Miss Twist

Rise from the Ashes

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.
([I]Warning, Long, Semi-Personal Story coming up... read at your own risk, prepare to be bored[/I])

So, once more I find myself staring at this familiar text box, plumming my mind for the right words to put in line with the feelings I have running through my mind.

I have not posted in a few years due to an awful and very personal injustice being dealt to me by none other than the company that I used to openly and proudly defend with both my words and my pocketbook. I was pushed to my very limit of what I felt I could handle as far as deceit and betrayal were concerned. I had a joy taken from me that I felt was no one's place to take but my own. I didn't realize just how much power I still allowed other people to take in my life.

Recently, I have met a person within the hobby who has taken me by the hand and lead me from the darkness where I felt content to bask in my bitterness and self loathing and bring me into the light, to show me the positive that can stem from individuals in a hobby that has brought me more pain than joy until that time. She has encouraged me to come forward with my story, but I might just leave it abbreviated for my own well being. It did take me this long to even consider telling another soul what happened to me, for I was so ashamed of it. The sting still burned my soul. But now I feel I can at least give a short retelling of the final events that occurred between myself and those at the Peter Stone Company.

In late 2012, October I believe, the Stone Company released a contest called the "Design Star" contest in which you could "bid" via e-mail (much like the best offer sales) to have the opportunity to create a run of horses for the 2013 line. This, in a nutshell, was a dream come true for me.

Allow me to add some deep, personal background to back that statement,

I had been writing Breyer every year since 1997 about how I wanted one of my two horses featured as a model (or both, as they made an excellent statement as a pair) this wasn't just a selfish notion, I assure you, as I know that every little girl would love her horse to become immortalized as a model. This stemmed from my horse's birth, his very presence on this earth. He is a Breeding Stock Paint. He was bred to be gorgeous with little care or consideration put into confirmation between his Dam and Sire. He came out solid, and with poor confirmation. As an 11 year old, I can't tell you how much it hurt me to hear a trusted member of the boarding facility say that my horse should be chicken feed. As an adult, I still can't wrap my head around how an adult felt it was permissible to speak that way to a child about her beloved "first horse".

I wrote to Breyer every year from 1997 to 2004 asking them to make my horse into a model to showcase the Solid Bred/Breeding Stock Paint horse, and place importance on the horse behind the color, and to encourage people to see beyond color, and possibly allow a taboo type of horse to shake the discrimination they face and be more widely excepted by horse enthusiasts young and old. We all love a flashy appy, pinto, or dilute but there is beauty in the solid horses, even if they come out of the exquisite colored horses.

Unfortunately, I never did hear anything back from Breyer, or Stone (whom I started writing to in 2001 I believe). I figured that it was likely a mail-based issue, or my letters were just being discarded since they weren't about official business. In 2005, I wrote my last letter to Breyer, which again was not acknowledged. When I wrote Stone, this time I used e-mail and got a response back. Imagine my excitement when they agreed to make a run of my horse for me! When I wrote back enthusiastically, sending pictures, many thank yous, etc... I did receive a response back, with a bill... to the tune of $6,500 USD.

I didn't realize that they were going to sell me, a 17 year old, still in High School (I included this information in the initial e-mail), nearly 7,000 dollars worth of model horses to sell on my own. I was confused, and when I e-mailed them back stating that I could not possibly do this and asked if there was any way I could work with them and write up any information they needed-- insisting they keep all profits and that I would buy my own horses, they declined my offer and said that I could probably fund raise enough money to sell the horses myself. I presented the idea, with a plan, to my conservative parents with a bit of confidence, but of course they would have absolutely nothing of this transaction. They didn't trust the company, they didn't like the idea of selling a product you don't own, and said absolutely not (I do not blame them for this, at all). I knew this would be how it ended. So, I let out a sigh and continued on with my life as a young adult.

I graduated High School, had to drop out of the hobby due to lack of funds to pursue even Breyers... and eventually in 2009 found myself back into the model horse community with a nice, reliable job behind me to fund all sorts of wonderful models. I found out that the Stone Company was still around, and contacted them after purchasing a RR and a nice OOAK Palouse asking if they would be interested in featuring my hose in one of their little runs. I figured that between my horse or his mother, there'd be some fun options that could be profitable for them (again, stating that I did not want any freebies, I would buy my own). I was again turned down.

I believe I asked again in 2011, upon realizing that my horse also had genetic issues related to the inconsiderate breeding which resulted in a runaway baby tooth that had finally caused him so much discomfort that it swelled, causing him to require a tracheotomy and hospitalization for 3 months while they removed the mass (which was the size of half of a baseball from a lifetime of his body trying to heal/dissolve the tooth) until he could learn to breathe again, and recover. Again, the answer was no to he and his mother. I understood, and still just kept it in the back of my mind.

Now, back to 2012, and the Design Star Contest.

My friends told me I was mad to do this. That it was insane to spend money only to allow the company to reap all profits from my ideas. I agree with them, they're not wrong. It was an idea that had "take advantage of me" written all over it to most collectors, and I could see why. Regardless, I wanted this so badly that I bid. And you know what? I won. I won the Ideal Stock Horse, AND the Weanling. I bid $450 between them, if memory serves. In the contest they even alluded that you could dedicate the models to someone special, to which I was going to dedicate them to my mom and my dad, for all of the wonderful things they've done for me by bringing these horses into my life.

Upon getting the notification, I e-mailed asking what was next. Payment of course. I paid for one, the cheaper of the two, via Paypal (I wish I kept the records).

Then? Silence. This silence made me nervous. I had a bad feeling about it, so this marks the moment when they officially lost my business. Looking back on it, I feel like this was when I started to get out of an abusive relationship. Truly, the experiences I had made me feel like I was a willing participant in an abusive relationship.

And within a Month they had let go of one of their long time employees whom I actually did trust in, and then the only employee handling things was a woman who had deceived me over the phone about the status' of my orders, and generally provided very poor customer service though offering absolutely no service, all fluff.

I e-mailed back about the contest, and no response.

I called about the contest, was placed on hold, and hung up on.

I sent an e-mail about the contest once more, 2013 was nearly half way over and I was concerned that the plans had fallen through, and I expressed (politely) my heartbreak as this was a dream come true for me. The response I received was all fluff, which was capped with "Peter would not dare go back on his word, don't you worry, we will do your horses!"

2013 passed. No word. I did call just at the end of 2013 only to have another mysterious "disconnect" when they put me on hold.

I e-mailed them back in 2014, February, stating my extreme disappointment with this turn of events, and that closure would be nice as the uncaring nature in which this was handled and the lack of compassion or empathy that was given hurt me to my core, or at the very least an apology for lying. For Peter did go back on his word, as he did not follow through with this project throughout 2013.

So I did send out a certified hand-written letter to Peter directly. Which went unsigned for and was returned to me.

The Stone Company did more than just provide terrible customer service, inconsistent quality of products, gross delay in product shipment, and other negligent acts (such as selling off OOAK horses I had bought and paid for 2 weeks before and they decided to bring the horses to a show and sell them there). The Peter Stone Company dangled my dream in front of my face, made me pay for my dream so they could profit off of it, and then ripped it away from me, not fulfilling my dream at all-- and making me feel less than dirt. I could take the other poor acts but this was absolutely disgusting, and unforgivable.

At this point, every single one of my model horses (other than CM/AR horses, as I was worried about damage to their paint) were packed up and stored. Looking at these horses, all I felt was my own naive ignorance. I felt the pain that lingered throughout 2013. I felt like a pathetic victim, as I had my entire young adult life. I looked at my little conga of ISHs and all I could visualize is the money going into their hands. Because, in the end, that is what mattered to them. I do not speculate on this. This is a fact, as if they truly cared about their business, or their customers, they would never, ever trample upon someone as they have trampled upon me.

I felt like a fool, allowing people to play me. And I saw proof of these feelings in the eyes of these plastic models. The aforementioned "abusive relationship" metaphor was once again kicking in. I felt so used, I didn't want to ever see these horses again and be reminded of how foolish I was to believe that someone actually cared about making my dream come true, even at my own expense (again, I realize how ignorant that sounds)

I also hated myself for falling prey to this Company, as I suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from a former very abusive personal relationship with a man who manipulated me and beat me at whim. I felt as though I learned nothing from previous abuse I've suffered, and that it was my own fault for becoming a victim, and I was to blame for feeling such sorrow over this because obviously (in my mind) I hadn't learned from the first time to not allow others to manipulate me and play with my emotions. I felt like I deserved this, and I should hate myself, not be upset with the Company who dangled my dream before my very eyes.

In the Summer of 2014 I moved up north from the southern states. As I unpacked, there were all those awful little reminders, staring me in the face once more. I did not want them. But I didn't want to bother with selling them either. I didn't want to make people pay money for these objects of my depreciation. I thought on it for a month or so and decided I would sell them. All of them if I could. Any one worth selling. And I would buy the horses I always wanted instead.

My horses.

I listed these models for sale, and one after the other they sold into homes where there were no preexisting feelings of hate, betrayal, or remorse. They could be appreciated for what they were to those who purchased them. Lovely little model horses.

In return I raised enough funds to buy two horses I never thought I'd own. My absolute Holy Grail, Traditional Independence by Sarah Rose. And I had enough to buy a Rose Reiner too, my #2 Holy Grail. I also had enough left over to give custom paint jobs to both of those horses, and I bought a CM Bluegrass Bandit, a beautifully painted Phoenix, and a Moonshine Resin that I got painted in honor of a horse from my youth. With the last final horses out, I also managed to make enough money to commission a drastic custom that I've always wanted as well.

There was so much excitement in the hobby in those moments. To hold that Independence in my hands, and realize that his cute, whisker bumpy face was all mine.... I realized that like a Phoenix, I had risen from the Ashes. I had razed my collection, sold everything off, and came out stronger than ever. Also, I realized that some good did come from owning those bad memories. Without those horses I could have never afforded my two dream horses. So I ultimately cleansed my mind and home of those burdens and replaced them with two amazing horses that will become personal portraits of horses I so dearly loved from my youth.

And to my friend, who allowed me to open up to her about my issues with the Company, and for being a wonderful shoulder to lean on when I didn't even realize how much I needed it... she did the most amazing thing for me, that I will always, always be grateful for.

Many of you may know of Sherry Carr with Seunta LLC, a resin casting company based in Region 6. She had a stock mare and foal in the works and she offered to have these sculptures named after and created in the image of my horse and his mother-- the very horses that I've been trying to get immortalized in the model horse hobby since 1997. This was an amazingly selfless act that I felt so unworthy of, just to show how self-depreciated I was from the amount of slammed doors I've experienced over the years. She has bred colored horses over many years and thought that the solid foal paired with a painted mare was a good statement to bring attention to a breed that sometimes favors color too highly. I thank Sherry so much for bringing me out of my shell, and for doing a kindness for me that I will appreciate for the rest of my life. (I also super recommend her casting company as she is excellent with customer service and her products are wonderful! You can tell this is a true passion for her, not just a source of income)

If you're interested in seeing the Mare and Foal they're listed here~ [URL="http://seunta.com/skippy_model_horse.htm"]Skippy! (Foal)[/URL] and [URL="http://seunta.com/sweetie_model_horse.htm"]Sweetie (Mare)[/URL]

I once again love my hobby. I feel like this time, it is going to stick as well. I have a solid goal in my collecting, and hope to fill my shelves with horses from long long ago, horses that brought me love and joy. That continue to upturn the corners of my lips when thoughts of them cross my mind. The hobby is a much more personal thing for me, whereas before it was filled with random (albeit gorgeous!) horses it is now filled with horses that mean the world to me.

At the end of the day, regardless who says what to me, or how bad someone can make me feel... these horses are so much more personal to me, as they're reminders of a happier past.

I've faced my fears. I've overcome the pain. I've seen that there is good in people. I have found my happiness.

It's good to be back.

[CENTER][IMG]http://i.imgur.com/IsMyI8H.png[/IMG]
Skippy!, Days old, and his mother, Sweetie.
[/CENTER]

[I](If this post is considered too open or inappropriate, please feel free to delete it.)[/I]

Updated 11-30-2014 at 06:58 PM by Miss Twist

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Comments

  1. Seunta's Avatar
    Keep your face to the sunshine and you will not see the shadows.
  2. Miss Twist's Avatar
    [QUOTE=Seunta;bt1062]Keep your face to the sunshine and you will not see the shadows. :)[/QUOTE]

    I like that saying very much! Thank you so much for everything! :hugg
  3. spearcarrier's Avatar
    I can only say wow. Throughout your entire post I kept thinking "why not see about making your own resin line? Defy the company in the way that hurts them the most!" and... you did! I'm so happy for you!
  4. Miss Twist's Avatar
    [QUOTE=spearcarrier;bt1064]I can only say wow. Throughout your entire post I kept thinking "why not see about making your own resin line? Defy the company in the way that hurts them the most!" and... you did! I'm so happy for you![/QUOTE]

    I hadn't even considered that as a venue for this goal of mine, and when Sherry presented me with the idea I was like "ooooohmygosh this is so much cooler than just an OF!" I am still in disbelief that they have been immortalized in sculpture, by Kitty Cantrell too! This is truly the best outcome to this situation. Sherry was actually interested in my horses too. The company was interested in profits. So it means the world to me that the horses are being produced and sold by someone who is actually interested in the living counterparts--- and someone who actually enjoys the hobby and what they do, too!
  5. Truson's Avatar
    Wow...just...wow. Thank you for this post. Best of wishes to you and your continued success!