At the tender age of 10, I never could have imagined the journey that I was about to embark upon with model horse collecting. We all started the same way, I suppose. Somehow we ended up with a Breyer model horse whether it was a birthday, Christmas or special occasion gift usually given to us by our parents. That first model started us down a path as we looked at that horse and thought there was nothing more beautiful to behold. Remember how excited you felt knowing this was yours and it probably came with a small booklet featuring the other models you could now add to your beginner collection?
As a beginner you would play with your horses, creating all kinds of scenarios. You looked through the catalog everyday trying to decide which one you wanted to ask mom and dad for next. As your collection grew, you would mark off the box in the catalog next to the model you just received. Your goal was to collect that whole darn booklet! Our poor parents must have realized a little too late what they had started because those models were not inexpensive. It was and still is a treat to get one.
Over time your collection grew and they were probably lined up on a shelf in your room, on your bureau, nightstand, where ever you could place one. Now you were starting to value your collection a little more and changing from a novice collector to an intermediate one. Perhaps you stopped playing with them or if you did play with them you were careful not to let them touch one another so they would not get scratches or scuff marks. You displayed them so they would not fall over and risk breaking a leg, tail or ear. Maybe you even began to leave them in their boxes and just looked at them through their protective plastic window.
As an intermediate collector, you tried to learn all you could about these model horses. You knew their mold names, like the Standing Arabian Stallion or Family Arabian Stallion, both different models. You were more focused on which models you wanted next and you may even have had a list of horse names on which you jotted down which model went with which name! I named my black Standing Morgan “Dr. Pepper” and I had names like, “Painted Desert, King, Sham, Fire & Ice, Graydon, Daposun” and hundreds more. I still have that list of names written on notebook paper from so many years ago now. At this level of collecting you might even have started showing your horses in halter shows or pleasure classes. Your collection may be over 100 models strong, but you are far from the end of this journey!
You start to dig deeper into the model horse world, learning all that you can about collectibility, colors, showing, paint finishes, which models are desirable and why, picking up models at garage sales, outdoor Farmer’s Markets, retail stores, feed stores, veterinary centers and even your local Walmart!
As you grew in age there may have been an interruption in your collecting due to life getting in the way, like college, marriage, kids, careers and other distractions, but eventually, if you returned to collecting, you became an expert. Now you are serious. You are focused on the models that you know are most valuable, paying attention to colors and paint finishes, Special Runs, Limited Editions, various Collector’s Clubs, JAH membership, Web Specials and attending Breyerfest like it’s a religion!
You become immersed in the hobby itself. You may have more than 500 models at this level and there is no end in sight because it’s a lifestyle now. Your family is now caught up in it, even the ones who think they don’t care for horses will find themselves addicted to Breyerfest and the excitement of looking for that “Holy Grail” to add to your collection and most of all the love you feel when you are among fellow horse enthusiasts.
Model horse collecting is not a race, but a journey that usually begins in childhood and continues beyond death because it gets passed down from generation to generation as it seeps into the heart of the true horse lover.