Sunday, December 31, 2023

Wrapping Up 2023

I wish I could have gotten more done this week, but my back was definitely not cooperating. One of the first things I am going to do when everyone gets back to business this week is finally make an appointment with the doctor and see if anything else can be done for it, beyond what I am already doing. 

They finally released a hype-free video of the entire 2024 Stablemates Club lineup. I’m a little meh on the Cassidy mold and Gambler’s Choice Foal. I think it’s mostly because Duns don’t photograph very well, so they look a little drab compared to the rest of the lineup. To me, at least. 

I also did a quick skim of the videos posted on Collector Club News page; I know for a fact that I am in at least one of their promotional videos from the 1990s. I know it exists because I had a coworker say “I saw you on TV!” after he got back from a vacation in Colorado, several months after the BreyerFest where I was filmed.  

A friend and I were asked to look at some horses in a class at BreyerFest Live back when it was still in the Covered Arena, and pretend to comment/critique them. None of these videos appear to have that footage in them, fortunately, but I also zoomed through them pretty fast, so I may be wrong....

The only other historical tidbit I can offer is that the gentleman narrating the 1990 Breyer Factory Tour video is Werner Fleischmann, founder of Reeves International, and Tony Fleischmann’s Dad. 

I managed to escape the temptations of the Reeves Warehouse Sale, mostly by doing a little of my own inventory this week. One phrase kept popping into my head as I was wading through all the models and paperwork:

Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it. 

It really was one of those years for me: Test Colors, Rarities, Variations, Gloss Prize Models. Just about the only thing I didn’t get this year was a vintage BreyerFest Auction Test Piece, and all y’all know how that turned out…

But seriously, I need to sell a ridiculous amount of stuff in 2024, and I’m not going to get too worried about the prices they ultimately sell for. (Heck, I was going to donate some stuff to Toys for Tots, but again, my schedule got in the way…) Some mistakes were made, and I have to own up to some of them: the physical and mental space are worth more than the money I might potentially “lose”. 

As far as next year’s hobby goals, aside from selling a bunch of stuff, it’s pretty short: I want to finish some of my Customs, and enter at least one contest at BreyerFest. I’d prefer it to be the Customs Contest, but since I’m going to be elbow-deep in quilting and sewing projects until at least the end of January, that one might be a stretch. 

I will also squeeze a few live shows in there, too, but BreyerFest Live is definitely off the table. I am not crazy.

Personal, non-model goals are pretty much the same: lose weight, eat better, save more money, take better care of myself, and try to work on my communication skills. My non-BreyerFest vacation goals are still up in the air; I’m hoping they’ll become clearer by the end of January. (Fingers crossed, Oklahoma City!)

And that’s about it for the year. Off to work on another bajillion piece quilting project. Four blocks pieced, just another 95(!) to go. I thought this quilt was a good idea why?

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Once More, With (A Little) Less Feeling

To clean up a bit of business from the previous comment section:

I have some sensory issues related to food texture and sound. You’re not going to notice the food issues unless you bring a dish to a potluck and find me avoiding it. It’s only a handful of things – like custard-based desserts, and bananas. I am otherwise a very unpicky eater, at least flavor-wise. (I like the taste of bananas, for instance. But don’t ask me to eat one! Weird, I know…)

My reactions to certain sounds are much more noticeable: I have misophonia. I will walk away from people with extremely high-pitched voices, and if someone is chewing gum, I have been known to tell them to their faces that I find it disgusting. And song “remixes” are absolute torture to me. All of these things hurt my ears, raise my blood pressure, and sometimes even trigger a “fight or flight” response. 

So if someone’s social media style incorporates any of those elements into their online presence/persona, I will absolutely turn it off and I will not apologize for it. Most of the time I can access the information elsewhere, so it’s primarily a “me” problem, but if they make content exclusive to some of the more exuberant influencers, me and others like me may miss out, and that could be a problem in the future. 

It almost – but I don’t think quite – rises to the level of ableism. The information was not time-critical, and it was eventually available elsewhere. 

Anyway, back to actual model stuff. 

I am not entirely surprised by the selection of the Stablemates Donkey mold as the Gambler’s Choice for 2024: he’s both cute and popular. Some hobbyists are upset that he’s little, as if the amount of plastic being used has some significant bearing on his perceived value. 

The only thing that kind of weirds me out about him is that he’s one of a handful of molds who have crossed categories. He originally started out as an accessory to various Stablemates gift and play sets, but because of his popularity crossed over into being an individual release with his inclusion in the Spirit: Riding Free Blind Bags in 2017. My mind still thinks of him as an accessory.

Another model that switched/switches categories is Merrylegs: originally designed as a part of the Classic-scale Black Beauty Family Gift Set, the mold has frequently been issued as a de facto Traditional-scale Miniature Horse. 

My problem with Merrylegs, however, is entirely due to the fact that the darn thing is tipsier than The Black Stallion and Pacer combined – at least in my experience. Except for my Test Color Merrylegs, all the others I own are currently in storage to keep her from being the chaos agent that she is. 

Let’s see, I probably should open the last of this year’s shipment, Brio and Nero:

Nothing anybody hasn’t seen before; I am rather pleased that they’re continuing with the Roman Emperor naming scheme with the Draft Horses. And I like Brio a little bit more in person than the original photos, but I still think I’ll like him even more in a solid color.

This came as a complete surprise to me, and as a gift from another kindly benefactor: a Silver Charm Alborozo. I had been aware of some of the items I was being sent (which will be featured in at least one more upcoming post), but this one left me speechless:

As you know, I haven’t had the best luck even finding blind bags in these parts, much less Chase pieces, and I haven’t had any luck with throwing in random ones into some of my online orders, either. I haven’t given up so much as surrendered to my fate: if I happen to stumble upon them in my infrequent shopping excursions, that’s great, but if I don’t, I’m not going to sweat it. 

And then stuff like this happens. 

Monday, December 25, 2023

Christmas Day Ramblings

Alas, I did not win the (char)Coal lottery this year. In fact, I received my least favorite of the four attainable colors, the Red Filigree:

Meh, oh well. It’s been a pretty good year model-wise, I guess I shouldn’t complain; I need to save my luck for Oklahoma City, right? 

I will say that I do like the sparkly-glittery paint they used on these guys, and will look forward to seeing it on other molds more to my liking in the future – maybe something a little more vintage? I could definitely use a few more Five-Gaiters in my life, for instance…

I am a little baffled that some people are mad that the Coal is not solid glossy black? My guess is that since the Huckleberry Bey mold has come in several Black and Black-adjacent colors (my favorite being the lovely Polaris!) that they wanted to go with something a little more Decorator-y, and Charcoal was the logical choice.

I know he is not a “true” Charcoal – his hooves are gray, not pink or tan, and he has no bald face, either – but it works on him, and I’d take him in a heartbeat (as would most people lucky enough to receive one.) Especially since I only have a handful of Hucks here – including two variations of the Celebration Horse Atlantis Bey V, and Polaris.

As it is, I’m not quite sure what to do with my Wassail; I am elbow deep in quilting projects at the moment (I just finished one, yay!) and selling things just isn’t that big a priority for me for the next several months, and I do not have energy enough to arrange a trade. 

This is also why I decided to not take the plunge on the latest Grab Bags. Some of the stuff in them is better than the past few rounds – like SM Club models, Web and Store Specials, and Chadwick, et al – but adding more to my sales pile was a definite turn off. 

Hmm, that reminds me – I still need to renew my Stablemates Club subscription! The latest reveal – a G3 Thoroughbred named Dylan in that same, peculiar new style of dappling first seen on Anamar – isn’t necessarily my cup of tea, but I like the rest of the releases so far, so rejoining is a no-brainer.  

However, I would like to register a formal complaint about the unboxing video for the Polo Pony release Newport. It was unwatchable!

Due to my schedule and my lifestyle, my consumption of social media is currently limited to YouTube videos of hoarder house cleanups and crafting drama. (You think model horse drama is bad? Yarn drama will destroy you!) While I’ve sampled some model horse social media on occasion, I’ve found most of it way too intense and hyperbolic for my tastes. 

Yes, I know some of it is that this content is tailored to a younger audience’s sensibilities and not mine. I also have some minor sensory issues related to certain sounds, and most of the information that can be gleaned from it can be found elsewhere, so I tend to avoid most of it out of habit. Since it was basically a new mold reveal, I thought I’d try to stick it out. 

But seriously, I had to tap out about 15 seconds into it and go looking for screen shots. That... was bad.

Friday, December 22, 2023

The Narrative

Way to ruin the narrative guys…

Since this is like the fourth, fifth or sixteenth draw, I’m not sure this even counts as pull from the waitlist anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely taking him, but it all seems so anticlimactic now, like being told you can eat that last piece of birthday from a party held three days ago you weren’t invited to in the first place. 

I mean, I will say yes to cake always, but it definitely feels weird.  

There’s been a lot of news in the past several days and I’m not quite sure where to begin; I suppose I should begin with the giant elephant in the room: the Spokes & Spurs Exclusive Event.

Remember how I was telling you how my vacation plans for next year were so completely messed up I had to come up with an alternative to my alternative plan? Not only would this event fit perfectly into the alternative plan I had been cooking up, it is almost like it was planned with me in mind. 

Originally I wanted to go to the Kentucky Derby, but unfortunately so did a couple million other people, and because my back still hurts and I am super-judgey right now, my mind imagines (mostly unfairly, I know) that many who did secure tickets either don’t know one end of a horse from another, or cannot even rattle off three random Kentucky Derby winners off the tops of their heads. Grr, argh….

(If on the slender but not impossible [for once!] chance that the Detroit Lions make it to the Super Bowl, I am not going to stand in the way of people who have been waiting since 1957. That would just feel mean.)

I did not get picked for the ticket lottery, and due to a series of unfortunate events, I did not find out about the public part of the sale until five days after it happened. All that’s left now are infield (drunk people), box seats (nobody I know who wants to go has the money to split one with me), insanely expensive luxury seats, and scalpers (both self-explanatory). So yeah, unless a miracle happens, I will not be attending.  

My backup plan was San Diego Comicon.

(Yes, I can hear you laughing.)  

The backup to the backup plan was Iceland, but since one of my cousins expressed an interest also, that’s going to require more planning and coordination.

Which left me with… the Redneck Roadtrip Redo. My family had a weird, epic roadtrip to the Southern parts of the U.S. in the summer of 1979; it was the closest thing our working class family had to a “real” vacation, and included stops at Graceland, Lexington, Nashville and Little Rock, Arkansas. Other than Lexington – where I got to go to the Kentucky Horse Park for the first time, and met Forego – a lot of the places I wanted to visit along the way were nixed. 

I always thought that someday I’d redo that roadtrip, but do it right. Dig for diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park! Take my picture in front of the post office in Gurdon, Arkansas! Actually go inside of Graceland! (Technically it wasn’t even open to the public in 1979.) And other stops Dad didn’t bother to slow down for, for reasons both known and unknown.

(Known: my always impeccably-dressed Grandmother wasn’t going to go digging in the dirt for anything, even diamonds.) 

I had thought about taking this roadtrip the week before or after the Derby, as a way of both avoiding and thumbing my nose at the Derby festivities I will be missing out on, and because life is too short to be hate-watching anything anymore anyway. 

Combining this roadtrip with an Exclusive Event in the middle of it would be perfect. But will it actually happen? 

Tuesday, December 19, 2023


I spent an hour last night rationalizing how I wasn’t going to buy the Christmas Surprise model unless it was Emma, and like the fool that I am I bought one anyway.


My rationale now is that since it’s Huck Bey, he’ll be easy to sell if I don’t happen to love whatever one I get. And since I am also going to attempt (AGAIN) to go on a budget diet next year, I figured this is going to be my last “wild and crazy” splurge for a while. 

I don’t know why they’re doing it this way this year: early, and without pictures. I am assuming it is both inventory- and staff-related: I used to work in the inventory services industry, and a lot of companies do their physical inventories at the very end of the year, and the more stuff they can get out the door before December 26th, the better. 

Reeves doesn’t directly employ as many people as you think they do, and most people do not particularly enjoy doing inventories, even if it is their job, or part of it. (I did but, well, it got complicated at the end.)

No selling scenario Reeves can come up with can be entirely fair, no matter what any hobbyist out there thinks. Every scenario can and will be gamed, and not everyone can have equal access or equal luck all the time ever. (Yes, even random draws!)

I’m annoyed as heck that I struck out all three times with the draws for Garret – a model I personally campaigned for! – but I accepted my fate and moved on. 

You either choose to play, or you do not. That’s all there really is to this. For some strange reason (I blame both the back pain and the weather) I decided to play. If there is any silver lining to this, it’s that this marketing changeup will allow more people time to participate, and the ability to consider the purchase, rather than simply relying on impulse and timing.

I spent a lot of time last night considering the purchase and did it anyway. I’d like to think that was my intuition talking, but let’s get real here: even this year, my luck has not been that good. If it was, I’d be hanging out on Fiji like the guy who won two billion dollars in the lottery, and not giving two thoughts about a plastic horse on the Internet.

(Other than shopping for a BreyerFest Party Bus because really, what’s the point of having all that money if you can’t just randomly rent a party bus for all your friends?)

I take a little grim amusement in the fact that people were mad when Reeves first started selling special items on Christmas Day. And now they are mad they are not. And entertaining some odd fantasies that it will not sell out because of their ire.

There are far better things to direct your anger towards. 

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Sharing is Caring

Although I think I am through the worst of the cold, I have to say that I am very sick of being sick. The past two months have been plagued by insomnia, gastrointestinal issues, back pain and (this week) a nasty cold. 

I am trying to accept it as a slow-motion system crash and hoping that once the cold has run its course, the rest of the year will be both painless and productive. (The heating pad I bought for my office chair gets to stay, though. Why didn’t I buy one of these before?)  

As it is right now I barely have the energy to open up my mail when I get home. So many tempting packages sitting at the foot of my bed; I may just end up saving them all for Christmas anyway.

The Collector’s Club Appreciation Sale sold out a little faster than I anticipated; my guess is that there were fewer pieces available than I suspected. I wasn’t tempted – too much stuff here people, way too much stuff – but looking at the Traditionals they now have in production, I fear I might bite the bullet next year: Mojave, Zorah Belle and Mooney? I’d be delighted with any one of those in gloss!

I am a little bummed that they’re returning to the mini-display boxes with the Stablemates Club releases next year; I much prefer the eminently reusable two-piece cardboard ones myself. It’s not going to affect the status of my membership. Which I need to renew sometime soon…

Since mobility is still a little bit of an issue for me, here are a few brightening up my very cluttered desk. First, the BreyerFest Horse of a Different Color Dada:

There’s nothing particularly special about this one: I just think he’s a neat little guy and he makes me smile. (As does the art movement that inspired him!) Second up is a NIP Buckskin Quarter Horse Mare with the MEXICO mold mark:

I already had loose examples, but I had been wanting a New in Package example for ages, and she just happened showed up on eBay at an extremely reasonable Buy It Now price earlier this year. Contrary to popular opinion, MEXICO-stamped Quarter Horse Mares are not all that rare, but Vintage NIP Stablemates are definitely a thing right now, especially in this fine of a condition. She was included in my Stablemates Collector’s Class Entry at BreyerFest that took Fifth Place.

And finally, one of the customs I had been working on, before I decided to go all-in on quilting for the rest of the year:

Yup, good ol’ Mesteno: The Messenger! I took him up as both a companion piece to the Mesteno’s Mother custom that is also still languishing on my work table, and as an even more extreme artistic challenge. 

He was the experimental piece that ended up in my BreyerFest Free Box, but I either came to my senses or lost them again, and fished him back out. He still has lots of problems that I probably won’t get around to fixing until Spring, but I am rather pleased at my progress, and wanted to share with the group. 

(His tail is just loosely taped on; it won’t be reattached until I’m finally happy with the resculpting.)

Tuesday, December 12, 2023


My apologies for my absence: in addition to the back problems, I have also acquired a cold. I am significantly better today than yesterday, but it will be a couple more days before I’m back to my sassier self.

The biggest bummer is that I have been unable to work on any of my various quilting projects: the motivation and inspiration are there, but the Nyquil has been putting the kibosh on my ability to get anything meaningful done.  

I was also not selected from the alleged waitlist for Garret. I think it’s the predictability of it that’s bothering me more than anything; it reminds me of elementary school gift exchanges and door prizes, when I was so often the last person picked from the random draws that by the sixth grade I had begun to dread it.

The only time this terrible superpower worked for me was when a friend of mine held a live show and the last door prize selected was actually the best: I don’t think she knew my history with such things, but it definitely made my day, and I will never forget that kindness.

And speaking of kindness, thank you for the offers to sell your Garrets at cost to me; I’m fine, really. I prefer to have my collection grow organically, and it’s clearly not meant to be right now anyway: it’s been a very good year otherwise, and I really need to focus on selling more and buying less. 

For those of you still in the mood to buy more, the Collector’s Club Appreciation Sale is tomorrow, offering the same assortment of models they offered earlier in the year. The WinterFest Trueno and Mouse are also still available while supplies last. 

I am baffled and a little saddened that there were collectors buying Trueno and Mouse secondhand even during the initial sale period. Have collectors become so conditioned to assume that every purchase requires a Collector’s Club membership that they assumed these did as well? 

Always do your research, people; it does not always help, but it never hurts.

And that’s about all the energy I have today; I need to save a little for work.

Friday, December 8, 2023

Delayed Gratification

Yeah, big not-surprise on the Garret here. I’m not even mad anymore, just annoyed. Fine, I’ll take my money elsewhere and buy something else, like (for instance) the Rose Gold Charm Avoriaz, to match my Filigree:

Ah, the good old days, when I could occasionally get picked for 350-piece Web Specials! The new Avoriaz only cost me slightly more than the original, and since I wanted a matched set, buying her was the logical thing to do.

Small correction: I did get Elsa last year, so I am not completely 0-for-everything on the 1000-piece Special Run sweepstakes. I forgot about her because the poor thing is still NIB because I want to display her next to my Hamish, but there’s no room for that right now.

One of the things I’ll be doing over my winter break is a radical reevaluation of a bunch of NIB stuff I’ve stockpiled over the past few years; I’m planning on an absolutely bonkers (SO CHEAP!) room sale at BreyerFest next year with the stuff that doesn’t make the cut.

(Elsa will stick around, though. As will 99 percent of the Stablemates.) 

Yes, I finally got around to watching the Winterfest broadcast; I did skip through the workshop clips because I’m still having a hard time sitting for extended periods of time, and if I do want to watch them, they’re still available through the end of the month.

I am kind of tempted to do a Mari Lwyd on one of my bazillion FAM bodies, but the actual doing of it may not happen until I finish a few dozen more old sewing projects. 

This isn’t necessarily a criticism, but an observation: the inaugural WinterFest felt more like an extended QVC segment, rather than the miniature, Winter-themed online BreyerFest I was imagining. 

I was also little bit bummed they didn’t have any themed merchandise – instead of the usual t-shirts and water bottles, they could have done seasonally appropriate sweatshirts and coffee mugs, or maybe included a little goodie or two with purchase, like a magnet, stickers or hot chocolate. 

(Especially magnets and stickers!)

But it was fine for what it was; for a lot of us hobbyists in the more northern climes, the Winter season is sort of a dead time where we don’t get to do a lot of in-person socializing with our hobby peeps, and online communal events like this are appreciated. 

With that thought in mind, it looks like I’ll be taking the last week of the year off to rest and recuperate (from work, the back injury, just life in general) so I’ll be available to hang out/paint Stablemates/eat cookies/gossip if anyone needs it or wants it – your place or mine. 

Well, maybe more yours than mine – like I said, there are a lot of unopened boxes here that need attending to. Unless you want to help sort with me.

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Spotting Things

Welp, I bought stuff over the weekend anyway, but not from WinterFest. I got this guy instead, because he was (a) on sale, (b) the 15 percent off offer also worked on him, and (c) after I tossed in some show pouches because I needed them anyway, shipping was free! 

Every time I saw the Ideal Appaloosa in the wild – a couple of times at the Tractor Supply, and once at one of my local toy store haunts – he kept catching my eye, but I was a little hesitant to lay out the cash, or acknowledge the fact that I now seem to be collecting the mold (he would be number four!) But for the same price I would have paid locally, I got some “free” pouches, and I couldn’t pass that deal up…

So even if I don’t get a Garret – which, considering my luck lately with the larger piece Special Runs, is not out of the realm of possibility – at least I have one package coming in the mail.

And it may also cover whatever transpires with the Christmas Day Special, which in light of the WinterFest revelation that it’s going to be a Moody mold, I simultaneously fear and hope it really is Emma. (This could also mean Rain or Ethereal, but Ethereal has already had one Gambler’s Choice, so maybe not…) With the hours I keep at work, sleeping in could also happen, like it did the year of Spice Drop. 

Special Runs, Oddities and Test Colors on the realistic Deer Family are something of a rarity. All of the previous releases from their introduction in 1964 going forward have been some shade of brown or tan, with various amounts of detailing. 

I do have a few oddities, including a Chalky Plastic Buck, a Fawn without spots that was part of a larger collection in Arizona that may or may not have been related to Breyer’s attempt to relocate production to Mexico (probably not, but close enough to make me go hmm...) and a Doe that came with the Fawn that’s shaded a little bit different than the standard paint jobs of the era.

I know most hobbyists would have preferred an entire Deer Family, but I wouldn’t rule out the rest of the family turning up soon, especially since the molds technically have an anniversary (the sixtieth!) coming up next year, along with the Stretched Morgan and the Belgian. 

The Belgian has already had a couple of recent releases, including the Ponies & Palm Trees Coconut Grove and the TSC Gibson, but the Stretched Morgan has been absent since 2018’s Web Special Kaibab. In fact, he hasn’t had a larger, Regular Run release since the 1990s; all of his subsequent releases have Special Runs, Test Colors, or Club models, with the largest being the Appaloosa Halo from the Vintage Club in 2013.

In other words, he’s due, especially considering how well-received the Troubadour doppelganger was. 

Sunday, December 3, 2023

More About WinterFest

And if you’re wondering if I am excited about the Winter Animal Special Run Garret, I am, but I’m leaving that discussion for next time, hopefully when I’m feeling a little bit better. 

I still have not partaken of any WinterFest-ivities yet; it’s kind of hard to concentrate when your back is yelling obscenities at you. (“You need to sneeze? Good luck with that!”) I decided I really didn’t need either of the Special Runs designated for the event, so “attending” has been a low priority anyway. (Maybe later today?)

I was a little surprised that so many folks insisted on being there when the metaphorical doors opened; I thought it was common knowledge that the quantities made were not small – 3000 pieces! – so a quick sellout seemed pretty unlikely. 

My guess would be that some might have thought other surprises were in store; the thought crossed my mind too, but I wasn’t in any condition to worry about it when my alarm went off Friday morning. (Actually getting out of bed was my biggest concern!) 

I think some of it ties into the fact that a lot of hobbyists seem to hold a lot of contradictory notions about the hobby being both unimaginably large and incredibly small. And they are not 100 percent wrong: there are a lot of people who just collect, or who participate in the hobby in the privacy of their homes, but the actual number of people who are highly engaged is relatively small. 

And when I mean highly engaged, that includes live showing, photo showing, attending hobby events, customizing, making tack, blogging or vlogging, on a regular basis. 

Even events that are ostensibly designed for low-engagement collectors and hobbyists, like WinterFest, are not necessarily going to draw the majority of them in: in fact, I’m sure quite a few of them are completely clueless about it. 

I’ve spoken to a number of more casual collectors, for instance, who were utterly unaware of the existence of the virtual component of BreyerFest. Considering how much effort Reeves puts into advertising the event on its web site, via other social media, in their catalogs and other ephemera, you’d think knowledge of the event would be inescapable, and you would be wrong.

I think the WinterFest models will sell out eventually: the price points and quantities available are comparable to other seasonal, limited edition models. The only difference between them and the other “Holiday” Special Runs like Tinsel, Mittens and Wintergreen is that they are specifically tied to an event – and we know exactly number of models available. 

(And also free postage in the U.S. is being offered on the WinterFest items? I didn’t put any in my cart to confirm.)

I don’t know how many of the “Holiday” models were made, but it wouldn’t be surprised if it was less than 3000. And except for the Stablemates, they’re all still available.