How To: Keeping Track of your Breyer Horse Collection

July 31, 2009

Whether you have 5 or 500 Breyer horses, its a good idea to start keeping track of them at some point in time. Without organization your collection can become very overwhelming and you just might end up buying two of something you already have or causing damage due to poor storage. Having your collection organized and cataloged can also help if something should ever happen to you, or if a model goes missing.

Most of you that have attended an event at Golden Oak Stables have heard me speak about the size of my collection, but for those of you that haven’t, I have a collection that I’ve lost track of at 1300. On top of that, my models are split between here and a collection in Ohio, so one of my goals for my collection where I currently am is to keep it organized so that I do know what I have andcan take good care of it. Hopefully by sharing what I’ve learned can help you to keep organized too!

The first step to keeping track of your collection is to photograph everything. Digital cameras are readily available now and really the best to use for your collection. By photographing your collection you will have a visual database that you can easily draw from. Set up a small photo booth using a flat surface against a wall. Hang a solid color sheet so that it drapes down the wall and onto the flat surface. Dust or wash your models and one by one take clear photographs of your horses. Try to keep your horse in a good view. Pick the side of the horse that either the head is turned to or the mane is on. Continue until you have photographed your entire collection. This will take a very long time to do. Once it is done though, you will only have to go and add in new horses that you get! Save your photos not only on your computer, but also on a CD so that you have a hard copy should something happen to your computer.

Another thing you can do is to make an spreadsheet of your horses. If you have already photographed your models, start a spreadsheet on the computer with categories such as “Name”, “Year Produced”, “Mold”, “Amount I paid”, “Where I got this model from”,”Model Number”, “Value” and “Condition”. You may not have all of this information, but a good place to find this info is in the current Breyer Value Guide. Starting and saving a current spreadsheet will help you if something goes missing or if you ever want to sell. Most people can’t display their entire collections, so having a spreadsheet can also help you identify what you own when you can’t see.

Lastly, and probably the most important thing when cataloging your collection is to store your horses well packed. Breyer horses need to be packed with care if they are going to be stored for a long period of time, and before you do any of that, its a good idea to either photograph them or to put the info into a spread sheet. After that is done, choose sturdy boxes for your horses, or Rubbermaid storage totes. Rubbermaid totes are really the best, not only because they are sturdy, but also because they are waterproof. You’ll want to wrap your models either in bubble wrap or in clean dry cotton cloth, tee shirts work well too. Make sure that your horses are completely wrapped and there aren’t any legs or ears hanging out. Put them in the box with the largest horses on the bottom and put smaller horses on top of that. Don’t over stuff your boxes because this will cause damage, sometimes even breaks to your models. Be sure to mark the box on the outside with what is in the box so that you can find it easily.

Using a few simple organizational steps your collection can be kept not only orderly, but safe too! Take good care of your collection of Breyer horses, you took the time to collect them, you wouldn’t want a little carelessness to ruin them!

~ Stacy

Email Stacy: Stacy@GoldenOakStables.com


Real Breyer Horses: Misty and Stormy of Chincoteauge

July 29, 2009

Nearly every Breyer collector has a Misty and Stormy in their collection at some point in time. The Misty and Stormy stories, written by Marguerite Henry are two of the most cherished stories that horse lovers will ever read. It is a story that sits warmly in the hearts of many horse lovers and continues to touch generations.

Misty is the most famous Chincoteague pony the world has ever seen. Misty is the story of a real pony adopted by the Beebe family. The Beebe family adopted Misty from the annual Pony Penning sale on Chincoteague island. Every year ponies are swam from the Assateauge island to Chincoteague where the ponies are auctioned off to the highest bidder. As the years go on Pony Penning and the Chincoteague ponies are becoming more and more popular as more horse lovers learn about the wonderful story that is Misty!

Stormy is Misty’s faithful foal. Marguerite Henry also wrote the story of Stormy: Misty’s foal which has also become a favorite of many horse lovers! Stormy was also owned by the Beebe family.

The Breyer Misty was released in 1972 and was originally released in a carrying case with a copy of the Misty novel. In 1977 Misty got her foal when Breyer released Stormy. Misty has been released in only a couple colors other than her quintessential original color. She was also produced as a porcelain model as a special run in 1992 and she was offered with Stormy in a fanciful flocked version, also a special run. Misty and Stormy are currently still being produced in their original colors as a gift set along with the novel and are available through Golden Oak Stables currently.

Misty is a great show model still proving her worth in the show ring today. She shows wonderfully as a Chincoteague pony as well as doubling as a Bashkir Curly due to her textured coat. She could also be creatively shown as a myriad of other pony breeds. Stormy is also a great show model making a good Chincoteauge and can also be a large variety of pony breeds, again including the Bashkir Curly.

Every horse lover should read Misty and Stormy. They are classic stories that are important and create tons of memories that a horse lover will remember forever, and just as every horse lover should read Misty and Stormy, every Breyer collector needs a Misty and Stormy in their collection!

~Stacy

Email Stacy: Stacy@GoldenOakStables.com


Breyer Horse Showing: Introduction to Live Shows

July 27, 2009

Showing model horses is a fun activity that not only is educational but also helps you get in touch with people of similar interest. Showing model horses is easy and can be extremely fun!

Live Model Horse Showing can seem like a bit of a confusing concept with the word “Live” in there. A “Live Show” refers to the fact that they are live, “In Person” shows where you actually show up the day of show with your horses, There is another type of showing called “Photo Showing” that involves photographing your models and sending the photos either through the mail to a judge or digitally via email to a judge. We’re going to focus on Live Showing today.

The first step in attending any live show is to find one. Breyerhorses.com is a great place to start as is namhsa.org . Both websites allow you to search by area or state and have contact info for more information. If you are in the New England area Golden Oak Stables hosts several live shows a year, check out the website to see upcoming events.

Once you’ve found a show, contact the show holder as soon as possible. You’ll first off need to get information about the show and entering and you’ll also need to enter as soon as possible. Entering early helps the show holder plan the show. Tables and chairs need to be ordered far in advance as well as seating charts and paperwork. Please try to enter as soon as possible; some shows may have a late fee that needs to be paid if you don’t enter before a certain time frame, all of this will be laid out in the show information.

Once you’ve entered you’ll want to start planning what models you are going to bring. For Original Finish models you’ll want to be very critical and pick only your most mint models. Leave any models with rubs, breaks, or marks at home. Models are judged based on not only the model itself but also the condition it is in. In most cases a model with an obvious rub or mark won’t place well. You’ll also want to pick out models that are good fits for the breed. The most realistic horses show best.

When you have picked out your models you will next need to pick breeds for each of them. You can check out the internet along with the library for breed information. It is also a good idea to invest in a Horse Encyclopedia. They can often be found very cheap at most bookstores. Look for one that has lots of breeds, especially ones you may have never heard of before!  Read descriptions very carefully and pay attention to the photos and the colors. If your horse has appaloosa markings make sure whatever breed you pick for it can have appaloosa spots.

There are two types of showing you can do at most live shows, Halter and Performance. Halter is simply judging your horse on the breed conformation, performance is judging your horse doing an activity with tack that is appropriate for the activity. If you are showing Halter be sure to clean your models well and get all of the dust off of them. In between the ears and in the creases of the manes and tails are notorious for hiding dust. If you are showing performance you may choose to “Tack-up” your horse before you pack them up for the show.

Packing your horses needs to be done with care so that they don’t incur damage on their way to and from. Large cardboard boxes work well, but Rubbermade totes work the best. Wrapping the horses should be done with care, using either old tee-shirts or bubble wrap cover the horse entirely and start standing up your largest horses in the bottom of your container. After the first layer of horses is down, start laying your smaller horses, on their sides, on top of the other models. Do NOT over fill your containers, it will cause damage.

The day of the show be sure to get up on time, and head out with enough time to get a good breakfast in your stomach and to also get there on time. Most shows open up an hour before the show starts so that people can begin setting up their horses. It is a good idea to do this. Once you arrive at the show check in with the show holder and introduce yourself. You will probably be assigned a table and the show holder will point you in that direction. Bring a table cloth to set your horses out on and start setting them up on your table. If you are sharing your table with others be sure to be careful about how much space you are using.

Once the show starts just listen for your horse’s classes and have fun, be sure to introduce yourself to others and try to have a good time. The most fun of a horse show isn’t winning, but its making great friends!

~Stacy


How To: Breyer Horse Custom Base Making

July 24, 2009

Sometimes a small model will need a little something to stand out on the show table, sometimes you need a nice prop to take photos with, and sometimes you might just want a pretty base to set your ponies on to display. Whatever your reason, its easy and simple to make a creative base to display your models.

For this project you’ll need the following items:

  • Wooden Plaque, available at most craft stores, choose a size based on your model, most Stablemate scale horses will do well with a base 4-6 inches on its largest side, for this I chose a round shape.
  • Sandpaper
  • Brown craft paint
  • 2- 1 inch Sponge brushes
  • White craft glue
  • Craft Sand (I chose tan, brown also works well)
  • Optional- Dried florals, Lichen, or other greenery, there are lots of great products made for model trains that also work well for this.

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Once you have all your materials, the first step is to sand the wooden base. Most times there will be some roughness, and sanding this out will make your paint go on much smoother. I’ve chosen 320 grit sandpaper to do this.

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After your sanding is done, you can start painting your base with the brown paint and sponge brush. Cover the top and sides completely and be sure to get in all the crevices. Let it dry completely before going on to the next step.

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When your base has dried, use your other sponge brush to cover the top with white glue. Be VERY careful not to get any glue on the sides and to also put on the glue thick. Be sure it is put on as evenly as possible during this step so that you don’t get unevenness in the next step.

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Now you can begin pouring your sand on the base. Pour slowly and cover the base entirely. Let it sit for a minute or two and dump any sand that didn’t stick into a papertowel.

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Most times you’ll need to do a second coat of sand. For this coat of glue don’t smear the glue on, dab it on. After the second layer of glue is on, cover again with sand and dump the excess after its left to dry for a moment.

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Your base is now technically done, but you can go on from here and add a little bit of flair! I chose to put some dried baby’s breath, lichen and a rock onto my base to jazz it up a little. I suggest doing this on one side only, because you don’t want to block your horse.

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Using small amounts of your chosen material start building your small floral arrangement, using white glue to adhere it to the base. Slowly build up so that you don’t overwhelm your base.

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Once you are happy with your base let it dry completely.
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After it is dry your base might look something like this!

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It can be used for both perofrmance and halter and can serve many purposes. Have fun, experiment and you’ll have a beautiful base in no time!

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Real Breyer Horses: John Henry

July 22, 2009

Breyer has immortalized many famous race horses in its time, but one of the most well known is John Henry.

The real John Henry was born in 1975 to a virtually unknown sire and dam at Golden Chance farm. As a foal he became well known for smashing his feed buckets and the name John Henry was given to him, as the real John Henry was known as a “Steel Drivin’ Man”. He also went on to be gelded for being a handful of a colt. John went on to be sold at the January Keenland sale for a mere $1,100. He from there was raced in small races and proved himself to be a small force to be rivaled with. In 1978 he was purchased by Dotsam Stables and went on to race in California. He went on to race until the age of 9, which is elderly in race horse terms, and his record stood at 83 starts, 39 wins, 15 seconds, and 9 thirds with $6,497,947 in earnings.

In 1985 John Henry went to live out his retirement at the Kentucky Horse Park. His arrival became the catalyst to create the “Hall Of Champions” as we know it today! In his retirement he was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New York and to be ranked in Bloodhorse’s Top 100 Thoroughbred Champions of the 20th Century as #23 . During the summer of 2007 Kentucky was subject to a heat wave and John didn’t fare well through it. He developed kidney problems and on October 6th he had stopped responding to veterinary care. He was peacefully euthanized at 7:05pm on October 8th 2007. He went on to be buried outside of the Hall of Champions, in front of his paddock.

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John Henry’s Grave at the Kentucky Horse Park

Breyer created a John Henry portrait mold in 1988. He has been released in several colors but the portrait of him in bay is the most recognizable. The John Henry model is a performance standard. He continues to be one of the most perfect and versatile performance mounts in model horse showing today, even garnering wins at North American Nationals year after year. The John Henry mold sadly does not make the greatest halter horse, but his ability in the performance ring makes up for any shortcomings the model may have.

Currently Breyer has John Henry released as a benefit model for the ELCR which conserves land to be able to enjoy for generations to come. The model is a fitting portrait of John! It is available in both a Dun and a Dapple Grey. Both will only be produced as a limited edition for this year only.


Breyer Horse Events: Breyerfest Wrap-up!

July 20, 2009

Breyerfest 2009 has come and gone in a flurry of good times. Breyer as always puts on a wonderful show making sure that collectors of all ages are catered to with workshops and activities not only designed for collectors new but also old.

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The welcome gates were happy to greet new and old friends alike

The theme for this year’s Breyerfest was “Birthday Bash” celebrating the 20th anniversary of Breyerfest. I’ve had the honor of attending 14 of those 20 Breyerfests, but missing the previous two years (2007 and 2008) proved to be beneficial this year making the 20th anniversary bigger and better in my eyes than any other in recent history.

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Fans from all over wrote birthday wishes to Breyer


Friday morning began early for me, getting to the park at 8:30am for opening ceremonies and to get the first chance at the Breyer store. A pleasant surprise to this current New Englander was the temperatures! Friday began with a high in the high 70’s and the rest of the weekend followed suit! Normally weather in Kentucky in July is in the mid to high 90’s with high humidity. Other activities of the day on Friday was dropping off my Cake Topper contest entry (Which I sadly didn’t win) as well as participating in a workshop (Flockies, stay tuned for a How-to! It was a blast!) and watching Tommy Turvey perform. If you have not seen him perform yet, you should, his DVD comes with the Breyer Poker Joe, his whole act is just too much fun and he is truly a talented horseman!

After activities at the park, the party moved over to the Holiday Inn North, which is the official hotel of Breyerfest. The Holiday Inn North (Or HIN as its abbreviated by most hobbiests) is the host hotel to many attendees as well as the Artisans Gallery which is a showcase and sale of customizers and sculptors, and the Swap Meet which takes place on Friday night. As well as hosting those events, the Holiday Inn North allows their guests to open their rooms for sales, and walking the halls of the HIN becomes a great way to meet other folks and browse. The Swap Meet was a popular event as it always is with a long line and wait to get in, and the hotel was buzzing with conversation well into the night.

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Some of the wonderful Cake Toppers


Saturday brought another early day at the Kentucky Horse Park for myself. Arriving at around 9:30am I spent the morning doing Breyer’s scavenger hunt and visiting all of the sections of the park, including the new indoor arena that the Kentucky Horse Park has built for the World Equestrian Games in 2010. The park is under major construction in preparation for the World Equestrian games and has changed largely from the park I remember it, but it is just beautiful! Later in the day included meeting Roxy, the celebration horse owned by Stacy Westfall and taking the time to visit the park and its attractions, including the Hall of Champions and the ever wonderful International Museum of the Horse.

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Meeting the wonderful Roxy


Near the end of the day most visitors congregated in the indoor arena to participate in Breyer’s charity raffle, sadly I was not a winner there, but many others went home happy with their exclusive models. Directly after the raffle the crowds made the long trek over to the new indoor arena for the annual dinner and benefit auction. The dinner also hosted a birthday hat contest, which I’m ecstatic to report that I was a winner there! Hundreds of people attended, most in fanciful, hand made hats to show their support for Breyer and their 20 years of bringing together people who might never have gotten to meet.

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Dinner and hat contest in the new arena


Breyerfest is to me as it is to many people, a way to get together with people who understand me. Its an opportunity to meet new friends and see the ones I don’t see often enough. One thing that I do every Breyerfest without fail is to pay attention to people who are new to Breyerfest, especially parents with their young, horse loving children. The most impressive thing about Breyerfest is just how nice people are and how willing to help out the next person, and its my goal to do that for as many people as I can. After all, this is a hobby, and we all should be having a wonderful time with it. I know that the most fun of Breyerfest was simply meeting new people with a smile on my face and receiving one back, and isn’t being happy really what’s important in life?

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Till next time Kentucky!

~Stacy


How To: Transporting Breyer Model Horses

July 17, 2009

Transporting models

At one time or another you are going to want to bring your models somewhere, whether it is over a friend’s house, moving or going to a model horse show. If not done properly, traveling with your models can cause huge amounts of damage to them, but done properly you can take your models virtually anywhere!

Original Finish Breyers are fairly durable compared to customized horses. Original finish Breyers can handle heat and humidity a bit easier than custom models. The most important thing to remember when packing either is that you should never have two horses touching without something in-between them.

You’ll first need a container to pack your models in. The best item to use is an 18 gallon Rubbermaid tote with a top. An 18 gallon container will hold around 15 traditional size Breyer horses. These can be found in the home section of most stores. Its important to get the  brand because they will go through a large amount of wear and tear and other generic brands will not hold up to such wear and tear, I speak from experience, I’ve broken more than one tote the day before a show and had to try to tape my container together.

Models will need to be wrapped individually before being placed in the container. The best thing to use is what are called Pony Pouches. These are created by using a fleece type material and sewing them into appropriately sized pouches. If there isn’t a seamstress in your family you can always use an old tee shirt to wrap your model in, or bubble wrap. Wrap your model so that it is entirely covered. Fragile parts of your horse such as ears and thin tails can be wrapped in toilet paper to help prevent an injury.

Once all of your models are wrapped up you can begin placing them in the container. Start with the largest models first and put them standing up in the container. Once the first “Layer” of horses is down, start placing your models in on their sides on top of the layer of larger models on the bottom. Work from the largest horses on bottom to the smaller horses on top until all your models are in. Leave some room at the top so that you don’t smash and models and so that they have plenty of room to move around in the container.

Custom models are just a little bit different for packing. You’ll want to make sure that if you are using bubble wrap that the model is wrapped with the bubbles facing out, if the bubbles are facing inward, they can stick to your model. If you are using a form of cloth, you’ll want to make sure that it isn’t a fabric that will leave “fuzzies”. Old tee shirts work best, stay away from fleeces and other fabrics that may leave residue. Its also important when traveling to avoid leaving your container in the heat or in direct sunlight. This can cause the paint to loosen up and ruin the finish.

By following these simple steps you can bring your models anywhere and then bring them back to your stable at home with little to no damage. Model horse shows and other events are great activities and now that you know how to pack your models, you should feel confident to bring your models out of their home paddocks!


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