Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Collect What You Love, Show What You Collect

“Love what you collect, if it's dear to your heart it won't matter if it wins or loses. It's nice to place but you still go home happy with your string. The opinion of others is important and validation of your choices in the form of cards or rosettes is great, but in the end, I don't really care if anyone else likes my models... I do and that's what counts.” - Elfing

Over the course of this blog, you'll read about conformation, fashion, and condition. Myself and others will write about what shows well and why. But should you let this dictate your collection? Absolutely not.

Before I go too far, I want to be clear: I don't see anything wrong with letting a model's potential in the show ring influence your purchases. Money and shelf space are limited, and we can't buy everything we want. Why not consider a model's showing potential among other factors?

I just don't think it should be the only factor.

I enjoy showing original finish models, but it's never driven my collection. If it was, I'd never have managed to procure over 30 Shams. Yeah--you heard me--Sham, the conformationally challenged prancing Arabian.

If I wanted to mold my collection to the dictates of the show ring, I would have sold off the lot of them years ago. As Arabians go, I could do better. PAM has been the gold standard among Breyers since before I entered the hobby and remains extremely popular in the show ring to this day. I own exactly one PAM, but mine's not even a show model. The primary reason I bought her was because I also owned the test for this run, done on a different mold. The test run is on--wait for it--a Sham:

OF judges will tell you, and rightfully so, that Sham isn't a good "breed" horse. His proportions aren't great, his legs are all different lengths, and he doesn't show the detail available in many newer molds. Generally, he isn't even very collectible, as the mold is no longer as popular as he once was. Most Sham collectors have moved on to newer Arabian molds like Huckleberry Bey and the Peter Stone Arabian.

There are exceptions. The guy above has two breed cards along with numerous collectibility cards. He's a nicely painted, but it's mostly my persistence that resulted in NAN cards. Not every judge prefers PAM or Huck and I eventually stumbled onto two of them. I've also bought a handful of very collectible Shams in the last few years that are permanent features in my show string.

But most of Shams haven't earned a rosette, a card, or even a ribbon. Several won't even see the inside of a show ring. And I wouldn't trade a single one for a winning Huck or PAM.

I've known a few showers that would buy models they didn't like if they thought they'd show well. They only rejoiced in a judge's positive opinion, not from the model itself, and they frequently went home unhappy. They bought models for high prices and quickly resold at a loss when the model didn't meet their expectations. I'm not sure if they were aware of this, but these kinds of a showers are frequently ostracized from the social element of showing.

Find a class to fit your model, not a model to fit a class.

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