What do they do with those plastic horses?
March 10, 2006 10:41 AM   Subscribe

The exciting world of model horses.
posted by zonkout (14 comments total)
And to think I wasn't even the one who posted this. These things were a huuuge part of my childhood, where I could never have a real pony.

You'll notice a lot of differences between some of the links (e.g. "r" in world) and the original Breyers. Breyer (and Peter Stone, and Hartland* etc.) sell "original finish" horses, mostly made of ABS plastic like Lego. These galleries show "customized" models where people have put hours and hours into heating, dremeling, and filling plastic to change the horse's position, add hair, and paint it. (The "w" "r" and "d" links here have some pretty good examples, "of" is definitely a way beginner.

For example, the horse here started out looking like this.

Would you believe there are also giant Jamborees to bring together collectors and customizers, including a giant annual one held at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington? And how about National Shows both photo and live where you can deck your model horses out in fantastic saddlery and costumes? But the results can be spectacular.

And now you know the answer to the perennial question, what do they do with those plastic horses?
posted by whatzit at 11:07 AM on March 10, 2006

I used to do this; collect, show, and customize. Back when I was young, it was just a fun hobby. There were mostly kids like me, and grown women who were still kids inside, and a few people who took it very seriously. Now, the "very serious" people tend to dominate the hobby, and huge amounts of money change hands for these things; it's very difficult to compete in the big leagues without a lot of cash. I lost interest.
posted by Rubber Soul at 11:08 AM on March 10, 2006

I also collected Breyers as a kid--up until graduate school, really, when the prices even for OF models started going skyward. I sold just about all of them after moving to my first job, although I kept the first one I ever bought.
posted by thomas j wise at 11:28 AM on March 10, 2006

The post was inspired by an entertaining story that I happened upon accidentally.
posted by zonkout at 11:29 AM on March 10, 2006

My 11-year-old daughter is big into Breyer horses. She recently discovered the web sites of people who customize them and has started her own efforts at customization. We recently bought two (relatively) cheap beat-up Breyers off of eBay for her to paint.
posted by tippiedog at 12:03 PM on March 10, 2006

Well this seems very strange, but hey, why not? Kind of seems ripe for the Christopher Guest mockumentary treatment. That entertaining story reminded me a bit of this one.
posted by zoinks at 12:08 PM on March 10, 2006

I have a whole box full of Breyers in storage, some quite valuable. I even went to a few Breyers shows with a friend as a kid. She was way more into it than I was and had a big-time collection. It was fun, especially for a couple of horsey girls like us who couldn't afford the real thing. This post brings back some good memories.

thomas j wise, I have that exact model in my big box o' fake ponies. I really have to dig it out.
posted by LeeJay at 12:16 PM on March 10, 2006

I had a girlfriend who did this. A goth girlfriend. The dichotomy was almost too much to bear. At the same time, it was nice to see her still interested in something so cherished from her youth -- she had shelves full of 'em.
posted by davejay at 12:34 PM on March 10, 2006

Oh, I loved Breyer horses when I was a kid (I'm 37 now). At my New Year's Eve party this year, the sole remaining bay mare from my collection got more attention from the guests than the liquor.
posted by astruc at 12:41 PM on March 10, 2006

zoinks, nice find! This would make an attractive and functional Lionel Richie Head Dog Dish. Classic!
posted by breath at 12:46 PM on March 10, 2006

argh, I got the plastic wrong. It's not ABS, it's cellulose acetate. Glad to see I'm not the only one here who had these surrogate horsies.
posted by whatzit at 2:59 PM on March 10, 2006

Oh, I still have tons of horses in storage. Haven't seen them in years. These models sure bring back memories! I never would have thought of customizing them, and some of these are very talented. Thanks for the link!
posted by annieb at 6:19 PM on March 10, 2006

Oh dear. I kept a bunch of Breyers from my childhood, & gave them to my young son. They're on my back porch right now, having been rained on and baked in the sun for the last month or so. I think I'd better get them back inside so I can post their parched remains on eBay.
posted by maryh at 8:16 PM on March 10, 2006

zonkout, thanks. I loved the marvelously funny story, written without pretension, delightfully honest and endearing. I stumbled on some of those model horse sites years ago and sat there slack-jawed in front of my monitor at the intensity of focus the collectors had about these models. I guess any kind of collecting impulse generates a kind of passion which to an outsider seems strange.

A childhood friend was gaga about horses, collected Breyers (although I just found out that name in this thread). I was bewildered by her fierce enthusiasm then but now feel more understanding.
posted by nickyskye at 12:12 AM on March 11, 2006

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