The therapeutic benefits of this hobby, from a newbie's perspective.

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Though my collection of Breyers began at age three or four, I became 're-involved' with model horses in 2011, and the last several months have invested time, energy, and dollars developing a show string worthy of the name. Along the way I began to design and construct the props and accessories that accompany live showing.

Depression runs fairly strongly in my family; my mother is manic and both my grandmothers suffer from Seasonal Affective Depressive Disorder (SADD), as we reside north of the 45th parallel a great deal of our cold months see very little sunlight. In western Oregon and Washington, it's very possible to go weeks without seeing a hint of blue sky in the winter months. Naturally, this lack of sunlight for long stretches of time can have a negative impact on your mental health.

I too suffer from SADD, and the condition is compounded by health issues I have battled over the years (that forced me to leave a lucrative job I very much enjoyed), along with living far outside urban areas on a several acre horse farm. Being so isolated makes one lonely, especially when you work within the home.

With my return to the hobby this past year, I decided to begin diorama design for use to show my models (growing up, in school, whenever I could get away with it my school projects were often dioramas). As horses purchased via MH$P started to arrive in the mail, I began to sketch out ideas for showing each of them. Once I had fixed a design in my head, the construction began. As time went on and dioramas began to flesh out, I discovered the long, dark and cold winter's impact was lessened. Perhaps it was working under bright lights, perhaps it was the green of the faux grass and the wild colors of fabric flowers, or maybe it was the beauty of plastic ponies artists had painted to be so lifelike, but catharsis slowly crept in and expunged despondency.

It's only been a few short months, but I feel now that this is a hobby I will be involved in for a very long time. I have begun to make friends that share the enthusiasm for tabletop horses my other friends simply don't understand, and the creative outlet provides such an emotional benefit that I could have never anticipated. I cannot think of another hobby or pastime I have encountered where other enthusiasts have been as friendly, welcoming and supportive as those within the model horse world. I am grateful to be part of this hobby.