The Model Horse Hobby, a lengthy description

The what? The model horse hobby, of course. Some people have their model trains, some people have their model airplanes, and some have their model cars. Some collect antiques, and some art. Some even collect fleas. We collect model horses.

Collecting

For most, it started with a Breyer model. The Breyer Molding Company has for over fifty years produced the vast majority of horse-shaped objects that grace our mantles, shelves and glass cabinets. When we were children we made them eat Cheerios and forced them to fight each other in furious battles of "Herd Stallion." Many of us were horseless, and Breyer made it possible for us to achieve part of our fantasy. We were completely enraptured! HORSE!

Then we grew up. (Well, some of us grew up.) We went to college, we sold the stupid old ugly blue and gold plastic horses at our flea markets and went on to better things. The silly childhood play toys were forgotten…until…

Until one bright day, many years and hardships later, we were walking through a department store or tack shop…and there was a Breyer! Childhood memories came flooding back, and we quickly paid the pricey sum. The HORSE passion was reawakened, and we sought more…and more…until…a model horse hobbyist was reborn!

Now we regret selling those stupid old blue and gold plastic horses for a pittance at the flea market when we see them going for thousands of dollars on eBay. Breyers are a hot collectors’ market, with hundreds of different molds, hundreds of different models available yearly, and tens of thousands of rabid collectors. Oldies in perfect condition ("mint" condition) are always in demand. Just type "Breyer" in an eBay search engine and browse the thousands of results. The price range is hugely diverse, and no matter what your budget, there’s a horse for you.

Breyer Animal Creations

Stone Horses

Resins

The discerning hobbyist may also have wished to add a touch of fine art flair to her (or his, there are a substantial amount of males involved in the hobby as well) collection. The growing hobby attracted equine artists from many walks of life, and about 15 years ago, the artist resin began to appear in model horse collections around the globe. Resin is a fine, durable polyurethane plastic that can be cast and worked at home with minimal difficulty, and therefore was a good choice for the sculptor who wanted copies of the original.

Go back to the home page and click on Sculpting and Moldmaking and Casting for a photographic description of the process.

Artist resins are generally cast from an original sculpture, and most are limited in their run size. They command higher prices than most original finish (like Breyer) models because of the personal touch, and the tremendous amount of work and time involved in their production.

Because bright white polyurethane really isn’t horselike, resins are painted with airbrush, oils, acrylics, colored pencils, pastels or a plethora of other media to achieve a realistic, glowing coat. There are many artists in the hobby who have taken painting to a whole new level, and the amount of realism and detail that goes into each horse can be truly breathtaking. A painted resin can go for $100 to over $1,000 more than the unpainted version, again because of the time, knowledge and expertise involved and because of the uniqueness of each model.

Scroll to the bottom of the page for a list of links to model horse artists' sites!

Showing

Model horses try to duplicate the real thing in almost every aspect, from anatomy, conformation, biomechanics, breed types, color and…horse shows! As I mentioned, many hobbyists are sadly (or happily) horseless, and crave the competitive environment of the ring. Obviously if you’re lacking a live animal it would be hard to show one, and therefore model shows were born. Many hobbyists are horse owners as well, however, and models just magnify the love of HORSE.

In a model horse show, the better conformed Breyer and Stone models, artist resins, ceramics (chinas) and other makes and models are judged against each other in their respective classes on their accuracy and eye appeal. This is a great way for anyone to develop an eye for conformation, breed traits, color and basic horsiness. Shows are an environment for us to converse and compete in person, to come together and forge new friendships, talk the talk that we delight in talking ("Dude! You got a SR BF palo LP?! LSQ? Eyewhites? Under $1k? Awesome!!") and generally have a blasting good time.

I personally have never competed (Okay I’ll admit it, I think the performance classes are slightly silly. It’s difficult to judge a horse’s way of moving when he’s incapable of moving), but I love being around fellow hobbyists who I know are just as nuts about their horses as I am. It’s very comforting. We are a close-knit group of people, but always welcome new members into our world with open arms.

Model Horse Artists Extraordinaire!

Click on the links below to see a small sample of the brilliance that is the model horse hobby.

Lucas Francis Studios - Kristina Lucas-Francis

The Model Equestrian - John and Cheryl Bellucci

Lakeridge Stables - Andrea Kessler

Model Horses by Chris Jolly - Chris Jolly

The Sarah Rose Gallery - Sarah Rose

Amarna Productions - Elizabeth Bouras

FineLine Studio - Simrat Khalsa

Stampede Resin Castings - Candace Liddy

The Equine Artistry of Thomas Bainbridge - Thomas Bainbridge

Rohan Sajnani, Equine Artist - Rohan Sajnani

Equine Art by Tracie Caller - Tracie Caller

Resins by Kitty Cantrell - Kitty Cantrell

Click to go home.