Bixby mother starts to make, sell handmade stick horses as a way to get kids playing outdoors

Posted at 9:21 PM, Oct 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-10 22:21:02-04

BIXBY, Okla. -- Jinni Giltner spends a lot of time in her sewing room, utilizing the skills she picked up early in life.

"I just always remember someone in my family sewing," Giltner said, "and my mom finally taught me after I pestered her enough."

Her persistence paid off because it's now led to a business. About a year ago, she decided to make stick horses as toys for her two young daughters. She said the muse for her project came from the stick horse that her great aunt made for her when she was a kid.

"My great aunt made me a stick pony when I was little, and I played with that thing every year at Christmas, which was the only time it was allowed it," Giltner said.

"When my girls starting finding it at Christmastime and playing with it and it started kind of looking real bad," she added, "I decided I should make their own."

She posted a picture of the toys that she made her girls on Facebook and got an unexpected response. "It exploded," she said, laughing.

Other parents began asking her where they could get one, so she started taking orders.

"(My girls) were my prototype, as we always joke," Giltner said. "Theirs aren't as cool as everyone else's, but you have to start somewhere."

She said the stick horses let kids and their imaginations run wild, and that's why she chose to call them Mudd Ponies.

"I just always envisioned my girls playing with these, getting dirty and messy and just being kids," she said, "so I thought what better way (to name it) than muddy."

She said, since making the initial ones for her daughters, she's sold more than 40 stick horses for children in Oklahoma and several other states. All of them are completely customizable, from the yarn she uses on their manes to the fabrics she chooses for their faces.

"I think it's great to see people so interested in such a simple toy and a childhood toy that is handmade that you can't get at a store," Giltner said.

While she would like to keep growing her business, Giltner said her ultimate goal is to see more kids playing outside. "For me, it's about getting kids outside and exploring and imagination," she said. "Sometimes I see kids who sit on a computer all day, and it just kind of breaks my heart. I love to see kids outside doing crazy things, and I think horses can help do that."

It seems the passion she has for sewing now has an even bigger purpose, hoping that the time she spends inside will leads kids to spend more time playing outside.

To learn more about the Mudd Pony stick horses, follow this link.

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