Collecting Micro Mini Model Horses
Micro Mini Model Horses
I collect horse models, but I'm especially enamored with micro mini model horses. What are model horses, and what are micro minis? Model horses are horse statues about 12" and under. Many people are familiar with Breyer model horses but there are many other makers of model horses. The most common model horses are plastic models made by Breyer, but there are also plastic model horses made by the Stone Horses Company, Schleich of Germany, Safari, Collecta, and many other companies. China model horses are also popular, with brands such as The Lakeshore Collection, Hagen-Renaker, Beswick, Josef and many others. And lastly, there are artist resin or pewter model horses - highly limited edition original sculptures. The models pictured here are pewter micro minis and as you can see by the coin I included in the diorama, they are just about the size of an American quarter coin. Micro minis are the smallest model horses you can collect. They are under 1" tall but exquisitely detailed and proportioned. I love collecting these teeny-tiny model horses.
This photo was taken by me and is of a diorama I created. The horse models are pewter micro mini model horses sculpted by American artist Maggie Bennett. They were painted for me by another artist, Kollean Gouyton of Stone Wolf Creations studio. I created the diorama, photographed the backdrop, and photographed this picture. Part of the fun of model horse collecting is building dioramas like this and taking pictures of them, then showing the pictures in competitions called model horse shows. I made up this diorama for a fun Christmas picture.
The Original Micro Mini Model Horses
Micro mini model horses became popular in the 1990s with the introduction of miniature plastic horses from the Creata company. Candace Liddy, a very well-known equine artist, was contacted by two toymakers who wanted her to create a new line of horse toys. They were released as little miniatures in plastic along with accessories such as jumps, fences and such. Candace sculpted them slightly larger and the factory in China resized them to their 1" size. She also designed the colors for them and painted the prototypes. After a few years of very successful production, Creata sold the molds to Reeves International, the parent company that now owns Breyer Animal Creations. The company produced them in different colors and packages as Mini Whinnies, which were also very popular. They are beautiful miniature horse models painted in realistic colors.
The picture below was provided to me by Candace Liddy and shows one of the original Creata draft horse sets. Photo used with permission of Candace Liddy.
Creata Micro Minis - Photo by Candace Liddy. Used with permission.Click thumbnail to view full-size
Breyer Mini Whinnies
Breyer purchased the molds from the Creata company, and began producing the same sculptures under a new name - Breyer Mini Whinnies. The new sculptures continue Breyer's tradition of quality and value. Each one measures less than an inch tall but has beautifully painted details.
This is a Breyer Mini Whinnie from my personal collection. I photograph my model horses, give them names, pedigrees, breed and color assignments, and compete in model horse shows called photo shows. Collectors upload their pictures onto a show host, and shows are judged according to "real" horse breed standards. The competition can be fierce, with as many as 60 or more model horses competing in one class! Model horses even compete in "performance" classes wearing miniature saddles and bridles and placed into dioramas depicting equestrian activities such as barrel racing, cattle roping, show jumping and dressage. I do not yet have any tack in micro mini scale, but there are some collectors who fashion tiny little bridles and accessories to show their micro mini model horses.
Micro Mini Foal
This is a Breyer Mini Whinnie micro mini scale foal. It is smaller than a U.S. dime coin.
Breyer Micro Mini Model Horses
Breyer's line of Mini Whinnies model horses are beautifully realistic plastic micro mini model horses about 1" tall. They are sold in sets.
Maggie Bennett Pewter Micro Mini Model Horses
Maggie Bennett sculpts model horses in many sizes, including micro minis. She has the micro mini model horses cast in the United States in lead-free pewter. Over the years, Maggie has sculpted dozens of pewter micro minis ranging from a tiny foal to a rolling horse. This picture shows an unpainted pewter micro mini, "Grant," a Tennessee Walking Horse. I took the picture next to a pair of dice so you can see the scale.
Painted Pewter Micro Minis
This is the same pewter micro mini as the one shown above, but painted by artist Kollean Gouyton. It is in my personal collection.Notice how in the hands of a skilled artist, the pewter model really comes alive.
Painted Micro Mini
Another painted pewter micro mini in my collection...this is the micro mini pewter Andalusian doing the Spanish Walk, sculpted by Maggie Bennett. It was painted dappled gray by Kollean Gouyton. She hand painted each of the tiny dapples onto his coat. I show him as KGs Snow Fire and he has won many championships for me in model horse shows.
Micro Mini Dioromas
Model horse enthusiasts like me enjoy creating miniature scenes and dioramas for our model horses. Some of these we use in competitions such as model horse shows, but others we make just for fun. I made this snow scene setup to photograph my micro minis for a Christmas card. The scene features the pewter Andalusian shown above. Christmas village ceramic houses and accessories from the dollar store are used for the scene. The photograph in the background is actually a picture I took of my backyard after a snowstorm, printed and mounted on cardboard. The snow is made from baking soda.
Why I Collect Micro Mini Model Horses
I've collected model horses since 1974, when I received my first Breyer horses. I first became aware of micro minis around 2004. At that time, I was living in a tiny 800 square foot apartment with all of my model horses packed away. I missed them! Micro minis were an amazing find for me. I could once again renew my enthusiasm for model horses and begin collecting and showing again even in the limited space of my apartment. All of my micro mini model horses fit onto one little shelf in my bedroom. I soon amassed a "show herd" of 30 micro mini model horses that fit into a shoe box. Thanks to my digital camera, I could take clear pictures of these tiny horses and show them against the "big guys" - the models that are 12 times their size. It doesn't matter how big or how small a model horse is, as long as it is realistic and beautiful it can show well. Micro minis to me are truly the epitome of the sculptor's art, whether it's the plastic Mini Whinnies created by Breyer or Maggie Bennett's pewter sculptures.
Publications About Model Horses
If you'd like to learn more about the model horse hobby, The Model Horse Quarterly is a book-quality digest published four times a year for the hobby. It is about all scales, makes and types of model horses (not just micro minis).
More Micro Mini Horse Models
More Mini Whinnies, including a set you can paint...try your hand at painting miniature model horses!