14 years ago I started collecting model horses. Here is a letter to that younger me:
First off let me tell you, what you are about to embark on will change your life dramatically. The next few years are going to be hellish, you are going to suffer trauma that will damage you for life and that really sucks. But one thing will stay consistent and that is the plastic ponies.
Don't be afraid that you aren't doing things right. There are no right or wrong things or ways to do it. No models are better or worse than others and having big fancy horses really isn't that bigger deal. Enjoy the bits of the hobby you love, make those stables, create those set ups and save up for those Julips, they will bring you so much joy and happiness for years to come. You know Minstrel your first Julip original? Well she will still be sitting in her stable when you are married and in your own home.
Although on a more serious note. Don't paint those childhood Britains and other models. Seriously why did you do that? I know you are into customising and don't have enough things to paint but you really shouldn't do that. Please don't do that (I know you will but still). Also don't paint the names of the horses on the stables, print out your own name plates and stick them on the doors. It looks a lot better and you'll struggle to get that paint off!
Join all the model horse clubs, read all the magazines and get involved. I know that your parents iMac doesn't load the UH forum properly and the internet is useless, but you can still get involved on paper. Also watch out for that camera, it won't properly save those photos onto that film and those hours you spent setting them up at your grandfathers house would have been pointless.
And when you get that first photoshow placing keep going through the envelope there are more :) Although you really should have given that Schleich Lipizzaner a better name than Ordinary Cats! But still, a momentous occasion in your model horse collecting. Don't let a certain someone name one of your horses, you won't be able to look at it ever again. And treasure that first set Brendon buys you, you will still be treasuring it 11 years later.
That first live show won't be as scary as you think. Yes your father will randomly abandon you in a hall in Birmingham but you'll have an amazing day and make some lifelong friends. You won't have any friends at school, but these people will understand you!
Save up your money and buy the things, you will still have them 10+ years down the line. Enjoy them, buy the ones you love! And don't sell them, there's no need. You will one day have a husband who understands the need for a VERY LARGE PONY ROOM and so won't need to worry too much about space. O and don't slam that door and break Arapaho, that was stupid, take your anger out on something less fragile!
And most of all enjoy it. This hobby will be your lifeline through some of the darkest years of your life. It will keep you going and introduce you to people who will change your life forever. You have no idea how amazing your future can be if you just stick with it. It's not childish, it's not immature and the best thing you ever did was stick with the model horses and not 'grow out of it'.
Catriona x (aged 27 and a few weeks :p )