The Real World of Model Horses

By Marney Walerius

Have you ever dreamed about owning a horse? Have you ever thought about what breed it might be... how it would look, act and belong just to you? Then one day you walk into a store and come face to face with that horse, as well as countless others. A dream, you ask? No, what you have discovered is the very real world of model horses.

At first you may think that you have only found a temporary substitute for that original goal, but wait, there is a very real and rewarding hobby in collecting and showing your models. Like their live counterparts, model horses come in a variety of shapes, colors, and textures. Their bodies can be composed of different materials such as ceramic or plastic. Skilled designers portray the models as purebreds, mixed breeds, or even famous race horses such as Man O' War and Secretariat.

As you collect, you may wish to name your models -- that decision brings with it the beginnings of stable management. Keeping track of the basics like model type, breed, sire and even name is half the fun!

Breyer ModelA nice extra for your collection may be miniature saddles, bridles, and harness for the horses. These items are collectively known as tack. Making tack requires not only basic knowledge on your part, but also time spent experimenting, measuring and practicing. Making your own tack is lots of fun and it adds a very personal touch to your collection.

A true collector will try to accumulate all the makes and colors of models from his or her favorite manufacturer. However, part of the excitement is discovering models which are no longer made. Then, the search is on to flea markets, stores, and tack shops to look for the elusive horse! Model enthusiasts also trade, buy and sell their horses in a never ending search for the complete collection.

Another interesting twist to collecting is that your model does not have to remain in its original condition. Many collectors enjoy remaking and repainting their plastic horse, also known as customizing. Remakers reposition the horse with the aid of boiling water and putty. Some go so far as removing legs, heads, or other body parts to reassemble them into an entirely new horse!

Many avid collectors enjoy showing off their models by entering them in model horse shows. These shows can be "live" (where the collector takes his or her models to the show location) or they can be "photo" shows (where a photograph of the horse is sent, via mail, to the judge).

Kids with ModelsCollecting, painting, tack making, and photography can not only be a great source of pride, but also offer something much more important - a learning experience. The knowledge which you acquire from the hobby can often be applied to real horses.

Someday your dream of owning a real horse may come true, but in the meantime, why not enjoy the real world of model horses?