Judging by Shaun Basch
Greetings from Kentucky (the horses of Coolmore/Ashford Stud say hello)! My name is Shaun, and it was my absolute honor to judge the first Photo Show of the year! I have been around horses my entire life and started collecting Breyer Horses when my mom gave them to me as a young girl. I’ve been an avid collector and incredibly active in the hobby since 2007 when my passion was rekindled. I have judged both live and photo shows numerous times in the past as well as being a show participant, myself. I’ve met some absolutely amazing and talented people through this hobby and am continually astounded by the creativity I’ve seen. This photo contest was no exception!
I was excited to hear that the theme would revolve around equine therapy, more technically known as “hippotherapy,” because it is something very near and dear to my heart. Over the years, I have volunteered for several therapeutic riding facilities and currently keep my own horse at a barn that provides equine therapy sessions for people of all backgrounds. It is truly inspiring to see the bond between human and horse and witness what these amazing creatures can do for the human body, mind, and spirit.
The entries were all so wonderful, and it was difficult to choose which ones would be winners because they were all so well done! Thank you for sharing your art with myself and the rest of the Breyer hobby family. Well done!
Cadence B., TX
This photo is so well done! It’s obvious here that the instructor is going over whatever task they are about to accomplish or asking the rider if they feel secure. And yay for making sure the rider has a helmet! The two walkers are preparing to take their positions. My only suggestion would be to shift the camera so that the scene is more central, otherwise this is a perfect photo with an excellent backdrop and lighting!
Norah H., NH
The scene here is a unique one, and the concept is great! There is such attention to detail here, and everything is in its place. From the collage in the background to the paint on the palette, the photographer truly has an eye for what is important.
Ava S., MI
This hospital scene is so cool! The use of the dolls here is perfect, and it is very appropriate of the photographer to have made sure a doctor was present, as this is the case with real equine/animal visits to a hospital. The detail is amazing, and the little cards and use of the Mini Whinnies model here is perfect!
Alyiah G., NM
This barn scene is wonderful, and the use of the Hope horse as a statue is very creative! The photographer took their time to make sure they tack on the horse was appropriate. Ideally, having more than one doll on the ground would be best, as there should always be someone to help stabilize riders in a therapy session or help if needed. A helmet on your rider would also be great.
Austyn K., SC
This scene has so much detail! The photographer has utilized so many wonderful aspects of the Breyer hobby to help make this photo what it is. The instructor is helping the rider to mount her horse while the handler holds him still. The use of the PATH sign is very clever! My only suggestion would be for the scene to be flipped so that the horse isn’t being covered so much, or that the photographer find another prop (or make one) to use for a mounting block. Yay helmet!
Emily W., NY
This is a beautiful scene that portrays a therapy student meeting what appears to be her therapy horse. All of the details in this photograph show the creativity of the photographer, and the handmade props are amazing!
Anna W., NY
What a unique concept! The scene shows time and effort, and definitely creativity. All of us, I’m sure, would love to be greeted with a pony bearing goodies at our door when we aren’t quite feeling ourselves! My only suggestion here would be to increase lighting to help make the visual more clear.
Adrienne T., NV
The handmade walker here is so cool! This scene shows that the joy of horses can help those at any age, young or old! The barn in the background is lovely. The only suggestion here would be to straighten the camera angle to better display the photographer’s hard work.
Finley C., KS
This photo is so simple and so very pure. The photographer has done such a wonderful job to recreate a very tender moment between horse and human being. Beautiful!
Isabella G., CA
What a fun scene! This almost reminds me of a dream some of us have undoubtedly experienced in our lives. What better thing for someone as enthusiastic about horses as the girl here than to have their own, personal pony nurse come wish them well!
Logan K., MT
This photo was so much fun that it had to be included! What a unique perspective of the theme. How all of us horse lovers music wish we could take horses shopping with us, carry out our groceries, AND help take care of us all at once!
Taylor K., MT
Pony painting! This is such a fun and enriching activity for those using hippotherapy in their lives. It’s definitely a favorite activity (for all ages) an aids in both mental and physical stimulation. My only advice here is that the photographer could’ve added another figure to restrain the horse. We don’t want our canvases to walk away!
Maddie M., FL
The scene depicted is well-executed and shows a very realistic game utilized in hippotherapy. It helps kids and adults who have decreased motor function as well as being a very positive game that promoted endorphin release. The photographer has done a wonderful job to make this realistic because there are two people on either side of the horse – while the rider is on the back of the horse and someone is leading, two additional people are there to help if need be. Yay for giving your rider a helmet!
Kiley C., AZ
This photo depicts a real activity done in hippotherapy sessions. The rider is being asked to balance on the back of the horse with her arms outstretched. There are two walkers on either side just in case the rider needs help as the third person leads. A helmet for your rider would be a good addition. The added touch of the sign for the riding center is very nice!
Caitlin E., CO
The utilization of the backdrop makes this scene what it is – incredibly realistic! It’s very obvious the creator put time and thought into the pony’s outfit. They found the perfect model to use here.
Charlotte N., CO
This is such a cute scene! It shows the trust that this young girl has in her horse, and the use of lighting here is wonderful. The photomanipulation with shading and added grass around the basket is a nice touch.
Chloe W., SC
This scene is such a clever use of natural horsepower to help motorized horsepower. The tack set is amazing! The only words of advice I would give would be to possibly have the scene photographed without the house and shed in the background to help make the scale look more realistic.
Cade R., AZ
The concept of this photo is 100% adorable and pretty well embodies the fact that we, as equestrians, believe our equines to truly be our therapists. The glasses are perfect, as are the scale-appropriate notebook and sofa.