Breyer Horse Showing: Building A Performance Live Show Kit

May 12, 2011

Last time we helped you find some key items for live showing. These items will come in handy for any live show that you may find yourself at, but if you have the desire to show  performance classes you’ll need a few more things.

Performance classes are classes where showers put their equestrian knowledge to the test by creating scenes with their models that attempt to capture a moment where a horse is performing a certain skill or event. This often times includes accurate and scale saddles, bridles, props, accessories and riders. Because of the attention to detail required, performance classes can be very difficult and take many hours of planning to perfect. While at the show hall a kit for performance emergencies can save you frustration and also save your entry!

The most important item in your kit will be either Sticky Wax or Dental Wax that is used to hold bits on your horse’s mouth or a prop in a rider’s hand. I’ve even used this in the past to give the horse a little extra hold if they are in a difficult position or are a bit tippy. This was will become the most important item in your show kit and you’ll find dozens of uses for it! Tweezers are a great item to have for buckling those little buckles on girths and on bridles.  In smaller scales Toothpicks become a great item for tacking up or putting little details in place. Smaller scales require precision so the small size of a toothpick tip will become a quick friend! If you show your horses in both Performance and Halter a Felt Cloth  is a great item to quickly and easily remove sticky wax from your model in a few simple swipes.

Showing performance also means that there is a chance that you’ll have a tack repair that will be needed the day of the show. Bringing along extra Wire to fashion a quick buckle or bit along with a pair of Needle Nose Pliers and Glue will provide invaluable should a repair be needed. Extra Leather and Leather Lacing can be very helpful and will be needed should a strap or stirrup leather break.

Performance can be a bit overwhelming the first time but it is very fun and rewarding! Give performance a shot at Golden Oak Stables’ beginner friendly shows that will let you get a feel for it in a constructive manner!  Beginners are always welcome at Golden Oak Stables!


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Breyer Horse Showing: Building Your Live Showing Kit

May 9, 2011

Ready to attend your first show? Or perhaps you are a veteran shower that have been showing for a long while. No matter what your experience a Live Showing Kit will make your upcoming show much easier and successful by streamlining everything you need into one kit that holds all that you could need to prevent show day disasters!

The most important thing you’ll need on the day of the show is a Table Cloth. This is the first thing you are going to lay down on your show table when you arrive at the venue. This is a very important item in your kit because a table cloth can prevent your models from getting damaged should one fall over. Tumbles often happen because one little bump of your table can wiggle your horses, so bring a table cloth to keep your horses from hitting the hard surface without protection.

You will want to bring a few things to keep your horses looking good at the show. Judges often look for dust on models so bringing a Soft Brush to dust your models off with. A large makeup brush works well for this task and can be found at any drug store. You can also bring a small Paint Kit if you feel confident in doing touch ups on your models. Eartip and hoof rubs often don’t get noticed until you are out in better light or a small rub can occur in many situations so bringing a small paint kit with you can save the day!

There are some important items that you will need no matter what your show string looks like. Bring extra Hanging Tags that you place around the horse’s leg to identify it at the show because it never fails that one or two goes missing. A few Pens and Pencils will come in handy for writing down your horses’ placings or for filling out raffle tickets! Bringing some Snacks is also a good idea along with a Bottle of Water or two. You don’t want to let your energy drop throughout the day! You might also want to bring some extra Packing Materal or Boxes if you end up bringing a new horse or two home. Don’t forget your Camera to take photos as the day goes on of your horses and of the show! You don’t want to miss the memories of the day!

Live shows can be a great time and you can succeed with a bit of planning. You will find more things that you need to add to your live show kit as you go along, and everyone’s is different, this is just the start! You can try your first show out with Golden Oak Stables‘ and get a feel for the world of model horse showing, but don’t forget to pack your Live Showing Kit which will help you on your way to the Winner’s Circle!

Next time we’ll make a Performance Live Showing Kit for all of you performance junkies! Stay tuned!


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Breyer Horse Photography: A Few Spring Tips!

April 14, 2011

Warm weather is rolling in and while storms roll in from time to time, the sun is here to stay! One of my favorite parts of spring is getting my models that I’ve gotten over the winter out and spending some time photographing them! Photographing models is a fun activity that is a great way to interact with your models that sometimes only sit on a shelf. Its also a wonderful way to get creative and take some amazing artistic shots of your models! With a few tips you’ll be taking lovely photos in no time!

The best light to take photographs in is partially cloudy light in the morning or late afternoon when the sun is lower in the sky. This diffuses the light a little bit so you don’t get a high bright light. A bright sunlight can cast large shadows on your models and can make it difficult to take a good photo! Its also important to play with your camera settings to see what works best for you in the light that you are using. Often you’ll have to change your camera settings from one place to another, especially when going from indoor to outdoor photography. Generally, for model horses, outdoor photography produces the best results and flash will only hurt your photograph. So turn off the flash and head outside for some natural, beautiful light!

From GOS

Photo Shot Inside, Notice the clutter and disarray in the background.

From GOS

Same photo, shot outside on a “plain” background.

Another important thing is choosing your composition well. Try to steer clear of large objects in the background which can distract your photo. Avoid buildings, telephone poles, fences or other obstructions that can make your photo seem out of scale. The more basic the background, the better. Some cameras have settings which will put the background in soft focus, this is an invaluable feature for many people and can really help your photos look beautiful!

From GOS

Background cluttered with buildings and fencing.

The last little tip is about “footing”. Whatever you photograph your model on, be sure that your horse is stable on it and won’t fall over! A gust of wind can easily knock down a horse on a shaky surface and you don’t want to risk damage to your model! One of the biggest mistakes when photographing models is photographing them in grass. Avoid this at all costs. No matter how short the grass is cut, your model will always look out of scale. Choose something flat and neutral. Sometimes the color can effect the photograph though, so play around a bit to see what works best for your horse!

From GOS

Model on neutral footing.

From GOS

Model on blue footing, notice color differences with model.

So grab your camera and your new horses from Golden Oak Stables and head outside for a fun spring project! Then you can share your photos here or make a video for the Golden Oak Stables video contest out of your photos! Photographing your model is a fun and easy way to get some “play time” with your models! Young and old, its a great activity!


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Breyer Horse Showing: Picking The Perfect Breed 2

March 10, 2011

Monday’s article covered the basics of picking a breed for your beloved Breyer but there’s a few other tips we’d love to bring you so that you can bring home those blue ribbons!

Sometimes you’ll see a show entrant that has lots of breeds that you’ve never heard of that she’s assigned her horses. This is a very common thing to do and can be a lot of fun! It can also be a mistake if not done properly.  Rare breeds can get you noticed in the show ring, for better or for worse, so when picking these very hard to find breeds, you have to not only have strong documentation, but also make sure your horse looks exactly like the breed description as well as any reference photos. When you are using a rare breed spend the time to research both in books and online, you’ll want to find multiple sources for your information because misinformation happens all the time! Use reliable resources to choose your rare breeds and you’ll be in the blues!

You’ll also want to pay attention to the position your horse is in and how the mane and tail are styled. If a horse is being shown as a Missouri Fox Trotter, you’ll need to make sure he’s trotting like Missouri Fox Trotters do! Norwegian Fjords typically wear a mane that is cut in a specific way where it stands straight on end, you’ll never see a Fjord enter a real life show ring without their mane cut properly and a model shouldn’t ether.  Pay attention to the little details and this will help you on your way to the championship.

Speaking of little, minis are some of the most popular show models for some people and are growing in popularity each and ever day! Take a good look at those little guys before picking a breed and pay close attention to their details. If you need to get a magnifying glass to see the details, go ahead and do it! They are so tiny that its difficult to see all those tiny details! Breyer gives almost every Stablemate a breed which fits them well, but don’t feel stuck in picking one of those breeds, but also don’t go crazy and think too far outside of the box, sometime’s Breyer is perfect in their choices!

So spend a little time researching and have a blast learning about all of the interesting breeds of the world before your next show. If you’re in the New England area, you’re in luck, Golden Oak Stables has a calendar full of events for you this year including model horse shows! Be sure not to miss them!


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Breyer Horse Showing: Choosing The Perfect Breed

March 7, 2011

Spring is less than three weeks away and with spring comes warmer weather and model horse shows! One of the most popular divisions for model horse shows is the Breed Division. In this division, horses are judged exactly like their real life counterparts on the same breed standards that all of the large breed organizations do at their shows. Model Horse show attendees need to spend some time prior to the show picking the perfect breeds for their models to bring home the blues. This isn’t always the easiest task, but it can be very fun and rewarding when you bring home the blue!

Some Breyers are very easy to pick a breed for, models that have gaits or positions that are only present in a certain breed limit the choices of the model, don’t let that limit you though! Models like “Silver” and “Nakota” are both in positions that are popular for wild horses but they both can by many more breeds than a Mustang. Be careful though and don’t get too creative, stay safe with safe breed choices and don’t think too far out of the box!

Your first step to finding a breed is heading to your local library. Head on over to the “Pets” section and check out a few books on horse breeds. Reading more than one book is important, specifically for rare breeds is key. Rare breeds are often only known by one or two photos and because all horses are different, even within the same breed, going by one horse as the breed standard isn’t a good idea. Look for a breed for your horse that matches not only the photo but also the description of the breed. Often times books will go into details about the bone structure of the horse, pay close attention to this. All breeds have distinctive features which you should pay attention to. Arabians are known for their dished profiles and Tennessee Walking Horses are known for their gait, these are just a few of the many examples to pay close attention to.

One of the most important things when picking a horse breed is to pay attention to coat color! Breed registries regularly only permit certain colors for certain breeds. Many breed organizations have restrictions against pinto or appaloosa patterns, or dilute colors , so read those restrictions carefully.

Once you’ve taken a look in a few books, travel on over to the internet and visit the breed organization to read their “Breed Standards”. A quick search in a search engine will pull up breed organizations very easily and once you have an idea, this will give you the best, most direct information. Another place to get information from breed organizations is to visit horse expos. Expos such as Equine Affaire are large scale events where all kinds of breed organizations are present and frequently pass out free information on their breed, so taking a trip once in a while to an expo can prove very educational!

Get a little creative and do a little research and you’ll have your next champion! If you’re in the New England area, you’re in luck, Golden Oak Stables has a calendar full of events for you this year including model horse shows! Be sure not to miss them!


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Breyer Horse Collecting: Keeping your models clean!

November 25, 2010

It doesn’t matter if you have one horse or a thousand, your collection tends to collect dust! You also might find that your horses will collect dirt in other ways, or you purchase a model second hand and it didn’t come to you as clean as a new horse might.  If this has ever happened to you, there’s no need to be apprehensive; cleaning a model is simple and easy to do!

Dusting is probably the biggest need that you’ll ever have in caring for your collection. There is no real harm in leaving dust on your collection, but it certainly looks nicer, especially on glossy models, to have them dust free. Depending on your collection size, this can be a daunting task. One choice is to put the horses in a cabinet behind glass. The glass will keep them virtually dust free as well as providing some protection from every day.

For those ponies you can’t put behind glass, dusting is necessary. Do not use any polishes or cleaners on your models. Furniture spray is going to change the finish of your model, which is a bad idea. It was once acceptable to polish your models with this, which creates a glossier finish which was desirable for live showing. This is highly discouraged today and not acceptable for showing or resale. It is a good idea to stay away from this. One of the simplest ways to dust your models is using the canned air normally used for electronics. This way you won’t have to move any of your models or put them back! You can also use commonly used methods to dust your horses like a feather duster or a clean cloth.

Washing them is much more simple. For models that might have a little dirt on them, a few drops of dishwashing soap added to a few cups of water will make a good soap mixture and can be used on a rag to wipe off any dirt. For models that might have a little more dirt or perhaps some paint added on after the model left the factory, Lestoil is a cleaning solution that will take nearly anything off a model and leave the original finish. Use a highly diluted solution and soak your model for an hour or so and repeat if necessary.

Plastic models might not have the same upkeep as their real life counterparts, but they still require a little cleaning now and again. With the tips above though, this can be a simple and easy task. Good luck!


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Breyer Horse Collecting: Getting Creative Around The House!

November 22, 2010

What does your stable look like? You probably have a myriad of horses, maybe a barn, some saddles and things like that, right? Well you can fill that stable with things around your home that will make your horses happy as can be! Its not only that, there are things all over your house that you can use for your Breyers!

In the stable yard you might be surprised to know that you can find lots of things that with a little creativity make great items for your models! One of my favorites is the bag that you find whole garlic in, this little mesh bag can be tied up to make a fantastically realistic hay net! If you’d like to fill that net, shredded small animal bedding can double as not only feed but also as bedding for your horse.

For you western buffs, you can take an old soup can (or three!), remove the labels and paint them up to make barrels for your favorite western games. These are in perfect scale for most Traditional horses and can even be used in live shows competitively! If you’ve got a model with a taste for speed, a carefully cut pipe cleaner can be bent over the noseband of a bridle to make a padded nose band for those racing events, or you can make an easy shipping halter too! Just make sure not to leave any sharp edges, they can scratch you model!

If you have an eye for photography, a simple blue cloth can be used as a beautiful backdrop to create some stunning images! Pair this with a bit of dirt on a hard surface and you’ll have a photo ready to win in any photoshow! Remember to use even lighting, sitting a model by a window will help you get some sun, but just make sure it isn’t direct light!

Speaking of light, do you have a model that isn’t quite as bright as it could be? Even the yellowest model can be fixed with something we all have right at our fingertips, sunlight! Sitting a model in a bright window can brighten a model up in a matter of days, weeks or months depending on the model and the intensity of the sunlight. Keep an eye on your model though, colors can fade along with the yellow in the sunlight.

Head on over to Golden Oak Stables to fill your stable with all the models and accessories you might need, and then get creative!


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Breyer Horse Events: Hands On Workshop Day August 21st 2010!

August 5, 2010

An event like no other is rolling into New England in just a few weeks:  Golden Oak Stables Workshop Day! A day where you can learn yourself how to create fantastic projects and learn things from a performance expert!

The day begins with a base making workshop where you will learn how to create a fancy base for your model. The bases we will create will be either covered in grass or sand to create a beautiful natural scene. These bases can be used in many ways; they are perfect for displaying that favorite horse of yours. It can also be used to accentuate that favorite custom of yours on the show table and really make your hard work stand out. Lastly, it can be used for a creative performance setup of your choice! With what you learn from this workshop you can create dozens of different bases of your choosing. We’ll then take a short break for lunch so that we can all refuel for an afternoon full of learning!

We’ll start up the afternoon with our resident performance judge Linda Carrier. Linda will guide you through “Performance Tips and Tricks”. If you have ever attended one of our shows you will know what a breadth of knowledge Linda has and how happy she is to share, and this is your opportunity to get all of her tips and tricks that she’s learned showing performance with some of the best in the nation! You can even bring your own entry to be critiqued and learn what you can do to improve your entry! This would be an excellent way to get ready for the October Open Show!

Finally we will finish up with an English saddle making workshop where you will make a small traditional or classic scale English saddle that you can take home! You will complete from start to begining a full leather English saddle that you will be able to go on and show with! Participants are encouraged to bring their own model so that we can fit it to the model so that you are ready to show with little to no adjustments needed!

A one of a kind workshop day doesn’t come into the area everyday so here’s your chance! For more information please visit Golden Oak Stables Event Calendar or email me for more information! Hope to see you there!


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Getting Creative With Your Breyer Horses!

June 7, 2010

We all have a special talent, and we all have a bit of creativity that we can uncover. Its easy to see the craftsmanship, talent, and effort that goes into creating a Breyer Horse, from sculpture, to molding, to painting, the levels are beyond compare! But have you ever wanted to try for yourself? What about that beautiful tack that’s available for your horses; why not give that a shot? Its all possible with just a little creativity!

Many hobbyists are aware that there are hundreds of custom Breyer customizers that repaint Breyers into a myriad of colors, but beyond that there are many other things that can be created in the hobby. Repainting Breyers are just the tip of the iceberg. There are hundreds of artists that reposition and resculpt models and change them so drastically that they are virtually unrecognizable. Arabians can be turned into mustangs and a fancy show horse could be turned into a work horse – the only limit is the imagination. Some hobby artists paint beautiful “Decorator” horses that are painted not to be realistic, but to be fanciful and push beyond the limits of  reality. From rainbows to unicorns, decorators can be just about anything that can be imagined!

The other large area in the Breyer Horse hobby is tack and prop making. Some artists create scale size miniature tack that can even be museum quality. Many of these look exactly like their real size counterparts and can be sized anywhere from Tradional scale to Micro Mini where the tack is smaller than your smallest fingernail! There is also a very popular group of artists who create scale props of anything from a feed bucket to a trail bridge. Making scale props is an exceedingly difficult task and good propmakers are hard to come by, they are some of the most scarce artists in the hobby.

No matter what you might think you are good at, give everything a try! Start big and let your imagination run wild! Golden Oak Stables is there to give you a head start from the pack with a ton of different activity kits which are affordable and have all the materials you need for any number of projects, start one today.


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Breyer Horse Showing: Picking The Right Performance Horse

March 18, 2010

Choosing the right horse to show can be difficult, but choosing the right one to show in performance showing is truly a skill.

There are many things that need to be considered when picking the right entry; many factors go into performance showing due to the intricacies of creating a realistic scene. Picking a model that is versatile is also important for performance showing. You don’t want to have to change horses and tack between each and every class, and it also can earn you big rewards if you have a horse that excels in many disciplines. Lastly, choosing a horse that has a realistic movement, mane and tail style (No braids in a Western class, for example) and a tidy attitude and appearence can help you find a ideal show horse.

One of the most accomplished performance horses is the Flash mold. This little Morgan is full of spunk and can work in a myriad of events. His position works well for both English and Western and even though he is a bit small in size, he can overcome even the biggest competition. His short size does limit him a bit, making him a poor choice for higher level competition such as Olympic events, but he can make that up with versatility. He’s available currently from Golden Oak Stables in the Fun With Model Horses set.


For someone wanting a bit more of a creative choice the Cleveland Bay mold can be used in a variety of ways. He makes a wonderful driving horse, especially the version with a braided mane and tail, but with a loose mane and tail the doors fly open. O’ Leary’s Irish Diamond is a loose mane Cleveland Bay in a beautiful dapple grey, who would look wonderful in a variety of lower level and pleasure work. Being a heavier horse than the usual stock or sport horse, you might need larger tack for him, but he will make up for it by standing out in the ring.


These are just two of hundreds of different molds that can be used in dozens of different ways. Creativity really is the biggest help to any performance shower, but a good horse can take you places!


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