In the beginning, my Breyers were toys.Of course, they weren't just any toys--they were the best toys. I loved their size and heft and the way they felt in my hands. Mostly though, I loved how real they were. All my other toys looked like toys, but my Breyers looked like horses. I couldn't get enough of them.
Strangely, when we played with them, they didn't act like horses, at least not at first. They talked and went to school and did all the things that my sisters and I did. Essentially they were four legged humans.
That changed as I grew older. The horse obsession became all consuming, and I no longer wanted my horses to be people. I wanted them to be horses. I still played with them, of course, but the play reflected my new interests. Instead of going to school, I imagined my horses living at a large stable similar to the one where I took lessons. They were groomed, fed, saddled and taken out on rides. Most of the stallions became geldings, and nearly every horse had a show name and a barn name. In essence, they were substitutes for all the horses I didn't own.
When I discovered Just About Horses, I stopped thinking of my models as toys. Instead they were valuable collectibles. I dove into collecting with a vengeance. To my eyes, special runs were truly special, and I couldn't get enough of them. By the time I graduated from high school, I'd filled the shelves of my parents' basement with models.
I only took one model with me when I moved to Colorado for college. However, it wasn't long before he got lonely and demanded a few companions. That early Colorado herd didn't do much. Their sole function was decorative--they made my dorm room feel like home.
The next year, I met Trisha through a pen pal ad in Just About Horses.
Right from the start, we were nearly inseparable. I spent all my weekends at her family's farm, and together, we dove headfirst into the competitive side of the model horse hobby.
Our passion was photo showing. We hosted several shows...
and competed in countless others. I loved winning ribbons, so I did everything I could to improve the quality of my entries. Specifically, I started making my own tack and props, and I bought my first Nikon.
After I graduated, I moved to Tennessee and spent five years running a mobile tack shop on the A show Hunter/Jumper circuit.
Travelling thirty five weeks a year didn't leave much time for models. Despite that, I kept up with the hobby through various magazine subscriptions, and during quiet moments, I'd often find myself daydreaming about little horses and little saddles.
Not surprisingly, I started making good on those daydreams as soon as my tack shop days were over. I bought some new horses, made some better tack and used my second Nikon to take a whole bunch of performance photos, which I showed with great success in the Original Finish Collectors' Club point only shows.
Then, Seth and I moved to Colorado...
and I discovered a whole new hobby passion--live showing.
Even though my show string wasn't very competitive, I loved everything about live shows. The horses! The people! The tack! I couldn't get enough of it! At least not until I started having kids. I know a lot of mothers effortlessly juggle babies and competition, but I wasn't one of them. The kids took over my life completely, and I didn't go to another live show for nearly six years
I did not, however, drop out of the hobby. Instead, I changed my focus from competing to creating. During this time, I made and sold a lot of tack.
The money helped pay the bills and also allowed me to upgrade my showstring. The original finish Breyers were replaced with hand-painted customs and resins. When I returned to showing in 2006, I was no longer an also ran.
Since then, my models have introduced me to some of my favorite people...and places.
They've also helped me rediscover a passion for writing...
and allowed me to realize some of my best childhood dreams.
What started as a simple toy has become so much more. My model horses have been my friends, my art, my inspiration. They've decorated my shelves, paid my bills and helped me build the life I have today. I don't know what the future holds, but I do know this: I can't imagine my life without model horses in it. Their function may change over time, but their presence is a constant. Other people may leave the hobby, but I'm a lifer and I'm not going anywhere.