However, my second daughter required Mom's full attention! I knew right away my days of working outside the home were finished. My husband and I felt strongly that I needed to be home with the kids and, thankfully, God has blessed my husband with a great job that allows me to be home.

How have you managed to stay involved with horses?

When I was younger I went through a naughty phase and in my freshman year got kicked out of Home Ec class for refusing to cook (don't tell my kids). For punishment, my teacher put me in an advanced sewing class with a bunch of seniors. I loved it! It was my favorite class in highschool. Then about three years ago I began sewing polo wraps for fun and selling them at local horse shows. Last year I added sleazies. The business is small but it has done well. It's fun to create fun custom sleazies for girls in colors they want, not just what's available at a tack store. And I can do it out of my home. I mainly sew to support my horse habit and to fill that void of I-need-something-to-do-with-my-life.

Okay, the obvious question from non-horsey folks--what the heck is a sleazy?

A sleazy is a lycra hood that fits over the horse's face and neck and attaches around the belly. They are most commonly used for horses being shown to keep them clean the night before a show and to help the mane lie flat. They can also be used as an added layer of warmth in winter, to help horses prone to sunburn, or to protect the mane if a horse rubs. Originally, I think they were called "Sleazy Sleepwear" but the name morphed to just 'sleazy.' I wish someone had come up with something else...I've been called The Sleazy Lady multiple times in one day!

What does life look like now? I take it you still have horses?

Life is busy and fun. My three-year-old knows all the names and colors of fabrics and loves to open the boxes from UPS when they arrive with new fabrics. My almost 2-year-old enjoys walking around with a pink tape measure draped around her neck. You know, I wouldn't trade it for the teaching/training routine. I do not think I will return to that in the future. I spent ten years meeting client deadlines and having horses to work. These days I've taken a real turn for natural horsemanship and am trying to return to the carefree joy of riding and being with horses; not always have an agenda. Currently I have a colorful Appaloosa gelding named Rascal who really lives up to his name. He is fabulous and needs lots of play or he'd be bored to death. Too much arena work and I'm sure he would find very inventive ways to amuse himself--at my expense! I hope to do some competitive trail riding with him in the future. I also have Gina, my retired Anglo-Arabian mare; she is 22. Lastly we have Cookie, a black and white pinto mini my daughters enjoy riding and driving.

What's on the horizon for your business, Sewcial Butterfly Designs?

I have been invited to be a vendor at a huge show in Nampa, Idaho in June. Last year there were over 1,400 entries! So, I have been making inventory for that and I think this will jump start the business. It's exciting but a little scary. I'm really thankful for my very supportive husband who has been helping me plan and is coming with me to be Cash Register Guy. Hopefully I'll be busy taking measurements for custom orders and helping people pick out fabrics. Besides the sleazies and polo wraps I have added more items: tail/mane bags, helmet covers, grooming aprons, English pads, quarter sheets, and shoulder guards. And I love making costumes and custom orders!

Thanks Jennifer! We wish you lots of luck in the future as you combine the things that you love. Visit Jennifer on the web and ensure your horse is fashionable at the next show (see below).