Wednesday, October 9, 2013


This is how my October is going: on Monday, I accidentally picked up a live spider with my bare hands, and it wasn’t even the worst thing that happened to me on that day. Just the worst I can mention in public. (I don’t mind spiders, as long as they don’t invade my personal space. Or pretend to be a piece of lint sitting on my desk.)

On a more pleasant note, I did get a chance to see a Tractor Supply Special Dillon in the wild this week. He did have a couple of smudged spots, which is why he was probably still there. He might still be there, since due to some unwelcome schedule changes (October, see above) I am still way behind in the herd culling process here. No new horses until then, if I can help it, and if Reeves can hold off on the surprises.

One thing that I have managed to make some headway on is in the scanning of a big batch of vintage hobby photos that I received a few months back. There’s nothing groundbreaking or historically significant in what I’ve seen so far, other than a nice smattering of old customs and Chicago-era Test Colors. Most of the photos are either old photo show pix, or from the live show scene in the 1980s, full of goofiness like this:

Top that, NAN!

Even though there doesn’t seem to be any "there" there, I still think it’s important to scan and document everything. Sometimes you need a lot of bits of data to reveal a larger truth, and sometimes we have no idea what that truth is until we step back and assemble the pieces.

Years ago, in college, I took an "Intro to Archaeology" class, partly out of personal interest, but also to fulfill a Social Sciences credit. The professor (Who was a collector, himself! Not horses, though.) related a story about how they were on a dig and recovering potsherds - broken bits of pottery. Pottery is one of the better ways to date archaeological sites: either by its increasing sophistication, or by an already established history taken from similar sites.

Anyway, they were rushed for time, and they made the decision to recover just the decorated potsherds, not the undecorated ones. They were all mixed together, and they figured that the more decorated ones were either more interesting, or more representative of the culture, something like that.

Several months later, as they were reconstructing the potsherds back into pots, they realized that the reason why the plain and fancy potsherds were mixed together was because they were from the same pots. All they could piece together were the decorative bands around the pots, not the pots themselves!

Hence my reasoning behind my "scan/save everything" philosophy. Some of the more humdrum stuff may be important too, and we’re just not seeing the bigger picture yet.

There was one photo did make me do a double take during my scanning yesterday, though. Can you tell why?

(Click to see the much bigger photo, for the details.)

No, it’s not the fact that an Original Finish Alabaster Proud Arabian Stallion won big; it was the 1980s, and our "Arabian Stallions of Traditional Size" options were rather limited.

No, check out who’s standing next to rather nice Alabaster Proud Arabian Mare, in the back: it’s the infamously rare Special Run Black Blanket Pony of the Americas, with the striped hooves! Not an everyday sight - now or then.

(In case you were wondering, he’s one of the few models on my short list that I might actually hurt someone for.)

The second thing I noticed in this picture: the POA didn’t win her class. That’s almost as inconceivable today as a PAS winning a Breed class, but Collectibility was not as big a thing back then.

Yes, it played a part, but we were still at the stage where we weren’t quite sure what was and wasn’t truly rare, and how much that mattered. This was an era where it was still possible to have your Test Colors get beat at a live show by a horse bought off the shelf in an enclosed cardboard box on Friday afternoon before. (Handpicking? Yeah, right!)

Things were a little wilder, woolier and unpredictable back then, and it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Some of the photos that were left behind, on the other hand, are debatable.

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