I recently took a little weekend trip, spending a bunch of money to go to a place I never wanted to go, to see a bunch of things that I didn’t wanted to see, and now cannot un-see. It felt as if I was taken by rocket to another heavenly body and landed on planet Kentucky, and spent time in a small out of this world place named Breyerfest. I was the alien and Ella was no longer my daughter, but she was a tour guide that spoke the local people’s language.
Breyerfest is a celebration of horses through the use of plastics. On the face of it is seems pure, and for the kids I think it is. However, the adults made it creepy, particularly the adult females who are zealous Breyer horse lovers. I spent most of my time observing these specimens.
Many of these ladies came to this event without kids in tow. Most were wearing hats stuck with pins decorated from past years of this fest, and dressed in tacky Breyerfest T-shirts. These ladies were easy to spot, because they were carrying bags and bags of plastic horses that they might have been waiting all year to buy, muttering to themselves about how excited they were about the certificate of authenticity that came with their purchased toy horses. Grown ass women. Some actually had their faces painted, like the kids. My weekend at Breyerfest was a practice of tolerance and non-judgement, similar to when subjected to awful performance arts, like mimes or bad porn. For the record, I would much rather watch lousy porn over having any interaction with a mime. Mimes are passive aggressive introverts, with an addiction to face paint.
I have to admit I felt dirty during my time at Breyerfest. Viewing most of the seven deadly sins playing out in real time tends to make me feel real filthy, real fast. I wrote on the suggestions cards for next year to put portable showers scattered throughout the park. They would have been most helpful. I am not sure if it was the feeling of being in constant need of a shower, remorse for agreeing to embark on this journey, or my general failing to understand anything that was happening, but Breyerfest gave me a raging case of Breyer bitchy. I wonder if Breyer will use this name for their next horse model? If this model horse has a slightly crooked nose and comes with a mane that reacts to humidity, I would feel flattered.
Going into this event I thought that I knew my daughter, but I am completely questioning this at the present. Ella loved this event so much, she was in heaven. Ella would say things to me (while we were looking at plastic horse models she wanted to buy) like, “Mom, we met this actual horse today when we were at the barn!” She would say this like we met a celebrity. I would say, ” Oh, yes, I remember, such a nice horse. Was this one who is signing autographs from 3 to 3:30? We should go back and have him sign your T-shirt.” Ella would remind me that it was not the horse signing autographs, but the owner of the horse. Well, the sign on the outside of the horse stall did not specify it would be the owner’s autograph, and I must say I was deeply disappointed to learn that Breyer horses weren’t special enough to know how to sign their own names.
I always thought that my daughter wasn’t entitled, but I believe I was fooled just because her temper tantrums ended years ago when things didn’t go her way. I realize that she is just silent, probably quietly screaming on the inside. But let’s not be mistaken, my daughter is spoiled with a capital “FUCK ME”! However, to put things in perspective from a Breyer lover’s stand point, why would you travel the entire way to the mecca of Breyer and not pick up a few horses, regardless of who picks up the tab. I realize in retrospect, I should have had a few conversations with Ella regarding expectations.
Ella was dead set on going to a thing called the “Special Run” to gather a few more Breyers to add to her collection with my wallet. I had no idea what was happening of course, so I had to have Ella explain to me why we were standing in this particular line to buy horses when these little horses were literally on sale everywhere in the park. When Ella was finished explaining, I still failed to appreciate her explanation. I asked her to start over and summarize in terms I could comprehend by comparing the horses on sale in this line to something I could understand. Ella started by saying, “pretend you are at winery event”. Really, this is all she had to say to get me to start listening. She said, “imagine that there was an event and the wine maker made a special bottle of wine just to be released to sell at the event for the members who attended”. Well, the comparison made sense, but there was a flaw. I would NEVER spend $85.00 for one, let alone two bottles of wine! Ella insisted on two specially made plastic horses.
Interestingly, there was even more places to buy Breyer wares outside of the Kentucky Horse Park. There was a hotel that was a noted destination. Over 200 room rented by Breyer lovers who opened up their rooms each day and night (until mid-night), so all who were interested could stroll in and shop out of their rooms, while even members of their own families slept in the beds. In some rooms, the renters moved all the furniture out so there would be more space available for merchandise. I am not certain where these people slept.
There was a definite creep factor associated with this Breyer destination, but it was lessened by the fact that this hotel had a bar. Perusing people’s hotel rooms with a glass of wine in hand, took the edge off of my Breyer bitchy. I want to say that I didn’t need alcohol on this trip, but I did, bad. The unfortunate tidbit is that there was little to no alcohol available at the Breyerfest venue. In my mind, I thought that perhaps bourbon or whiskey would be on sale and as plentiful as those little fucking toy horses, but hell no. I suggested putting the bourbon stands next to the shower stalls in the years to come, for convenience of course. I want to feel drunk when I am being violated financially and spiritually, and like to shower up rights afterwards.
I did not get to experience the live auctions this year, because I could not wrap my mind around this concept. I heard many, many people talking about this, but could not mentally grasp that people would gather and bid on toy horses, saddles, gear, and other Breyer bullshit, spending thousands and thousands of dollars. I overheard that one TOY horse model actually sold for $14,000 dollars. I. DON’T. GET. IT.
I was chatting up a vendor and he told me that two years ago, a GROWN ASS WOMAN showed him a TOY saddle she bought at auction for $2,000 dollars. He explained that as she was showing him this rhinestone crusted saddle, another GROWN ASS WOMAN tried to steal it and these ladies fought and wrestled on the floor of the arena. I was telling this story to Ella a bit later and Ella piped up and said she totally understood why someone would spend $2000 dollars for a collectible. Maybe it was the third day of Breyerfest that had me weary, or lack of alcohol to take the edge off, or maybe it was just feeling overwhelmingly dirty for far too long, but I actually teared up and had to walk away. How could two people of the same blood come to the same event and have two completely different experiences? One being in complete and utter bliss and the other left empty, despondent and hopeless in and of mankind.
The trip brought on many mini panic attacks envisioning Ella 20 to 30 years older walking through Breyerfest with her accessorized hat, T-shirt, and bags and bags of toy plastic horses. I did some rumination on how I could in a hurry buy Ella a real horse so she might leave all this nonsense in her childhood, where it should most definitely stay. But then I realized what does it matter anyway? I will be here to support Ella with my heart, but maybe less with my wallet in the following years.
In 20 years if I was lucky enough to still be here and be with Ella at Breyerfest, I would be honored to hold Ella’s pin infested hat while she tussles with the gal who was silly enough to think that she could get away with stealing Ella’s well earned collectible. To be clear, I would be reminding her, maybe rather loudly, during the ordeal that she could have bought a real horse with all the money she has blown on plastic horses and other prized Breyer treasures. However, I would most certainly be assisting her in fighting as dirty as possible, as Breyerfest brings out the best in me.