“A model horse is the next best thing to owning a live horse.”
“Even those who own horses get a kick out of collecting models.”
“Breyer’s model horses have been the iconic American toy since the 1950s. Breyer horses are the most realistic, authentic model horses, and many are inspired by real horse heroes like Sea Biscuit and Secretariat,” according to Kathleen Fallon, vice president of communications for Reeves International Inc., Pequannock, New Jersey.
There’ll be a full slate of activities for all ages during the annual Breyer Fun Day, Saturday, May 14, at Bluestem Farm & Ranch Supply in Emporia.
“It’s a great opportunity for families to come and learn more about horses and model horses, too,” welcomed Bruce Burenheide, longtime store official.
A horse lover growing up in a family of horse trainers, Fallon speaks about Breyer horses with most-apparent affection for all horses, including the model horses which she has in her own collection.
Breyer, officially named Breyer Animal Creations, founded in 1950, is a division of Reeves International, Inc. The company manufactures the Breyer brand and distributes other toys, of which Tonka might be most familiar with horse and rural people.
Interestingly, to many, Breyer first gained recognition when commissioned by F.W. Woolworth (original dime store) to create a horse statue to adorn a mantel clock.
Those clocks were popular in many homes, and can still be seen frequently on dining room tables and fireplace mantels. That original Breyer horse statue was 1:9 scale, known as #57 Western Horse.
“Breyer now specializes in model horses made from cellulose acetate, a form of plastic, and also produces other animal models from the same material,” Fallon said.
Popularity of the Breyer horses has created demand for the company to also produce tack accessories, such as stables, farms, and grooming items in scale to the models.
Less well known are Breyer’s porcelain and resin horse figures, aimed at the adult collector market.
There are several scales of Breyer horse models with the 1:9 scale most popular, approximately 18-inches long, and 12-inches tall. The Classic, 1:12, is next largest, down to the 1:64 scale adults, which are about two-inches long and one-inch tall.
Started in 2008, the Pony Gals line models feature brush able manes and tails and may have jointed heads, necks, and legs, being marketed towards younger children.
“Production of the models is a tedious time-intensive effort with equine sculptors creating the original sculpture which is then cast in resin, with a tool created from that. Each Breyer model is made in two pieces which are seamed together, then buffed, cleaned, polished and decorated by hand,” Fallon explained.
“Every Breyer horse has been touched by more than 20 people to make them most authentic,” Fallon said.
Horses made popular in movies, top show horses of many breeds, and horse heroes such as Misty and Stormy from Marguerite Henry’s books are among 100s of models produced by Breyer.
The Holiday Horse, designed specifically each year, is the bestselling Breyer horse most years, due to collector demand.
Many species of animals and pets are made by Breyer with Professional Bull Riders’ famous bulls especially popular, along with the playsets created for them.
“Model horse shows have become popular for collectors to show off their Breyer models,” Fallon said.
Customization is also popular with model horses, remaking and repainting models to make each one unique.
Breyer started the BreyerFest at Kentucky Horse Park at Lexington, Kentucky, in 1990,” Fallon said.
Attendees can buy and trade Breyer models, learn how to customize models, meet some of the live horses for which models were made, hear from other collectors and mingle with collectors from around the country.
“Over the years, Breyer has made millions of models, and their popularity continues to grow around the world,” Fallon noted
Just About Horses (JAH) is Breyer’s model horse magazine, and the Identify Your Breyer website has considerable information about Breyer Animal Creations.
One of the large selections of Breyer models is available at Bluestem Farm & Ranch Supply when the store hosts the Breyer Fun Day.
“These Breyer Fun Days are coordinated by Breyer Animal Creations, and hosted by businesses throughout the country that sell Breyer models. The Fun Days have become quite popular attractions anticipated by horse people and non-horse people of all ages,” Fallon said.
Explaining the activities planned at Emporia, Burenheide said, “There will be drawings for many prizes. Kids can paint a Stablemate size horse, and we will have horse posters, games and crafts.”
Children will have an opportunity to make a horse mobile with cardboard horses, as well has get a flower to put in the pot they paint with horses. A roping dummy will be set up for practice.
Three live horse demonstrations are planned. Blankley Gypsy Vanner Horses, O’Rear Welsh Pones and the Shooting Star Equine Rescue with Duni the painting horse will be there.
“When horses are all you dream about, you must have a Breyer,” Burenheide invited.