The Spirit of the Model Horse


My obsession with all things equine began much like every other little girl with a heart for horses and ponies.  Even before I began taking lessons, my bedroom walls were covered with horse posters.  I ripped the photos out of horsey calendars, giving each horse of the month a name and background story before tacking the image onto my ceiling.  I had all the dorkiest horsey shirts that I wore to school every day, and my grandmother never forgot to tape My Little Pony (I can still sing the whole theme song).  Aside from the real thing, much of my horsey addiction was channeled into endless adventures with several shelves worth of model horses.

As we grow older and the value of mint condition models becomes apparent, they are delicately balanced out of reach or neatly sealed in the original package in an obscure box in the attic.  But when we’re little, models attain the unreal achievements we imagine in infinite detail; the only limitations are those of your imagination.  

At the height of my model horse community overlord phase, I would turn horses out of the miniature eight-stall wooden barn into a comfortable enclosure in the mornings.  Some of the models were tacked up and sent out for a perilous ride amidst the curious house cats while others grazed and stood like stone staring off into the distant corners of the playroom.  At night, I would blanket each horse with his custom homemade blanket (stable colors of course), and tuck them into their stalls for the night.  There was a time that for every birthday or gift-giving holiday, I could expect to receive at least one model horse, each one treasured like an old friend.

Now that I’m all grown up with annoying bills to pay, I can’t afford to collect much of anything.  But I still admire the picturesque model horses released by the masters at Breyer.  Last November, Breyer signed on as an official sponsor of the 2010 World Equestrian Games.  Earlier this month Breyer released the official model horse of the Games, Esprit (pictured at the top of the page).  Sculpted by artist Kathleen Moody, Esprit symbolizes the “common spirit” of the horses competing in each of the eight disciplines.  Breyer will release several other WEG products this year in celebration of the “courage, athleticism, and beauty of the horse at its pinnacle of achievement” including an 8-piece Stablemate Set representing horses in each discipline.  According to the Breyer website, an interactive play area for children will be created at the WEG, “incorporating equine-themed activities using Breyer’s realistic model horses” and pint-sized jumps for kids!

Bits About Breyer
In 1950, the Breyer Molding Company (before it was Breyer Animal Creations) received an order for a plastic horse to decorate a mantle clock.  Public interest inspired the company to continue creating these realistic models…minus the clock of course.

Men and boys are the fastest growing group of collectors of Breyer Farm Animals and Wildlife Animals.

All Breyer horses have an air hole somewhere so the model can “breathe.”  Without this hole, trapped air can cause the model to warp over time.

All Breyer horses are hand painted.

How Can Your Horse Become a Breyer Model?
Well, you’ve got a few different options.  You could own a horse that is the finest, ideal example of his breed and then get it noticed by people who can do something about it.  You could also own a top equine athlete in his particular discipline and then get it nominated by the USET to become a Breyer model.  If you think your horse could be a model or you might have a good idea for a product submission, please consult the FAQ page on Breyer’s website for reasons why you might want to let the powers that be remain in charge of model selection.

If you happen to hang around Lexington after Champagne Run this summer, or you have a thing for model horses, be sure to check out BreyerFest, July 23-25 at the Kentucky Horse Park.

I collected all types of model horses; I wasn’t limited to Breyer.  Did anyone else collect models or another type of equine paraphernalia? 

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