The Urge to Collect

Yep, I am a collector. My whole life I’ve enjoyed collecting things like books, leaves, rocks, yarn, and things with pansies on them. As a kid, I had a collection of electronics components that my dad would bring me home from work. He inspected things ranging from telephone poles to potentiometers for Western Electric/AT&T. He’d bring me rejected items and tell me what they were. I had them in shoeboxes, all labeled. Later he brought some very early printed circuit boards and explained how they worked. That led to my first “real” job after high school, which was working in a printed circuit board plant – wow, some of those were HUGE, thick, and sturdy.

My collection display. See, there’s still room for more. There was no way I could get a photo without someone in the mirror, so, I apologize to Lee.

Anyway, I had a fun serendipitous addition to one of my collections yesterday. You see, right after we moved to the Hermits’ Rest, I bought a beautiful little resin horse figurine as one of our first Christmas decorations. It lived on the mantel, and I got a few more as years went by. They are from the Trail of Painted Ponies collection, which, I soon discovered consists of a LOT of little horses. People collect them and apparently pay some pretty ridiculous prices for them.

This one is ceramic, rather than resin. Sounds of Thunder, 2007. By Bill and Traci Rabbit, 1E/1018 (I think, this has weird handwriting on it). This is the side Bill painted.

As time went on, I got a few more Christmas ones, and branched out to some that weren’t Christmas, too. I like the Native American ones. Each is painted by a well-known artist, though some by lesser-known people who win design contests. A large part of the sale of each figurine goes to charity, which made me feel better for buying them.

This is the only Christmas one I bought. Poinsettia Pony, 2007. I like that she has eyes.

Originally, they were large statues in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which is why so many of them feature Western themes. Since I have had a small (growing smaller, thanks to our house cleaner) collection of porcelain horses my whole life, this was a natural outgrowth. Plus, Lee liked them. The pansy items I collect, not so much.

This one is sort of busy, but the little images in the circles intrigued me. Skyrider, by Wendy Wells-Bailey, #1509, 2005. 1E/5,338

A year or two ago, Lee got me a nice hutch to display the horses in, since the mantel was getting full. It housed my ten or so horses and a couple of other nice things. Which leads us to yesterday!

Earth, Wind, and Fire, #1545, 2004. I loved the gold, the eagle, and the bear. And the scary warrior. The artist is Bill Rabbit. 3E/2,628.

I was finished with work, and just browsing around, when I got one of those random Facebook notifications that there was a garage sale coming up in Rockdale. I like to occasionally look to see if there are any glass items for my office, so I opened the link. There, in all their glory were a LOT of Trail of Painted Pony boxes. The guy said to ignore the prices on the boxes (that was good, since the lowest one was $75, and I’m not paying that).

This is another favorite. Look at all those hand-placed dots. What you can’t see is there are additional images that are not painted, all over the horse. This one’s just so cool. Thunderbird Suite, by Joel Nakamura, #1582, 2004. 3E/2,879

I asked Lee and Kathleen if they wanted to go for a ride, and they said they would, so off we went to Rockdale. How spontaneous, right?

There, we met an interesting guy who does auctions and is selling off inventory from a store he used to own (hence the price tags). It turned out the horses were all from the early years of the Trail of Painted Ponies, starting in 2004. The newest ones were from 2007.

This is one I’d seen photos of and always wanted. There’s a big pink jewel on her tummy. Sky of Enchantment, 2004. She’s the oldest one, and from only the third edition of the ponies. #1534, 4E/9,670

So, Kathleen helped me look through all of them. Not all are to my taste, but a couple were really, really cool, like Willing, here, who is a heavy metal horsie, with a fake hair tail and tassel. Whoa. You just have to have THAT.

That’s one cool and scary horse. It has a real chain pair of reins, and all that tail and “beard” hair. Willing, #1510, 2005, by Virgil Ortiz. 1E/5,973.

I ended up selecting nine horses, which was over my initial goal, but some of these were just SO cool, and I knew they were all retired (and some first editions with 1E labels) and would cost a lot in a store or on eBay (I went to a store in some tourist town that had most of them, but some were over $200, and I don’t want any figurine THAT badly). We settled on a price that was reasonable, after I made a ridiculously low bid, because I apparently can’t multiply by 9.

Lee agreed that it was a good deal, so I am happy and not broke.

This is the back of Sounds of Thunder. A husband and wife team, Bill and Traci Rabbit, did this horse, and the blue side represents the male spirit, while the white side is the female spirit. I love the image on the horse’s neck.

The seller also threw in this beautiful Fenton pitcher, since it has a little crack. I don’t care, because it’s just going to set on a glass shelf, once I have them. Right now it’s in the entry room at the Pope Residence, but that’s just a temporary location.

Fenton cranberry glass coin dot pitcher.

I love that each horse comes with a story, and that they are so detailed. They aren’t just painted, but they have engravings, accessories like leather reins, and other trimmings. These older ones aren’t labeled on the base like newer ones are, but that’s an easy way to tell which ones are old!

They are all numbered and labeled on the bottom, which is nice.

It’s hard to say which of the horses is my favorite, but two of them stand out. The Saguaro Stallion has a beautiful moonrise painting on it, along with very interesting lines embossed into the mold. I love the colors. And the base has rocks on it.

Saguaro Stallion by John Geryak, #1523, 2005. 1E/4947

The other one I love is a very traditional looking horse, all dressed up for a parade. Plus, he’s a paint.

Silverado, #12241, from 2007. He’s so silvery! By Karlynn Keyes, 1E/1,108

I you enjoyed this journey down the Trail of Painted Ponies. I enjoy looking at them every day, and they fit in nicely with the ranch theme of our house. Last year I wasn’t feeling too well, and didn’t get a holiday horse or any other, but I plan to make up for it and get at least one horse every year. It’s something fun to look forward to.

That’s what collections are for, right? Fun. Share what you collect, if you’d like to.

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

One thought on “The Urge to Collect”

  1. When I was a child, in the 1960s, I used to save up my allowance and buy myself Breyer horses. I spent so many hours playing with them, outside, by myself. And I had shelves in my room to display them. Over the years they became dirty and scratched and some had broken legs, but I loved them so much. My father made me two leather saddles to go with them. I drug them all over the country with me for years, and twice loaned the whole collection out to the daughters of friends who were enthralled with horses. Now, most of them reside in Cardiff, Wales, where my granddaughter plays with them. There are a few more still here in a box, waiting to be mailed to her. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

    Liked by 1 person

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