A very small way of saying: ‘Saddle up!’
Story and photos by Holly Davis
Anna Kirby, 21, has turned her childhood hobby into a new-found business. With a passion for horses and a creative mind, Kirby’s creations are sold and shown all over the world.
The Valley Falls woman always loved horses growing up. As a child, she would draw pictures and read books about horses. Although she never had the opportunity to own a horse, she would jump at the idea of riding those of friends and family. Because of her love for horses, she treasured the miniature horse models that she got for Christmas and birthday presents.
Kirby was given her first miniature Breyer horse at age 10. After receiving this beloved item, Kirby, with wide eyes scanned her Breyer model catalogs and was intrigued by the items on the pages. Because she could not afford the collector item accessories such as saddles, she decided to make them herself.
Kirby would gather scrap purses and any tools she could find to build her creations. The saddles she made were designed to fit onto her miniature horse collection. At first it was just for fun, but at 16, when she became good at what she did, she assembled her creations not to play with, but to make as realistic as possible. At this moment in time, a hobby was discovered.
Kirby sold her first saddle online in 2006 for $40. With the aid of a model horse sales page, this saddle was sent to a customer in Australia. It wasn’t until 2007 that Kirby designed her own website, www.dreamflitedesigns.com, for selling her products.
Each saddle that Kirby creates is designed to appear as if it has a real function. She also does research to determine the function and use of each saddle made. Kirby works on a 1/32 scale and each saddle is created to fit a specific horse. Because of the precise detail and small scale of each saddle, it usually takes eight to 10 hours to finish one product.
As Kirby’s horse and saddle collection grew, so did the love for her hobby. She now owns over 30 different breeds and poses of miniature horse models. Kirby and her dad built a desk specifically for her saddle crafting.
With this enjoyable hobby, Kirby has had the opportunity to meet new people both online and at horse model shows. “Everyone that I meet is so helpful. They are really competitive, but also supportive in giving advice and tips as well as critiquing,” Kirby said.
Many of Kirby’s saddles have been showcased at horse model shows including the American Heartland Live in Platte City where Kirby attended. The saddles were judged based on realism.
Kirby started her hobby and business at a young age and encourages others to follow their dreams.
“If you are someone who is interested in making a hobby into a business, go for it. If you are making money out of something that you enjoy, it’s worth it. There are so many more opportunities out there than you realize and using the Internet is a great tool,” Kirby said.
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