Model Horse Showing – Why I Stopped

Model Horse Showing – Why I Stopped

Last week I told y’all all about my favorite aspect of model horse showing, performance classes.  After showing all the pictures of my miniature kingdom and how much I loved it, today I’ll be touching on why I stopped showing and collecting as a hobby.

Most adventures that were met with such enthusiasm don’t end abruptly, but I remember sitting in my house when we first moved to Texas after Breyerfest and staring at my shelves of models and props.  I briefly thought about checking the message boards, or looking online for a new live show coming up… but then I thought about my horse at the time.  I also thought about a new camera that I wanted but couldn’t afford (the same Canon 60D I shoot with now)… and the model collection started going up for sale that weekend.


Of course, I didn’t sell a collection I put tons of money, creativity and time into for the past several years on a whim – here were some of my reasons.

Gotta Have More Mentality

I believe this is a symptom of all collectors, but being in the model world you see a lot of people that are never satisfied with what they actually have.  There is so much buzz on the newest Breyer or artist resin.  Everyone has a want list.  There’s a hobby habit called “collecting a conga” where people will try to get as many OF (factory finish) horses in a certain mold as possible with the goal being have every color ever made.


I had a main Cigar (Breyer Traditional race horse) conga, and found myself creating several mini ones.


There’s nothing wrong with “collecting them all” or wanting new things, but I try to be a person that is content with my needs in life versus constantly chasing the wants.  I have a bit of an addictive personality and am not the best financial planner, so when I found myself buying models I wasn’t even sure I liked at the end of the day… I was a little alarmed.  Basically, it got very tiring to be on this constant search for something that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.  Not everyone in the hobby is like this, but there are some who don’t seem to ever be satisfied and I was worried that was becoming me.

The Cost

I touched on this on some previous posts, but you’d be shocked at how expensive these little buggars can be.  I did as much DIY of my props, tack and painting as I could but still ended up buying a lot of performance related props, tack and dolls.


After showing locally for a year, I wanted to be able to “play with the big boys” and go to some of the major shows across the country.  At shows that level, my “budget friendly” performance wasn’t really cutting it.  It isn’t unusual for a CM/AR performance entry to have..

  • $200+ Horse
  • $200+ Doll
  • $300+ Saddle/Bridle
  • $200+ Other Tack Accessories
  • $200+ Jump/Diagram
  • Total Entry Cost: $1100?  $1200?  Who knows!

Now not every entry was certainly that expensive and I’m sure some were way, way more… but you get an idea of the cost of a highly competitive entry.  I should mention that some of the props that cost that much could be used for more than one set-up, but really it’s not a cheap hobby.  When I looked at the kind of money it would take to be openly competitive, my wallet hurt a little.



If I didn’t want to fork over some major cash for national level props, tack and horses… I needed to learn to make them myself.  I was okay at making these things, but not great.  I can’t begin to describe to you the amount of hours people like Jennifer Buxton put into their craft in order to make such fine works of art.  Me?  I’m just not that patient.  At the end of the day, I wasn’t willing to put that much time into the hobby in order to become as good as I needed to be.


Poor Sportsmanship

Like any hobby or sport, there are great people and then there are bad apples.  Most of the hobby people I met were great.  I mean super friendly, knowledgeable people that were kind and friendly to me when I needed it.  On the other hand, one example of really bad sportsmanship kind of scarred me to the point I will share it with you briefly.


Once in Massachusetts I volunteered to judge performance at a model show.  When you judge, it’s almost always 100% volunteer.  You don’t get paid and you also don’t get to show in the division you are judging (in this case, my favorite).  Still, it’s a great way to give back to the hobby… that is until you have people who ruin it for you.  To make a long story short, there was a model in an awkward stance of gait and I made a call as to which gait it was going.  Looking back, it wasn’t the right decision, but I left a feedback post-it-note on the entry with suggestions on how to fix for future classes.  It was quite obviously one of the priciest set-ups on the table, and the owner was not pleased at my decision.  For the rest of the day, her and her friend snickered at me and rolled their eyes at me and pretty much ruined my experience.  I was shocked.  These were not kids.

I wish I could say that this was the only time I saw people getting upset over plastic ponies, but it was not.  Stuff like that really takes the fun out of it for everyone, and when some high stake (expensive) prizes were on the line I caught myself getting upset and moody (though I sure hope I did not show this outwardly) about a model placing low at a show.  When I felt that way, I knew it was time to step back.


Real vs Model

I remember a conversation I had with a few friends at a model show near Boston where the question came up in conversation, “Would you give up models in order to ride real horses?”  While they said they preferred the model world, my answer was an immediate yes. Real horses over models, always.  I guess at the end of the day, the models were mostly a filler for me to keep horses in my life during a time of no horses.

When I sold my collection, I was able to pay off my credit card and buy a nice camera… which I used to take pictures of my real horse.  I still enjoy looking at the new model horses that come out and I enjoy model horse blogs, but I don’t have the compulsion/desire to collect them all like I used to.  I don’t think I will necessarily be out of the hobby forever, but for now I’m still very happy with my decision to step out for a while and enjoy the smell and feel of my real life Breyer 😉

Also, don’t forget about the giveaway of a little pack of Novice Live Show Quality or Photo Show Quality prizes. I’m drawing the winner in one week and I’ve found some more fun goodies to add including a beautiful stock horse medallion painted by Laura Skillern and another adorable SM custom!  Use the widget below to enter for your chance to win these fabulous prizes (and maybe some other surprises)!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

12 thoughts on “Model Horse Showing – Why I Stopped

  1. All these things I feel happen in every hobby and when you have so many varying interests its time to set priorities. Same goes for the poor sports, soooo many poor sports in riding too.

  2. While I never showed model horses, I was an avid collector of Breyers from childhood through high school. In high school I was mostly interested in special edition or antique models. Now, of course, I have a huge collection (I’m guessing ~60 models? Maybe that’s not huge in showing world but IDK?) that has been bubble wrapped in my parent’s attic for years. How easy is it to sell the models? Do you have any advice? I need a new lens for my camera and your post has me somewhat inspired! 😀

  3. Yikes, sad that people can be so snotty!!

    I was never into these horses but I can see how they can be all consuming, I mean look at our real horses ha!

  4. Geesh even in the model horse world the saddle STILL costs more than the horse! :0

    I had a very similar experience the first time I was asked to help decorate a course for our schooling show back when my parents and sister had the farm I board at now. Long story short I made a few jumps look more like “eventer” jumps and not hunter(y) jumps. I remember two Moms in particular who would deliberately raise their voices as I walked by to discuss how their daughter’s horses never refused any jumps until this show, etc, etc, and then glance over at me to make sure I got it. Whatever people!! They didn’t even know I’d been the one to decorate. They just knew I was somehow associated with the farm. All I could think was I wonder how spoiled their kids are?

  5. I hear ya. I put on my own live show for two years. The second year, there were some glitches in the show that I could not have predicted. The show did go on and ran fine, however. About 2 weeks after the show, I get an envelope with no return address (but I was able to figure out who it was by looking at the postal stamp), inside the envelope was the ribbons this lady had won at my show and a note that said “Your show was despicable.” I was pretty hurt. As you know, those shows take A LOT Of time, effort and money to put on. And to have this lady be so ungrateful and RUDE. I was done after that, I never hosted another show. F her.

  6. I’ve always liked the idea of collecting, but when I look at how much some of those Breyer accessories costs, I always opt for real instead. Some of those little “guys” cost the same as the real deal. Real is definitely more fun than miniatures (for now). Maybe when I am too old and rickety to ride, I’ll collect miniatures. :0)

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