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Beginner's Guide to the Model Horse Hobby

Fun Things to Do with Your Breyer Horse Models


Customized Breyer Proud Arabian Stallion model horse by Kathy Maestas.

Customized Breyer Proud Arabian Stallion model horse by Kathy Maestas.

Photo copyright 2010 Jeanne Grunert, Licensed to About.com Inc.

The model horse hobby provides fun and pleasure for people of all ages. Many people begin collecting Breyer model horses as children, put them aside for a while, and rediscover the fun and excitement of this growing hobby. Learn all about collecting model horses and the many artistic and creative aspects of this rewarding miniature niche.

Collecting Breyer Horses

Many hobbyists begin by collecting Breyer model horses. These are plastic model horses readily available at tack shops, mass merchandise stores, toy stores and online outlets. Some collectors enjoy amassing a group of their favorite molds in every color ever released. Others specialize in vintage or rare models, customized (repainted, haired or repositioning models) or certain sizes.

Online Activities for Model Horse Collectors

Model horse collectors are a friendly bunch and love nothing more than to gather and chat about their models, whether it's in person or online. Forums, chat rooms, and bulletin boards are favorite places for model horse collectors to gather, share tips, and show off photos of their favorite models. Try Model Horse Blab or Fallen Leaves, both active collector websites with bulletin boards and many features to meet fellow collectors.

Model Horse Activities and Collector Events

Real horse owners love nothing more than to compete for ribbons whether it's the local county horse show or an A-rated show circuit. Among model horse collectors, showing model horses brings a new dimension to their collecting hobby. You can show models using digital or printed photographs; this is called photo showing. Or, you can attend collector events and bring your models with you. This is called a live model horse show. If there are live model horse shows near you, they're a great way to meet new friends and see model horses in person. For those who don't live close to a live event, photo shows enable you to participate and compete no matter where you live. A list of numerous photo shows may be found on groups such as TOPSA (Totally Online Photo Show Association) who provide opportunities to photo shows. For live model horse show listings, visit the North American Model Horse Show Association.

Customizing Model Horses

Customizing model horses gives collectors an artistic outlet for their hobby.  Plastic models such as Breyer horses may be repositioning, changing the gait or correcting the model's flaws. Skilled artists can replace the molded plastic mane and tail with a mohair mane and tail. Models are painted into new colors using acrylic paints, oil paints, airbrush paints and pastel dust, creating incredibly lifelike model horses. 

Tack and Prop Making

Yet another fun activity to enjoy your model horse collection is tack and prop making. Tack refers to the saddles, bridles, halters, blankets and other accessories worn by the horse for riding or normal activities. Skilled miniaturists can recreate the delicate tooling on a Western saddle or the fine stitching on a huntseat saddle perfectly to scale with the model horses. Props too are fun to make, including fences, jumps, trail accessories and more. Wagons, carts and other vehicles also add to the realism.

Rider Dolls for Model Horses

Yet another creative way collectors enjoy the model horse hobby is to create rider dolls that complete performance diorama setups. Breyer produces several to-scale, jointed dolls that can be easily positioned as if riding a horse. Many clever crafters use the basic body of mass-produced Breyer dolls and change the hair color and clothing to create original dolls that lend total realism to any performance setting.

Where to Start

Where to start in the model horse hobby? Find something that you enjoy! If you love to paint or work with your hands, perhaps customizing models is a way to add fun to your collection. Those who enjoy making miniature furniture may want to try making wagons, props or fences. Start small, dream big, and keep trying. The hobby is always expanding and adding new and fun ways to enjoy model horses.




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