Sunday, April 28, 2019

Risky business

My husband flies model airplanes.
He is member of the Denver RC Eagles, which maintains a couple runways at nearby Cherry Creek State Park. If the weather is cooperative, that's where he and his friends spend their weekends. 
It's a little bit like going to a model horse show. They load up their toys, take them to the designated meeting spot and fly together.
Except - unlike a model horse show - no one is horrified when things get broken. This is because things get broken all the time.
Sometimes it's just a little broken, but other times it's falling-out-of-the-sky, no-parts-salvageable broken. The latter happened to Seth yesterday. RIP Piper Cherokee. You were a great plane.
These planes can cost as much as our horses, and some of these men - not so much Seth - build their planes from scratch. No one likes it when their plane hits the ground, but they all want to fly so they accept the risk.
Model horse showers could learn something from these men. No matter how careful you may be, there are risks involved every single time you pack up your models and bring them to a show. Some of these involve children, although in all my years of showing, I have yet to experience kid damage first hand.
Well behaved kids at the 2018 Little Tree Youth Show
I have, however, seen a lot of models broken by adults. 
This guy's finishwork was damaged when a judge reached across my table and domino-ed several of my artist resins. 
Fixed! Thank you, Jennifer Scott
This one's ear broke in transport to a show.
Also fixed! Thank you, Jennifer Buxton!
And this one, bless his heart, has broken on the way to every single show he's ever attended. 
Do you ever fill the trunk of your car with totes of models and imagine what it would be like if you were rear ended on the way to the show? I do every single time.
Despite that, I'll keep packing up my models and heading down the road. I love model horse showing. I love being in a room filled with lots of people and lots of models. I realize that some of these people may not be as careful or coordinated as I'd like, and it's possible that one or more of models may be damaged. Of course, I'll try my best to avoid that, but like Seth and his flying friends, I've decided the rewards are worth the risk. 

Saturday, April 27, 2019

We need to do better than this

When I was in college, I volunteered as a side walker for Front Range Exceptional Equestrians (FREE).
I didn't know much about therapeutic riding and assumed that I would be working with kids with physical disabilities. Instead, I was paired with a mostly nonverbal, autistic woman who was older than me. She didn't make eye contact or acknowledge me in any way, and she had a lot of physical and verbal tics. I had never met anyone like her, and for the first session or two, I was very uncomfortable.

Fortunately, that didn't matter much. I was her side walker, but our interaction was fairly minimal. She paid attention to her horse and the instructor, and mostly, I just walked alongside and kept my mouth shut. I did that week after week, and it wasn't long before I realized that I was the one with the problem. My rider may not have been a cute, young horse lover in a wheelchair, but she was was fine. Different, but fine.

And, you know, even though she was mostly nonverbal, she did address her horse by name. Clearly, she was a woman after my own heart.

I have not met Anne Field's son, Travis, but I suspect he's a lot like my rider friend from long ago.
Anne has been taking Travis to model horse shows for more than a decade. He'll be nineteen in June, and he knows the drill. Nearly everyone who has shown in Region X has met Travis, and the consensus is that Travis is a valued and welcome member of the community.

Except... not this weekend.

Earlier this week, the showholder of the Quabbin Valley Performance Open asked Anne not to bring Travis to her show. She justified her decision the way people always justify these kinds of decisions: The hall is filled with valuable, breakable things. Travis might be overwhelmed. Travis might break things.

It's true that he might, but the same could be said for every single person in that hall. I have seen all kinds of things get broken at shows, and usually, the culprit is the owner of the piece in question. Travis has a good track record. There is no reason to believe he would present a greater than normal risk to any of the things at the show. 

I suspect the real reason is that Travis makes the showholder uncomfortable. I get it in a way, because pot kettle black, but what I don't get is making this anyone's problem but her own. And taking it out on Anne and Travis... That's beyond the pale.

I am constantly amazed that a hobby built around toys is so unwelcoming to children. This is not okay. We need to remember that people are more important than things, and inclusive is always better than exclusive. We need to open our hearts and showhalls to everyone who wants to play with plastic horses. We need to do better than this.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Tiny Easter

I made myself a tiny Easter basket.
Then I made some tiny things to put inside it. 
I accidentally made too many tiny things for one basket... 
so I was forced to make another.
Now every pony in the barn wants their own basket!
Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 20, 2019


Even before horses were my favorite animals, Breyers were my favorite toys. I loved everything about them, but especially their realness.
Since childhood, I have always gravitated towards the most realistic, least stylized sculpts. I want my horses to look like horses, not unicorns, pegasi or My Little Ponies.
So it's no surprise that I was more than a little bit intrigued when Maggie Bennett bought the rights to a 3D scan of a real horse and set out to produce it in resin.
"I'm going to need one of those," I thought, but it wasn't until this past March that I finally got around to ordering one.
The next day, I got an email from Maggie's assistant, Beth. 

"Thank you so much for your order!" she wrote. "Maggie casts these as orders are paid and we do them around her micro schedule.  With BreyerWest coming up, we have early micro work to do...  and several orders ahead of yours.  It might be mid April for him to cast and ship.  I hope thats ok!"

Secretly, I was not thrilled. This was supposed to be my instant gratification, treat yo' self horse. I really didn't want to wait a month and a half.

But... I understand this is a business for Maggie. She has to work in the most efficient way possible, plus it's not like I was going to want him any less in April. I told Beth it was fine, and I made my peace with waiting.
What I did not know is that a group of my friends had been conspiring behind my back to buy me a horse for NaMoPaiMo, and the exact horse they'd chosen was Hawk! My purchase temporarily foiled their plans, but Beth's email bought them a little time. They took my Hawk and gave him to Tiffany Purdy. She painted him and brought him with her to Colorado last weekend
How awesome and amazing is that?
Hawkward is my favorite color: Flaxen chestnut with lots of chrome. 
I adore everything about him, from his charmingly awkward stance...
to his goofy gelding expression.
 I am captivated by his real horse lumps and bumps...
and I can't wait to use him in all sorts of 1:9 scale world photo shoots.
Thank you so much, my sneaky friends. I absolutely love this horse. He is just so darn real!

Mr Toad's Wild Ride

I don't buy a lot of model horses. This has less to do with interest or finances and everything to do with space. I live in a small house, and I am slowly but surely running out of room. I have to really want something to justify making space for it.

I really wanted this guy.
Mr Toad's Wild Ride is a Kylee Parks' Tadpole resin painted by Stephanie Blaylock in her signature leopard Appaloosa color.
I fell in love with Mr Toad last year at Rocky Mountain Spring Fling. In fact, I wrote an entire post kidding Stephanie about stealing him.
Earlier this year, Kylee gave out a whole bunch of stablemate sized Tadpoles at her wonderful Super-CALI-Fragilistic show. Stephanie ended up with a couple of those, and since that is her preferred scale, she decided it was time to re-home Mr Toad. She remembered how much I loved him, and gave me first dibs. 
The rest is history.
Thank you so much, Stephanie. I promise the little stinker will have a great home with me!

Friday, April 19, 2019

Friday favorites

Last December, I wrote a Friday Favorites post about Australian artist, Franceyn Dare's adorable "onesie pony."
Man, I loved that pony.
It took all my restraint not to blow my family's entire Christmas budget on her. 
Just look at her. So cute.
A couple months later, I received a message from Franceyn. "Hi Jennifer," she wrote. "I know you are flat out busy with the NaMoPaiMo, but I just wanted to say what an amazing thing it is for the hobby, everyone just adores February and the way it brings everyone together is amazing. I know it is a huge effort on your part! I have "tiny" something that I would like to send to you in appreciation of all that you do... Could you please tell me your favorite colour?"

I was intrigued, but too busy and tired to dwell on it. I dashed off a quick response and more or less forgot about the whole thing.

When I returned home after BreyerWest, there was a box from Australia waiting for me. Inside I found my own little onesie pony.
I don't collect stablemates, but stablemates in pink pajamas with flamingos on them? Sign me up!
I can't get over how cute she is. 
Just look at her!
And as if that wasn't enough. It turns out that Franceyn created a whole herd of tiny onesie ponies.
at them! 
So cute! These were offered for sale on a first come, first serve basis, and they were all claimed instantly.
Thank you, Franceyn. The world needs onesie ponies, and I love mine so much!