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Simple Prop Ideas for Realistic Model Horse Show Photos

Choose Props to Enhance the Realism of Model Horse Show Photos


Micro mini horse photograph with a natural log as a realistic prop in the background.

Micro mini horse photograph by Kollean Gouyton with natural log prop in background, a branch trimmed to size.

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

Props add a realistic touch to model horse show scenes and dioramas and can set your photograph apart from the crowd at your next model horse show. You can buy props or make some simple ones yourself. After choosing your theme, backdrop and footing, the next step is to consider props and accessories to enhance the realism of the photograph

Natural Props for Outdoor Scenes

While simple beach scenes require only a backdrop and sand footing, other outdoor diorama themes benefit from a few simple, appropriately scaled props. If you have a reference photo and are trying to recreate the scene in the photo, what natural objects are present? Can you see trees, shrubs, or rocks in the background?

You can pick up rocks around your garden or lawn, or buy fish tank rocks at the pet store to add to the diorama. Logs can be created from tree branches picked up outside and trimmed to the appropriate size. Use your imagination and see what you can scavenge for free from nature to add realistic props to your outdoor scene.

Artificial Trees and Shrubs

You can find artificial trees and shrubs made for the model railroad hobby at hobby shops nationwide. Keep in mind that model trains are not in the same scale as most model horses, so you may need to experiment and try different pieces to find out that doesn't look too big or too small.


Show rings are usually fenced except at the most rudimentary country fairs. A simple post and rail fence in the right scale looks realistic and appropriate for many show ring and outdoor scenes. Breyer sells fences as part of their play sets, and you can often find other fences in the toy section at major retailers nationwide. Breyer fences are in the appropriate scale for their line of horse models; other companies may or may not be in scale.


Some hobbyists like to create barn scenes. You can use a photograph to create an image of a barn, or display a Breyer or another make of model horse barn. Both Breyer and the Schleich of Germany toy company make barns. The Schleich barns are good for Little Bits or Paddock Pal scale models, the four-inch tall models, and work well with other brands of model horses too.

Hay Bales, Manure Piles, and Tools

What else do you find around a barn? Hay bales, tools such as pitchforks, wheelbarrows, and even manure piles flank the typical horse barn. You can purchase ready-made accessories or make your own.

Other Animals

Depending upon the setting and scene you're trying to depict, other animals such as the loyal barn cat, a chicken, a duck, a cow or a dog may be present. Keep in mind that you're trying to depict the model horse as realistically as possible, so only use other animals if you feel it will enhance the horse and the overall presentation.

Remember that the goal is to depict the horse as realistically as possible. Err on the side of caution. If you think you have too many props in the scene, you probably do, so take one out.; Keep the scene clean and focused on the horse for a winning model horse show photograph.

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