I wrote this post a couple years ago, but it's still just as important today. Enjoy, and Happy Mother's Day! ~ Eleda
The term "Soccer Mom" has become the go-to term for a mother who goes out of her way to make sure her kids get to participate in their favorite activities. Soccer Moms help pick out gear, drive their kids to games, and cheer them on from the stands. They're great.... but Model Horse Moms are even better, and it's time we let them know how much they're appreciated!
Consider this: While the Soccer Mom may ask her daughter if she's got all her equipment in her duffel bag, the Model Horse Mom will run around the house looking for a tiny leather bridle that's gone missing, then help pack dozens of precious models in fabric or foam for the trip to a show that's probably hours away. To do this, she has gotten up at 5am because the doors open at 8!
The Soccer Mom will drive her daughter to the game, hand her the equipment bag, then find a place in the stands to watch. The Model Horse Mom has no such luxury... Upon arrival at the show, she'll help wheel or carry totes of models inside, then help set up the display table, treating every model like it was made of gold. She'll run back to the car for things that got missed, and scavenge bits of paper to make emergency tags when they've been forgotten. There's no rest during the show, either... Models are coming out of one ring while going into another, so she's being sent to retrieve models, remove tack, and let's not forget going out in the rain for the all-important "Lunch Run." Our Moms are awesome.
After the show, even though she's been running all day, it's now supper time and she faces a two-hour drive home, she helps with all the packing just as carefully as she did in the morning, and listens attentively to stories about the show all the way home. Oh, and did we mention that it was Mom who helped sew costumes for the riders and repair that Arabian costume in the weeks before the show?
Even away from shows, Model Horse Moms are super-heroes. They can catch a falling model with one hand, spot a Breyer from fifty feet away at an antique shop, and stand toe-to-toe with the best hagglers to secure a great price on a model.
MY mom put up with years of showing. She made costumes for the handlers, helped tack up horses, and never once complained about driving two hours in the snow to get to the last show in a series. She touched up eartips while I set up for a class, retrieved horses from the ring and started packing while I finished the last classes of the day. During quiet times, she walked around and talked with other show-ers, often coming back to tell me that so-and-so has a red dun Cantering Welsh Pony for sale that I'd been looking for.
[1988 Model Show in Somersworth, NH, back in the 1990s. This is the only show picture with my mom in it... half off-screen, probably handing me a model for the next class. They always seem to stay in the background, don't they?]
Much of my collection has been acquired thanks to my mom. Birthdays and Christmases have always included models, and countless trips to local antique shops and flea markets account for many more. While I have finally come to the point in my collection that I've begun to sell certain models to make room for others, there are some that I'll never sell because they come with memories of Mom excitedly pointing across a store and whispering, "Breyer!"
[Mom with me and the real-life Stormy at Chincoteague Pony Ranch in 1985. It was the trip of a lifetime for a horse-loving kid! She and Dad drove me all the way down from Maine to see the Pony Swim and meet Misty's family.]
One story from just this winter sums up how awesome Model Horse Moms (and mine in particular!) are. I was working at the store when I got a phone call from Mom, who was in Florida at the time. Instead of hello, the conversation started with, "Hopalong Cassidy on his horse - $30. Yes or no?"
Once I figured out who was calling and why, I answered instinctively, "Is it Breyer or Hartland?" (I didn't know if she KNEW it was Hopalong, or if some seller was telling her it was.) From there, it went:
I can only imagine the look on the man's face! ... The rest of the story is that she talked him down from $30 to $20 because "the tail looks funny," and brought home a $350 Near Mint Hartland Hopalong Cassidy and Topper set! She told me I can sell it if I like, but with a story like that, he's staying right here. I love you, Mom.
Here's to all the Model Horse Moms out there who have helped make us the collectors we are! You are all heroes to us! Happy Mothers Day to all of you!
If you have a great Model Horse Mom, please feel free to comment with a thank-you or story about how your mom helped you become the horse-person you are today. Then, when your comment goes live, share the link with her, so she knows how much she's appreciated!