A Brief Introduction to the Model Horse Hobby
Do you love horses but don't have the time, space, or money for one? Has your love driven you to amass an amazing surplus of equine-related knowledge that is useless to you because you have no way of applying it? If you answered "yes" to either of these questions, the model horse hobby is definitely for you! Model horse collecting is a fast-growing hobby that is gaining popularity all over the world. As its name implies, it centers on collecting replicas of actual horses. It's a great way of learning more about horses or applying what you already know in a small-scale setting.
How Do I Get Started?
There's really only one way to get started collecting model horses--go out a buy a model! There are numerous manufacturers in the model horse business, but two of the most reliable are Breyer Animal Creations and Peter Stone. The Stone models tend to be a bit more expensive than the Breyers; however, some people would say their money is well spent since the Stones tend to have a higher level of accuracy. Whichever manufacturer you chose, the model is almost guaranteed to come with a complimentary catalog that lists the company's most recent products. These catalogs are indispensable in building your collection because you can browse them, pick out the models you like, and purchase them. Before you know it, your collection could number in the hundreds!
Where Can I Buy Model Horses?
Model horses, especially Breyers, can usually be purchased at tack shops or farm equipment stores. Prices can vary depending on the size of the model, but they usually stay within the range posted on the official Breyer website (which can be viewed at http://www.breyerhorses.com). You can also find models on online sites such as eBay, but you have to be more discriminating about which models you choose. Sometimes certain flaws aren't as obvious in online photos are they are on store shelves, and you have to make sure you're paying a fair price. A good tool for that is the fifth edition of the Breyer Animal Collector's Guide, which lists almost all of the current models and their values.
This is the most recent edition of the Breyer Animal Collector's Guide. It lists every Breyer model ever made up through 2008 and the accompanying values. This is a good tool for seeing how your collection increases in value over the years, and it can help you make sure you're getting a good price if you buy models online.
What Else Can I Do in the Model Horse Hobby?
Aside from keeping your models on display 24/7, there are many activities available for model horse collectors. One of the most popular is attending model horse shows. Model horse shows allow collectors to exhibit their models and compete for awards. Judging is based on how accurate a model portrays a real horse. Models are judged on conformation, coat color, and overall condition in halter (breed) classes; in performance classes they are judged on accurately they portray an equine discipline such as dressage or driving. In addition to attending model horse shows, model horse customizing is a popular facet of the hobby, too, as it allows you to customize a horse to your specifications.
Where Can I Learn More?
For more information about the model horse hobby, I recommend the Breyer website. It contains a series of articles about collecting, customizing, and model horse showing, all of which can be read here: http://www.breyerhorses.com/model_horse_hobby. For collectors between the ages of 8 and 18, I suggest checking to see if your local 4-H extension has a model horse project. I guarantee you will learn much through the 4-H project and meet some pretty amazing people. Congratulations on your decision to collect model horses, and good luck with the hobby! I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.