Sunday, June 7, 2020

Being Black in the model horse community

Here's another powerful essay about what it's like to be Black in the model horse community. Thank you, Natalie Nimblette for allowing me to share your words here. 

Being Black in the Model Horse Community

by Natalie Nimblette

Yup. I'm Black. Mixed European and Caribbean heritage specifically. I've been pretty quiet during all of this. I'm finding that it's been dredging up a lot of stuff that I normally can keep buried and forgotten. But I wanted to share a little of my experiences and write in the context we all share - model horses.
Now, I'm lucky in lots of ways and I've not had anything truly awful happen to me. I get followed in shops a lot to check I'm not stealing, occasionally I overhear things or get the n-word shouted at me from passing cars. Once a woman clutched her bags and practically ran into a shop after glancing back and seeing me in my hoodie behind her. So far, so pathetically normal.

But it's been enough that the very first time I walked into a live show, holding my box of horses, and noticed immediately I was the only Black person in the room - I tensed up. It was a completely involuntary reaction as I was filled with insecurities.

Will I be questioned why I'm here?
Will I be accepted as a true member of the hobby?
Will my horses be judged unfairly, just because they're mine?
These were the thoughts that raced through my mind as I wavered on the doorstep.

In my four years of live showing since, I have NEVER felt alienated by the community. I have always felt welcome and accepted and I love all my weird hobby friends very much.
Natalie's 2018 NaMoPaiMo model making her show ring debut
The point is that the Black Lives Matter is much more than a protest against police violence to me. Being Black is an experience. An experience defined by always keeping a wary eye open. Of instinctively putting up defensive barriers because you're the only black person in the room. I look forward to the day this changes.

Again, I'm just a small mixed race girl in a small English town and yet - it creeps into Every. Single. Aspect. Of. My. Life. including model horses.

Thanks for listening to my voice. Thanks to the white allies in the hobby for being loud and supportive when I am too emotionally drained to get involved. Black Lives Matter. That is all.


  1. So glad to see this. The thanks goes back to you, for sharing. It would be grand to have a real rainbow in this hobby in the future; I completely agree on that one.

  2. Thank you for this essay Natalie. The only way to improve ourselves is to listen and learn from others. and thank you Jennifer for amplifying these voices. Black Lives Matter