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Chopping Her Own Wood

Filed under: Blog Post,Current Articles,Featured |     

Lilly Levesque took creativity and responsibility into her own hands to pay her way to show with her beloved AQHA

Henry Ford once said, “Chop your own wood and it will warm you twice.” When high school student Lilly Levesque wanted to show AQHA more than anything, she didn’t ask for money, or expect help, or give up, even when her show horse was injured and incurred vet bills. Instead, she decided to “chop her own wood” by starting a business to pay her own way.

“I’ve never been a stranger to hard work, so I decided to come up with a creative way to cover these costs. I found the answer in my Etsy shop: Lilla Bessie.” Her creation of the Etsy shop enabled her to sell unique horsehair jewelry and she became a budding success story.

“I love showing AQHA because of the emphasis on elegance and perfection. These two characteristics I’ve incorporated into my jewelry over the years,” explains Lilly.

Read more about Lilly’s venture to take responsibility into her own hands for her happiness, and her journey with PSU Dark Krymsun Sky in Lilly’s words below:


Photo by Candace Lostroh of In The Wild+Wonder Photography

“I started riding horses when I was 10 years old. I was actively involved in Girl Scouts and in the summer of 2016, I attended a week-long horse camp. After the week was up, I asked my mom if I could go back and ride the horses again. Instead, for Christmas that year, she got me a package of riding lessons.

I was ecstatic, and after just a couple lessons, I had officially caught “the bug.” For the next year I would dabble in and out of disciplines, trying to find what was right for me. Eventually I settled on western pleasure and immediately fell in love.

Around the same time, my trainer brought in a stocky little quarter horse whose time in the major show pen was over, but who was the perfect teacher for my newfound curiosity. We attended local schooling and 4h shows and as time went on, I became deeply invested in showing Quarter Horses. This also meant I was burdened with the hefty costs associated with showing. I’ve never been a stranger to hard work, so I decided to come up with a creative way to cover these costs. I found the answer in my Etsy shop: Lilla Bessie.

In 2017, I created Lilla Bessie to sell my unique horsehair jewelry. I love showing AQHA because of the emphasis on elegance and perfection. These two characteristics I’ve incorporated into my jewelry over the years. Different from most horsehair jewelry on the market, Lilla Bessie’s jewelry features a swirled acrylic background, artfully placed pieces of horsehair (sent in from the customer’s own horse), encased with a glass top and strung on a silver cord.

Not only is each piece completely unique to every customer, but everything is completely customizable. Customers have the option to choose either a smaller or larger necklace, the shape, and the color. Each piece is a stunning piece of artwork and allows equestrians to keep a piece of their horse close to their heart. Lilla Bessie helped and still helps me be successful in the sport I love.

The summer before I started high school, I realized I would need a new horse if I wanted to move up in competition, with my sights ultimately set on the AQHYA World Championship Show.

My trainer, Micaela Gies of Double Header Performance Horses (who Lilly rode with until her sophomore year of high school), found a gorgeous dark bay gelding and after trying him for the first time, we knew he was the perfect horse for me. Of course at the same time, though, this meant I now had to cover board, vet, farrier bills and everything else in between. Lilla Bessie had gained some traction and between that and mucking stalls, I was able to afford a full lease of this new horse, PSU Dark Krymsun Sky, aka Carson.

Unfortunately, three months after bringing him home, Carson suffered a kick from another horse in pasture and broke his splint bone. He’d be on stall rest for six months, ultimately needing surgery. The bills were expensive, and without Lilla Bessie I wouldn’t have been able to afford them. This injury also put an abrupt halt to my plans of showing through AQHA.

After another year of rehab I was finally able to debut Carson in the show pen at the RMQHA Rocktoberfest in fall of 2022. As the year went on, Carson and I found great success in the Hunter Under Saddle, winning many classes we entered and earning year end awards.

I am eternally grateful for all of the opportunities Lilla Bessie has given me and I hope this business allows me to continue showing when I begin college next year.”


Good luck, Lilly! Congratulations on your hard work and determination! Readers can find out more about Lilla Bessie by searching “Lilla Bessie” on Facebook, or by visiting her Etsy shop: LillaBessie – Etsy

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