Tag Archives: hobby

Judge Others

One of the cool new things I did this year was to start judging at live shows. I’d previously dabbled in judging for an online photo shows series, but I hadn’t yet jumped into judging at live show. I’ve now judged at four shows and am scheduled to judge for at least three shows in 2015.

If you are a live shower, I highly recommend that you get involved with judging. There are many great reasons to judge, for all different kinds of hobbyists. And the hobby needs more judges. It is a common lament of show holders that good judges are hard to find. And often the same judges are available for a region’s shows, which gives showers less variety of opinions and placings.

judging - HHL2012- Barb judging CM Mini Ponies

Why should you judge? To help the hobby. To learn more about breeds and anatomy. To save money on showing. To oogle beautiful models. To be inspired. To have fun!

To learn. I’ve learned a lot about breeds, horses genetics, and anatomy as a customizer and shower. But judging pushed me to even further learning- I have a better working knowledge of breeds and breed types, and I’ve become a better judge of conformation and biomechanics. This in turn is helpful for me as a shower and customizer, as I am better at breed assignment and making a customized horse anatomically accurate.

judging - nwe 2014

To save money. Are live show entry fees a turnoff for you? Learn to judge! Generally judges are granted free entry to the show in the divisions they are not judging. Some shows will also provide lunch and even travel stipends for judged. Save on your entry fee, and you’ve got more cash for shopping and raffles at the show!

judging - nwe 2012 cm-ar mini pony class

To oogle. There are so many beautiful model horses out there, and now you have an excuse to stare at them! It’s a real treat to see so many gorgeous pieces in one place. As a judge, you have the time and the mandate to examine them from every angle! There are some mold sand resins that didn’t tempt me… until I saw them in person! Beware: judging may effect the size of your want list :)

judging - rcl 2013 2

To be inspired. As a customizer, it’s important to see what else is out there. You can learn a lot from looking at other people’s work. I always find judging and showing to be inspiration- I got home renewed with ideas for new techniques to try, and new levels of detail to aspire towards.

judging - NWC 2013

To have fun! I was a little nervous when I judged the first time, but it was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed examining and placing the models. You also get to meet and talk to a lot of people this way, since folks always have questions for the judge. Judging is a great way to really partake in the full show atmosphere.

judging - rcl 2013

Excited yet? If you’re interested in judging, there are several good ways to get started and gain both confidence and reputation. First off, you can start judging photo shows. The online shows like MHOSS and TOPSA are always seeking judges. This is a great, low-key way to try it out in the comfort of your own home.

You can also look for youth divisions at local shows. Youth divisions tend to be smaller, with fewer entries and shorter class lists. They also have a pretty wide variety of quality in terms of entries, which can make it easier to judge. These divisions are extra fun too, since you get to talk to the kids and see their beloved ponies.

judging - SOL 2014

One of my favorite entries in the “Painted by Owner” class in the Sweet Onion Live Youth Division

Another good stepping stone is to judge at a home show. Home shows are smaller and generally more relaxed. It’s a great way for a novice judge to graduate from Youth Division to Open competition. In my experience, people are really excited to have a new judge, and are very welcoming to someone who wants to learn and practice.

I am really glad that I took the plunge to start judging. I’ve learned so much and it has really helped me to improve my own work and entries. I love to talk to other hobbyists, and I love giving back to the hobby! Need a new year’s resolution? Let 2015 be the year where you go forth and give judging a try!

Begin Again

I put this blog on official hiatus last January when I realized that work, moving, and starting at a new barn were keeping me too busy. My models and supplies were put away in preparation for our move, and I spent my weekends at the barn teaching lessons or at home packing boxes.

moving boxes

Helper cat is helpful

We moved into our new home in February. Painting, cleaning, unpacking, and organizing kept us busy. In April my dream came true and we had a studio built into a nook. I eagerly documented the process so I’d be able to share it here.

finished studio

My new studio

At the end of April, I got sick, and I didn’t get better. Once again I found myself turning to models as a mental escape from frustrating exhaustion and depression. I couldn’t ride, but at least I had performance showing goals to work towards in the few hours a day I wasn’t sleeping.

So although I’d meant to start blogging again after we moved in, I didn’t. But I worked toward getting better. By the end of the summer I was feeling well enough to attend a live show. By September I was riding again. Today, I think I’m more or less back to normal, health-wise.

Despite the illness, it’s been a great year. We love our new condo and our urban life. I’m back to my regular hours at work, tackling new and exciting projects. I’m riding regularly and falling in love with a little dun gelding. I’ve had some great hobby successes and have exciting goals for the future.

Sweet Onion Live 2014

Sweet Onion Live 2014

And as of right now, I’m blogging again! I’ve been keeping up with the other hobby blogs during my absence from the blogosphere, and I am constantly excited, inspired, and in awe of other hobbyists’ dedication to sharing their experiences. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today in the hobby without this generosity, and I want to be able to reciprocate. I may not be up to blogging as much as I did before my hiatus, but at least I’ll be posting again.

I particularly want to give a shout out to a couple specific people whose blogging has been inspirational to me over the last few months. To Jennifer Buxton, whose dedication to blogging and willingness to share is unparalleled. To Sarah Minkiewicz-Breunig, whose honest and heartfelt post about her depression and her hobby journey resonated with me deeply- and made me want to buy an OF Breyer. And finally to Grace Ledoux, whose awesome hobby blog I recently discovered, whose mini tack is amazing, and whose thankful note pushed me to finally write this.

Thank you everyone! I’m excited to be back.

thumbs up jump 1 copy

Frustration –> Satisfaction

I have a busy work week before Rose City Live on the 8th, so I wanted to get ahead on packing. I am sure glad I started early, because I found not one but 4 horses that needed repairs! Argh.

I was really peeved at first (especially because it was my clumsiness that added one of those horses to the list) but then I realized that in the big scheme of things, this is not really worthy of exasperation. For one, I had caught everything in time to fix it (not, for example, the night before) and nothing needed major work.

But secondly and more satisfying, I realized I am perfectly capable of fixing all of the problems. I made the horse in the first place, so I can be confident in putting it back on the work bench for repairs. I’m happy that I don’t need to send these guys off to someone else to get repaired- I just added it to my pre-show to do list.

The four models went into the “hospital” on Tuesday, and by today nearly everyone is ready to go. Their fellows are all packed, and the other projects are nearing completion. Hurrah!

About Blogging

I’ve been very busy lately organizing what I coyly referred to in my last post as “a 300 person tech conference.” I was being vague because I felt like the event was not really relevant to the topic of this blog. But I realized that is silly.

This year I helped organize WordCamp Portland. WordCamps are world-wide, community-led conferences centered around the WordPress, an open-source publishing software that anyone can use. Tech-savvy folks can download and install it from WordPress.org, and those of us who don’t want to deal with security and software updates can sign up for free at WordPress.com.

Beer is also an important part of WordCamp Portland, because, ya know, Portland. Photo by Daniel Bachhuber.

Most of the attendees of WordCamps are .org users, including many developers and code contributors. But even though I don’t know my PHP from my MySQL, I’m still a passionate WordCamper. These events are a celebration of the awesomeness of blogging, and that’s something I can definitely get behind.

One of my fellow attendees, Marshall Kirkpatrick, said it best in his post-WordCamp blog post:

Blogging is beautiful, it elevates the human spirit and enriches public life…I see a lot of blogs on niche topics and there’s a whole lot more blogging going on than you might think. Geneticist Daniel Swan blogs about moving from academia to the private genetics industry. Ana Lilian and Roxana A. Soto blog together about raising bilingual kids. Jeff Rothe blogs about his collection of classic arcade game machines. And I think the world is a much better place for it.

His post inspired this one. Because although the tech world might seem far from the model horse hobby, both have evolved and benefited greatly from the growth of blogging. Without the prolific hobby blogosphere, I would not have met most of my lovely hobby friends, nor would I have learned so much about customizing, tack making, etc. And it’s because blogging is so fun, easy, and rewarding that I can share what I’ve learned with you, my readers.

As Marshall Kirkpatrick said,

I remember discovering how easy it was to blog, not so many years ago, and I really hope that lots of people are still discovering how easy and how rewarding it is every day today. Yes, Facebook and Twitter are even easier – but there’s nothing like a good blog post.

I couldn’t agree more.

Thoughts on Commissions

When I re-entered the model horse hobby in late 2009, I made myself a promise that I would emphasize the crafty, do-it-yourself side of the hobby and participate for my own enjoyment and creative exercise. I wanted to maintain the hobby as a personal activity that combined my love of making things with my love of horses.

There was a time when I believed that I would never accept commissions, even if and when I reached such a skill level. I liked the idea of my work being valued by other hobbyists, but I viewed commissions as a chore that some people strangely chose to shackle themselves to.

My first commission

I couldn’t imagine having deadlines for customers who wanted to take a horse to this show or that, or needing to follow a specific reference strictly to the last detail. Forcing myself to work on a horse would have been the antithesis of my hobby goals. My works always evolve as I go along, and I never wanted to have a customer’s desire override my preference as the artist.

My feelings and impressions about commissions have changed, particularly in response to another one of my hobby-promises: that I would keep spending to a minimum, and only buy the supplies I needed to make things myself. I keep that promise still, but it doesn’t stop me from wanting what I consider out of my price range, such as unpainted artist resins.

My second commission, nearly finished

I recently started my third commission, as a trade for a beautiful draft resin I’ve long admired. What I’ve found is that commissions don’t have to be chores or fetters. They can be inspiring and exciting. Each commission trade has been the result of collaborative design and agreement between myself and the customer, with flexibility reserved for me in terms of both time and creation.

The customer’s vision is an impetus for me to create something new, something that perhaps I would not have envisioned myself. And because I maintain the freedom for that work to evolve, I keep the promise to myself to do this for enjoyment and fun.

It is lovely to have my work respected and wanted by others, but even more thrilling to collaborate with another hobbyist on a trade that makes both sides so happy and satisfied.

Blast From the Past

This weekend I took two days to drive down and see my parents and my horse. On Sunday I helped build a tack room! That was wild. And rode my wonderful pony round and round of course. He likes it when I come to visit because I ask more of him than most of his regular lesson riders. I was taking him over these little jumps and he was sloppy as can be, and then we bumped up the height and all of a sudden he was striding ride and cantering straight and jumping beautifully. Lots of fun.

At my parents house I continued the never ending chore of purging and cleaning. This time I found a real treasure: old pictures! About ten years ago, during my first foray in the model horse hobby, this guy was my pride and joy. He was the OF Show Special Cream of Tartar, shown as the POA stallion Doc Holliday (after  the real stallion, who I knew).

Winning 1st in Novice Trail at the NW Expo. Check out that sweet homemade bridle.

Photo show performance picture - western trail, I guess?

Novice Pony Champion at the NW Expo

I also discovered some more misc. horse goods that are now for sale on MH$P, so if you’re interested in a traditional sized youth doll or some flower pots, I got ya covered.

Hobby Skills for Crafty Gifts

Most of my recent crafty time has been eaten by another favorite activity, present wrapping!

My favorite present this year was (it was delivered pre-Christmas) this sign for Robyn’s stable. I’m proud of the idea I came up with and it was an absolute blast to make. I meant to do simple drawings and painting but it was so fun that it turned into this:

I’m tickled to say that I used some of my hobby-honed skills to make this gift. For one, I learned to do detailing and color-mixing with acrylic paint from my model horse customizing. I also have and use my dremel tool for the hobby, and it came in very handy for carving that arrow and drilling holes. And of course, I was thrifty- the base is just a recycled piece of art from Goodwill, sanded and repainted.

Coincidentally, both of the horses painted on this sign have already been used as painting references for models. In the “noon” position is Alice, who I did a portrait of last year as a gift for Robyn. On the bottom is Charlotte who was my reference for Nightfox. So now I’ve painted them in 2D and 3D!

As of today my holiday shopping and crafting are finished. I’ll be spending the weekend with family and returning to home, work and maybe even blogging next week.