Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Jennifer's hobby confession

Like Lauren, I have a confession to make: For the last twenty years, I've worked very hard to keep my hobby life and my horse life separate.

Well, that's not quite right. My hobby friends...
have always known about my real horse life.
The majority of my real horse friends, on the other hand, 
have no idea I also do this.
That's not because I'm embarrassed to be a hobbyist. I'm not. The problem is the label. Most real horse people have little to no idea that the hobby exists. When I say "model horse collector" people do not think of this...
or this...
or this.
photo by Heather Moreton
Instead, they picture little kids sitting on the floor...
and playing with their Breyers.
And even though I've had my work featured on the cover of a national magazine...
and displayed at the World Equestrian Games...
in my heart of hearts, I fear that I will be perceived as an overgrown eight year old sitting in my room and playing with plastic ponies.
And truthfully, that's not that far off the mark. I do play with my horses...
and that play tends to get...
(and dogs)
(and rats)
(and dolls)
Recently, things have begun to change. I'd already told a few of my riding friends before I put the blog on Facebook, but since then, it's been impossible to hide. After all these years, the two horsey parts of my life have merged. Everyone at my current barn knows that I play with model horses.
A few people have been incredulous, and I can't help but wince every time someone calls my saddles "cute." Mostly though, people have been interested and maybe - hopefully?  - a little bit impressed. Like Lauren, I have become an ambassador for the model horse hobby. I hope I can represent it well. I know there are a lot more of us hiding in that closet!


  1. I feel the exact same way with my models. For the longest time I felt ashamed of my hobby. My mom thought it was a waste of time and money and I dated someone that hated having horses all over the house. It wasn't until I met fellow hobby people and started dating someone that appreciated it that I finally felt my hobby was okay. With that acceptance my collection has exploded! I'm showing and winning and have never been happier!!

  2. They should be a lot impressed! I bet the people who poke fun at the model hobby might be a tad bit jealous at the talented individuals who can make such amazing creations.

  3. My hobby's not something I really hide, (anyone who visits my Flickr page could figure it out, haha) but I don't talk about it either. I've gotten a really positive response from the few people I have told. It's just a very difficult hobby to explain! I tend to lump it with miniatures/railroads/dollhouses and that helps.

    I poke fun at myself a lot though. I think that's because I'm nearing my mid-twenties and am super-sensitive about "what-people-think-of-me." :P BUT, I do think that hobbies, no matter how "weird" they may seem, are just fine and much better than say, wasting away in front of a computer or phone or something.

    I'm probably not the best representative of the model horse hobby but whatever... it's fun for me and has helped me, in some ways, to get through a lot of life's hurts.

  4. I was introduced to it when I was a kid. Of course it was OF and not RRH (remake, repaint, outdated!). I did try my hand at one remake but as a kid didn't have the resources. I still have the favorites of my collection...the rest sold on ebay to major collectors or hopefully a wide eyed child like I was.

    I still am fascinated by miniatures of all kinds, especially horses and love to follow the blogs about a hobby I don't have the time or money for. I rarely have the time to make cold process soap anymore! Thanks for letting us all live this awesome hobby through your eyes!!!

  5. 1/12th.scale miniatures get the same response - mention that you do 1/12th scale crochet and they call the men in white coats to come and take you away!

  6. I think I may be in the minority here. Just about everyone knows I play with model horses. They ask what I do, I say I make dolls for model horse collectors (which brings out the questions about shows and so on). I have gotten A LOT of strange looks from people and some very rude sounding comments but I figure the people that mind don't matter and the people that me for who I am! I have also taught a whole bunch of people that everyone needs to play, no matter how old they are. (and saying it's like model train collectors does seem to help)

  7. There was recently a yahoo main page featured article about a guy who photographs his model cars in real life historical set ups. When I saw that, I was hopeful that it would enlighten a ton more people to the idea even further, as he had his table out with models and props just like we do. We all know horses > cars, but cars are something everyone else can relate to ;)

  8. Yes! If I could say to people "I paint and show model horses" and have them get it (and not picture children with Barbie horses) then I might be more forthcoming about my hobby :) But isn't it nice that we have such a great community of like minded folks online?

  9. I completely understand keeping hobby and real life separate. Normally if I tell people about my hobby they either force a smile or point blank say, "that's stupid."
    But I'm starting to get more hobby friends, and I keep telling myself what other teen can say they can enjoy a hobby and be able to sell stuff in it too?