New Releases: Breyer Elegance Western Horse

February 25, 2010

The Western discipline is the second to be featured in the Elegance series, a series that is the epitome of Breyer quality. Breyer has created a series that brings collectors the highest quality horse, rider, tack and accessories that are widely available.

The Elegance Western set begins with a beautifully painted Dun Pinto Paint Horse. The horse is done on the Zippo Pine Bar mold, a mold created for one of the most famous Quarter Horse stallions in recent years. This mold which was sculpted by Sommer Prosser is a very popular mold that excels in performance showing, being one of the best Western mounts in Breyer’s stable. The model is featured in the perfect gait for Western Performance and looks calm, cool and collected. The beautiful Dun color is accented by large flashy patches of white markings along with primitive leg barring.

The horse includes a beautiful porcelain doll dressed authentically and beautifully. Her fancy white, gold and rhinestone encrusted shirt is the perfect replica of the western show shirts that many riders wear so proudly. She also is wearing a pair of leather chaps, boots and a hat to complete the outfit. Her hair is beautifully created and styled in mohair and she has a realistic calm look to her face. Her limbs are movable and ready to take on any event you could ask of her!

A beautifully crafted western saddle and bridle set was created especially for this set. Outfitted with loads of leather carving and silver, this set is similar to any of the fancy tack you would see at a top class show. Working buckles, breast collar and a realistic cinch really sets off the set as a huge step above anything available currently! This set even includes a wooden, hand crafted tack box, which is realistic in every way and is an exact miniature, only shrunk down to 1:9 scale! And the final touch on this set is the beautiful box which it is packaged in, which can be used for many years to come.  With fitted foam and a sturdy construction it will make an excellent place to store your set when not in use.

An absolute must have for a die hard Western fan, performance lover, or collector the Western Elegance set is everything you could ask from Breyer, a beautiful horse, tack, doll and packaging all in one set!

~Stacy

Email Stacy: Stacy@GoldenOakStables.com


Breyer Horse Collection Organization: Photography

February 22, 2010

Having a collection of over 1300 model horses (mostly Breyer) can obtain a myriad of responses from others. Often at Golden Oak Stables events, parents, friends and families of other collectors ask “How Many!?!?!”, followed by “Where do you keep them all?”. Well, sadly most of mine are packed in boxes and I don’t get to see them often, but with thanks to the wonders of digital photography my horses are only a few clicks away!

Even if your collection isn’t as large in size as mine, there are many reasons to photograph your collection. The most important reason is so that you know what you do have and what you do not have. That may sound silly, but even with a few dozen models, its easy to get confused on what models you have. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bought doubles of Stablemates that I’ve already bought before I started photographing my collection, but having that visual aid can help eliminate that. In addition, it’s good for insurance purposes should something happen to your collection. Lastly, its just fun for showing off! In the age of the internet, its fun to have photos of all of your beautiful horses to show off to friends!

Photographing a large collection is quite an undertaking, and in all honestly mine isn’t even completed yet, but once you start, it is easy to keep up with. There are several choices for how to photograph your collection: you want take all of your photos in the same spot to keep them uniform. Some of the best places to photograph your models are either outdoors, on blank background indoors or in a photography tent. You can see examples below of each of the different places. I’ve found that the photography tent provides the best photographs, but as long as you are taking consistent photos your photos should turn out just fine! Pay attention to your camera setting to avoid obvious glares and shadows. Photograph your models from both sides, as well as any distinguishing marks on your model. Taking photos of the model along with any certificates or boxes is also a good idea so you can keep track of the additional things to go with your models.

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It may seem like a huge undertaking, but its a very important thing for every collector to do. Once you have taken your photos, remember to back them up, either on a disk or online. Happy photographing!

~Stacy

Email Stacy: Stacy@GoldenOakStables.com


Model Horse Showing: Using Real Horses To Educate!

February 18, 2010

As spring rolls around my thoughts are moving from cold winter days to warm spring days, and with those thoughts are filling with thoughts of the upcoming Golden Oak Stables’ show, Saddle-Up for Spring.

At any live show, you will be asked to pick a breed for your model horses. Sometimes Breyer will choose a breed for their horses, but even if Breyer has picked a breed, you might still want to use your creativity and knowledge of real horses to pick the very best breed for your horses. Its important to remember that every real horse activity works exactly the same in the model horse world, and every real horse breed can be used for a model horse! The same standards are used for both real and model horses, so whatever you find that is true for real horses is true for model horses.

As I’ve gotten more and more involved with model horse showing, I’ve also become more and more involved in real horses. I do not have the privilege to own a horse of my own or ride on a regular basis, but my model horses still keep me involved in a slightly different way. Even though I don’t ride or own a horse, I still find myself going to real horse shows and expos. I often use this opportunity to photograph horses, watch events being performed and photograph events and different breeds. Horse expos and shows are great places to see events that you wouldn’t see normally, and to get a real feel of what different horse breeds look like. You’ll find that most horse people are very friendly and love to talk about their horses, and they are often more than happy to answer any and all questions you might have.

If you can’t get to horse shows or expos, horse magazines, books and websites are amazing resources that will teach you more than you might ever know. Magazine subscriptions are wonderful; I have several real horse subscriptions that I use for reference. I will mark breeds that are interesting to me, or events that I think would make great performance events. Horse books are great and filled with information, they have amazing information that might not be able to be found anywhere else, but always cross check older books with newer resources; many things can change over the years.

The internet is probably the greatest resource that we have, but its also important to remember that your source needs to be reliable, because anyone can put anything on the internet. I use the internet to save pictures of oddly colored horses or breeds I have never heard of. The internet is also wonderful for finding event courses and photographs for performance events.

Whether you have a horse or not, you can use the knowledge of the horse world to not only learn more about model horses but also to keep involved with real horses!

~Stacy

Email Stacy: Stacy@GoldenOakStables.com


New Releases: 2010 Breyer Horse Accessory Sets

February 15, 2010

Breyer is always on the cutting edge in the model horse hobby, bringing us beautiful and interesting horses each and every year as well as a myriad of other accessories for them. From saddles to blankets, from barns to riders, from Camping sets to Sleepover sets, Golden Oak Stables has dozens of realistic accessories that can make your collection a blast to play with, show with or just display.

When I first began collecting Breyers almost 20 years ago, there were few horses released each new year and even fewer accessories. In 2010 we have the joy of being able to get just about anything you can think of for your horses, right from Breyer! New tack this year includes both an English and Western set in hot flashy colors. These hot flashy sets are both affordable and realistic and even have leg protection! These flashy sets are wonderful introductory or play tack and could even show well!

Joining the Breyer Blanket collection this year is a very neat Quilted Stable Set that is unlike any we’ve seen before! This warm, comfy, cozy blanket set is perfect for keeping your ponies and horses toasty in the cold winter months. There is both a blanket and hood included in this set for those super chilly winter months and are both a beautiful, brilliant blue with purple trim.

Two of the most exciting accessories that have been released recently are a new Camping Set and a new Horse Show Grooming Kit. Ready for a warm summer night, the camping kit is highlighted by a wonderful, full size tent that will fit your riders and maybe even a pony or two! A coordinating horse blanket and sleeping bag are also included in the set! The Horse Show Grooming Kit has tons of new accessories for the horse show rider or horse show groom to keep their horse gorgeous for the show ring. Included in the set is a tack trunk, a bucket of treats, a grooming tote, a bucket and a stencil kit with glitter to give your horses their very own quarter marks!

Whether you are a shower, a collector or just play with your ponies, there are exciting new sets that are just waiting to join your ponies this year.

~Stacy

Email Stacy: Stacy@GoldenOakStables.com


Breyer Horse Showing: Photo Showing Tips

February 11, 2010

In the past few years, photo showing has become more popular than ever. With digital cameras and the internet becoming the norm, the days of mailing piles of photographs through the mail is gone and replaced by online shows which are easy to enter and most times are very inexpensive if not free. Its also an excellent choice for those of you that can’t make it to live shows, like Golden Oak Stables! Here’s a few photography tips for taking winning photographs.

I have had the honor of judging a couple photo shows in the past few months, as well as entering a few. The winter is a good time for this, especially in New England when there isn’t much to do except sit by the fire. I’ve found online photo showing to be extremely encouraging and educational, from both my position as a shower and a judge.

The most important thing to strive for is taking good, clear photographs. It doesn’t matter if you have the most beautiful horse with the most perfect breed, if the photograph is dark or blurry, there sadly is little hope. I use what is called a Photo Tent, a small cloth cube that helps distribute light evenly over your subject without having significant glares or shadows.  If you do not have access to a photo tent, the next best thing is using mid-afternoon sun. Setting up outside is easy in the spring and summer, but in the winter it can be very difficult. For shooting inside you’ll want to find a room that gets lots of natural but not direct sunlight and try shooting a few photos in there.

Where ever you have to take your photos, set up on a flat surface like a sturdy table. For a background I like to use a plain cream colored fabric. This works well for nearly all colors of models and you can experiment with different backgrounds. Some people choose to use poster sized pictures of natural scenes and others find success using just nature in the background. Play around and find what works best for you. If you choose to use a natural scene you’ll want to think about the footing your horse is on. Extremely fine ground soil makes a good footing as does a sheet of grass often used for train miniatures.

Once you’ve got it all set up, try to set your horse in its best “light”. You don’t want glares on the horse (Sometimes with glossy models this is unavoidable, but you want to minimize it as much as possible) and you’ll want to make sure that the horse isn’t in any shadows. The hardest part is making sure the horse’s head isn’t covered by shadow.

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Photograph above shows poorly lit model out of focus.

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Photo above shows a model that is far too dark with a badly cast shadow below it.

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Photo above shows model with light poorly distributed on the face as well as multiple glares.

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Photo above shows a well photographed model that shows the model properly.

So dust off your camera and start taking photos!

~Stacy

Email Stacy: Stacy@GoldenOakStables.com


Breyer Horse Customizing: Choosing a Customizer

February 8, 2010

With all of the wonderful artists out there, we all would love to add a custom Breyer Horse to our collection at one point or another. Even if you are an experienced customizer yourself, its important to seek out an artist that will make your dreams come true!

There are many things to consider when choosing an artist. Many artists will take on custom commission orders; this can be a positive because you can pick and choose every little detail. This can also have a few negatives including taking a while in some cases to be completed as well as having to consider prepping. Prepping is the process of sanding, seam removal and divot filling, as well as priming the model. Some artists will do this themselves, and some even include it in their prices of customizing. Others will require you to find a prepper on your own. Purchasing a completed model has quite a few positives and negatives too. On the positive, you’ll receive your model right away, and not have to worry about finding a prepper or shipping the model back and forth.

Whichever you choose, you’ll need to know where to start. Finding an artist can be an easy task, but finding the right one for you can be a bit more difficult. Ethics is important; you’ll want to ask around with friends and other hobbyists that you know and see what artists they may have worked with. You can also do some internet searches to see what artists are available. One of the best way to find them is through live shows. Check out the custom tables for horses that you like. Some shows, including the Golden Oak Stables Shows, have Amateur Owner classes. These are classes specifically for customizers who are up and coming to show themselves. Classes like this can help you see artists that not only are up and coming, but in most cases local!

Lastly, before you send off your horse to someone, do an internet search to check out their name. This hobby is filled with a vast majority of wonderfully ethical people, but there are always a few bad eggs. Model Horse Hobby Reference is a email list that reports only on model horse hobby dealings. This is the best place to look for a reference on your artist. It is updated often and has thousands of testimonials.

However you choose to look for an artist, be sure to do your homework! When you have, you have nothing more to worry about than waiting for the horse of your dreams to show up!

~Stacy

Email Stacy: Stacy@GoldenOakStables.com


Breast Cancer Awareness: Breyer Horses Pink Ribbon Horse

February 4, 2010

This year, Breyer teams up for a wonderful cause that touches the lives of many people every day: breast cancer. 2010 marks the first year that Breyer is using its presence in the horse hobby to create awareness and raise money to support Breast Cancer research.

Arriving this week at Golden Oak Stables is the fanciful and beautiful Pink Ribbon Horse that commemorates the struggle millions have with this disease. Breast Cancer is the second most common non-skin cancer in women, affecting nearly 11% 0f all cancer cases in women. However, this is not just a female disease; it effects males as well although it is nearly 100 times more common in females. In recent years advances in research has helped this disease have a lower mortality rate, although it still takes nearly half a million people a year accounting for 7% of all cancer deaths and 1% of all deaths total. This difficult disease that effects not only those afflicted but also the families, has made leaps and  bounds in learning and treatment but the need is still there for advancement; that’s where Breyer comes in!

Breyer’s Pink Ribbon Horse is an amazing piece of the artistry that Breyer encompasses. It is the first regular run that is produced in an amazing clear plastic! This amazing piece is done on the feisty and romantic Breyer Andalusian that is full of strength and energy. The clear pink plastic paints the background for the the elegant pink ribbons that dance all over the horse. The flowing mane and tail flow thick and fully that create extensions of the horse’s body.

In the past Breyer has produced clear models. Up until about five years ago these were only test runs, and then a few limited special runs were produced in this elegant manner, but this model marks an amazing bond between a special model and an important cause that deserves far more attention than it receives. It is often difficult to remember how many people are affected by these tragic diseases. Breyer has created a model that encompasses not only the spirit of the horse, but the spirit of the fight against this disease, one that needs to be won, at all costs! What a better reason to add this fantastic horse to your collection?

~Stacy

Email Stacy: Stacy@GoldenOakStables.com


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