Sunday, February 24, 2013

10 years in the Model Horse Hobby

Everyone has to start somewhere when collecting model horses. Whether it's a birthday gift, a hand-me-down, or just a toy that caught our eye at the tack shop, many of us collectors can pinpoint exactly where and when we picked up our first horse.

2013 marks 10 years since my first model horse purchase. I still remember it vividly: my dad would often take us to a favorite hobby store of his, and I always admired their impressive wall of Breyers. After a while, both of my sisters got a horse, so it was only fair for me to beg and plead for one of my own. When my dad finally gave in, I picked out Susecion and Le Fire, figuring I could get two horses for the price of one! One disgruntled parent and $50 later, they were mine.

Susie is still in impressive condition despite being an 8 year old's plaything!
As a kid, my herd was admittedly not that big. By the time my collecting leveled off, all of my horses could still fit on top of my dresser. Some horses I specifically remember buying around 2004-2005 include the fox hunting Gem Twist, Trigger and Topper, a vintage lemon yellow FAS, and two Old Timers.

I was always known for being very gentle with my horses. Even my earliest ones have only tiny rubs and black marks. I mostly used my sister's horses for the intense "mustang battles," and they have the scars to prove it. Even so, my time playing with Breyers was short-lived; by about 10 I was mostly just displaying them and maybe putting a blanket on one or two. It's probably the inner collector in me!

In 2005, I purchased my first Special Run: the JAH 50th Anniversary Saddlebred. I was particularly taken by the Copenhagen, with blue being my favorite color. Imagine my surprise when this fellow showed up on my doorstep:

Blue Monday: the pride and joy of a 10 year old's herd!
Around 2006, I attended my first model horse show without really realizing it. It was in Spencer, Massachusetts, and the show was most likely NEPC solely because I remember seeing performance set-ups. Yes, I was one of those little kids that show up at the hall completely oblivious to what's going on. I bought a Spectacular Bid from a dealer who was present and don't remember very much besides that, to be honest.

This was about this time where my collecting pretty much dropped off. I mostly blame my Webkinz craze, along with the fact that I mostly just lost interest. It wasn't until spring 2008 when I picked up a JAH that I'd just gotten in the mail (couldn't just let a newly-renewed 2 year subscription go to waste!) that I found a sudden renewed interest in the hobby.

This is about the time where I joined forums such as Blab and Fallen Leaves and discovered the numerous facets of the hobby besides Breyers, including Stones, customs, resins, and model horse showing. I dusted off my old carpet herd and started buying new horses. I frequently stalked flea markets and antique shops and snapped up nearly every model I could find... something I now regret doing. But hey, it was the thrill of the hunt!

In September 2008, I showed at my very first model horse show and I was completely enthralled. Despite my meager show string of 13 horses, I still managed to get overall breed champ with Fiddle Faddle, a little G1 thoroughbred mare stablemate I pulled out of a bag of junk for $2. She's since been featured in the JAH Winner's Circle and comes with me to every show, whether she's competing herself or just acting as a good luck charm.

The notorious Fiddle Faddle!
 I've since attended numerous Region X shows, and have taken home many awards for various horses of mine. Showing still continues to be my favorite facet of the hobby to this day.

2009 marked my very first Breyerfest, a tradition my dad and I have been keeping up ever since. After years of begging, it finally happened. Each year we brave the 16-hour drive to Lexington through standstill traffic, extreme heat, and once even a torrential downpour. It's always been a great bonding experience for us; my dad's a collector himself (although not of model horses) so he is wonderful with understanding and supporting my hobby. Bless him.

I wish I could say I was completely overwhelmed at my first Breyerfest, but the truth is I did so much reading up ahead of time that I was a Breyerfest pro before I even set foot in the Kentucky Horse Park! Each year we've stayed at the CHIN to be right in the center of the action and room sales, and have recently started selling out of out room as well.

Since then, I've mostly just been showing and expanding my collection beyond Breyers, although they will always be the heart of my collection. My focus continues to be OFs with a spattering of customs and resins here and there.

It's been quite the interesting 10 years in the model horse hobby - here's to 10 more!