everything you need to know & get started
various and assorted equine collectibles!

Can you answer yes to any of the following questions?
* Do you like horses?
* Do you want a horse but can't own one right now?
* Do you own a horse but want even more involvement?
* Do you enjoy painting, drawing, or sculpting horses?
* Do you like meeting other people who share one or more of these interests?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might like to join one of America's fastest-growing hobbies:
Model Horse Collecting

This wonderful hobby is open to horse enthusiasts of all ages. There are dozens of different ways to get involved! Here are just a few of them...

The Breyer Animal Collector's GuideEnthusiasts all over the world collect model horses of all types: plastic, porcelain, resin, china, and other original sculptures. Most people begin their collections with original finish models bought in stores - of which the most common of these are Breyer model horses, closely followed by the increasingly popular line of Peter Stone model horses, Schleich, and Hartland horses. These are all made of plastic (with the exception of the Breyer porcelain & resin releases), and can be found in most toy and hobby stores. Many collectors collect discontinued or vintage Breyer and Peter Stone models which have increasingly gone up in value over the years due to the manufacturers' releasing special runs and commemorative editions, or the discontinuation of a particular model from year to year.

   Just as Breyer and Peter Stone are the most popular plastic models, Hagen-Renaker horses are by far the most coveted porcelain models. The large traditional  (and classic) size Hagen Renaker horses are no longer manufactured (except for the mini models). These very fine (and breakable) porcelain horses are quite detailed with exceptional breed realism and beautiful colouration. Unfortunately they break easily and are hard to find without any breaks or chips, but there are talented people in thehobby who can repair broken HRs.Hagen-Renaker DW (Designer's Workshop)  Arabian

Other china and fine porcelain models are Beswick/Royal Doulton, Franklin Mint, Royal Worcester (Doris Lindner horses) and American Artists (Rene Rushing's Secretariat model is particularly lovely). NORTH LIGHT resin horses produced in Stoke-on-Trent, England (same area where Beswicks/Royal Doultons are produced) have gained in popularity among collectors over the years, due the high quality of material, finish, colours and realism. In 2005, the North Light factory located in Stoke-On-Trent, England was sold (including all existing North Light molds) to the company: WADE CERAMICS LTD. They repackaged and resold the North Light horses under the new trademark: North Light @ Wade. Eventually Wade stopped production on their equine series (and other animal figurines) altogether, and announced they would no longer produce the equine series in the UK. Most (if not all) North Light horses you see on eBay and elsewhere are produced in China, and come with a "Handcrafted in China" sticker, along with the North Light backstamp located on the inside hind leg. As North Light horses are no longer being produced or being sold by Wade Ceramics, these horses are now becoming quite rare and highly collectible.

So where do you find these models? Everywhere! Current and discontinued Breyer and Peter Stone models can be found in Toy and Hobby Stores across the U.S., and in many tack shops. Don't live near any toy retailers that carry these products? Not to worry, there are many online resources where one can purchase vintage or discontinued models, including eBay, model horse community forums and discussion lists, online retailers, and elsewhere (google search is a wonderful thing). Many of the mini Hagen-Renakersare available at card and gift stores, as are Lenox, Lefton, Royal Doulton and sometimes North Light. Current run models can also be ordered through the mail, often at a much lower price than in stores. Vintage models and second-hand models can be purchased from other model collectors, eBAY, antique stores, and at flea markets. Many model horse distributors are listed at various model-horse manufacturer sites.

Collectors meet one another through model horse clubs, dozens of which can be found in the U.S. alone. Club newsletters are full of model horses for sale, informative articles, letters from members, and upcoming shows. Club fees are usually very low, and well worth it. There are many different kinds of clubs available, the type you join would depend on your specific interest.

National and regional clubs cater to people who all live in specific countries or areas such as CANADA, the Midwest, New England, or west coast. Some regional clubs let showers from any area become members. A breed specific club is just that: a club dedicated to collecting and showing one particular breed. Some breed clubs cover a group of breeds, such as Model Horse Stock Breeds Association (Appaloosa, Quarter Horse and Paints), or Warmbloods, Gaited horses, Draft breeds or Ponies, etc. Special interest clubs are for hobbyists who like to collect specific models, such as  Peter Stone Stock Horses group, or particular finish (porcelain/china's) or a particular size (Stablemate Lovers Club), etc. There are special interest clubs for miniature tack-makers, performance showers, stallions, novices, customized models, and so on. There are many kinds of model-horse related clubs available to hobbyists, most of which can be found through online clubs or hobby-related magazines.

Shows and Exhibitions
Model horses are shown in two ways. One form of showing are community and club events that host live shows where hobbyists and collectors meet at a show site; often in hotel banquet rooms, and enter their models in various classes. Other venues are trade shows and exhibitions such as Breyerfest or the Peter Stone Equilocity - Stonehenge events. These events attract huge numbers, and showers come from all parts of the world to attend the larger shows. Competition is tough, and taken quite seriously by showers who have spent a lot of time, talent, and money to get their models into the show ring, and into the North American Nationals, held every year in Lexington, KY alternating west coast locations.

Judge Liesel Dalpe scrutinizes a performance entry at a Vermont live show
Judge Liesel Dalpe scrutinizes an 
performance entry at a Vermont live show

Vermont Live, 2009
Burlington, Vermont, USA

The other form of showing are photo shows. Model horses are photographedin one or more events (from halter to performance) and the photos are then mailed to the show holder who judges the classes and records the placings. When done, the judge/showholder returns the photos to the owner along with results of each class and any prizes won. Photos are judged in regards to the same realism as found in the real horse world: the quality of the model, suitability to breed standards, authenticity of the performance setup, correctness of tack, position of doll if used), correct gait & movement, clarity and sharpness of photo are all factors taken into consideration when judging photos.

With the instantaneous results of digital photography, more and more hobbyists have opted to show their models in
online photo shows such as the MODEL HORSE CLUB Of CANADA's online photo show series or TOPSA (Totally Online Photo Show Association). It's faster than snail-mail, and in some cases easier to enter.

a beautiful sculpture of a Mustang mareModels can be shown in the same classes as their real counterparts. However, because a model can't move, one must imagine the model as a real horse that is competing frozen in time, as if a photograph was taken of that horse in a show. Halter horses are judged primarily on conformation, breed type, and craftsmanship (if the model has been customized). Performance classes are judged on the horse's appropriateness for the class, the ability to do the task at hand, and how much it looks like it is doing what it is supposed to be doing. The models are outfitted in miniature saddles and bridles, and sometimes a doll rider is added. Various props, such as fencing, cattle, jumps, and obstacles are often added for realism.


Some collectors find a great deal of enjoyment in taking realistic photographs ofa beautiful sculpture of a Mustang mare, sculpted by Sarah Rose - finished by Kimberly Harvey, photo© appaloosa model horses. The challenge of learning the art of photography is ever-present in this hobby as models range in size from the very mini 1" to a robust 20" in height. Enthusiasts learn how to take convincing photos of miniatures both indoors and out, discover the best angles to photograph models, learn to build sets and backgrounds (dioramas), and acquire photography skills to make a model look its very best. There are numerous model horse PHOTOGRAPHY CLUBS online where you can upload, share and showcase your favorite photographs, and which also offer tips, hints and suggestions for digital photography as well as traditional 35mm. With the advent of digital cameras, scanners and email, one can enter online shows over the internet as well!  Competition can be just as intense as at a live show, but with online photo shows, you can relax and participate from the comfort of your own home.


Artistic Skills
repainting clinic - BreyerWest 2000Many collectors are budding or established artists and find model horses the perfect medium with which to work. Models can be painted, and mohair can be used to replace the plastic or china mane and tail to make a more realistic looking model. More experienced model horse artists, known as customizers, actually reposition limbs, then paint and add mohair, to create completely new models. There are even a few artists who sculpt model horses from scratch, a skill which takes years of practice to master. Customizing model horses is more than just painting or repositioning limbs. Artists take time to practice painting techniques, study horse anatomy and conformation, using models to improve their skills.

Getting Started
If you would like to get more involved in the model horse hobby, you may be interested in subscribing to the online mailing list and newsgroup: The HAYNET; a group of model horse hobbyists who discuss models, report on the latest exhibitions, exchange hobby tips, and discuss anything and everything involving model-horse collecting. Currently there close to 2000 hobbyists involved in Haynet. If you are interested in buying, selling or trading model-horse collectibles only, there is also the HAYNET EXCHANGE. With over 1500 members, you are guaranteed to find something you like!

 adapted from "Introduction to Model Horses", courtesy of Janet Piercy

Links and Resources

General Information:
Model Horse Club of CANADA (MHCC)
- Canadian based club featuring online photo shows, your own personal web page & blog, news, contests and lots of other fun stuff. ALL ARE WELCOME!
North American Model Horse Shows Association (NAMHSA)
- NAMHSA's aim is to promote all facets of the model horse hobby
Model Horse Central
- Kind of a one-stop & shop, all-you-need-to-know web site. Great links!
Rio Rondo Guide to Getting Started With Model Horse Showing
- Guide to photo-showing, live-show exhibitions & more!
International Model Equine Hobbyists Association (IMEHA) Online Judge's Guide.
 - Judging and Exhibitors guide for model-horses. Information is somewhat outdated here, but contains good ideas to get you started!
The Model Horse GALLERY
- Tons and tons of beautiful equine models ("largest model horse gallery in the world!"), sculptures, resins and more, including manufacturer listings.
Equine Resin Directory
Online searchable database dedicated to resin sculptures only - who sculpted what, how many made, year released, etc. With excellent cross-categories to individual sculptor, painter, owner, resin model/make/mold.
Stone Horses Database
- The most comprehensive listing and database of Peter Stone model horses. Search by mold, colour, name, etc.
Pony Lagoon (Breyer horses database)
-  Searchable database for all original finish Breyer model horses. Not quite as up-to-date or thorough as the P. Stone ref. site, but it is the best Breyer online database out there. Searchable by model name or mold name.
Hagen-Renaker Gallery
- Showcasing some of the world's most beautiful and highly sought after model-horses
- The original, largest, and oldest running discussion list for model horse hobbyists, collectors and showers.
HayNet Exchange
- The "sister" list to Haynet - for buying, selling, and trading of model horses .

Clubs and Associations:
Model Horse Club Of CANADA
- Canadian based club featuring online photo shows, your own personal web page & blog, news, contests and lots of other fun stuff. ALL ARE WELCOME!
Model Horse Photography Club
- Showcase your photography skills! Flickr (yahoo) site for model horse photographers to share, upload, discuss & critique model horse photographs. Features live chat photography clinic (photophlow), tips, hints, suggestions, comments and discussion forum for digital enthusiasts as well as traditional 35mm photography.
- International Model Equine Hobby Association. Enter those model horse photos in online competition! No need to muss or fuss with paperwork and stamps!  There is a small fee to join, and you will  be given an exhibitor number, once you do so.
-  Totally Online Photo Showers Association. Online photo show series, using the webshots site for entrant photos and submissions. Small yearly fee to join.

Retailers, Commercial Vendors and Auction Sites:
Gift Horse Gallery, Canada
- Canadian web site specializing in equine collectibles and horse gifts for the Canadian consumer.
Horse gifts to suit all tastes, from model horsesto unique practical gifts, to commissioned custom art works.

Gifts for the Canadian Horse Lover!

The Ginger Horse
- online retailer for Peter Stone model horses, special runs, and other wonderful model horse related items!
Model Horse Sales Pages
- online sales community catering exclusively to the model-horse market. 
Carol Williams/Rio Rondo
- selling model horse related items such as tack, bits, buckles, painting how-to guidebooks, and more..!
Model Exchange Auction Site
- dedicated exclusively to model horse auctions only!

Have fun!

copyright 2010 Appaloosa Design & Consulting
last updated: 26-03-2010