A model horse is the next best thing to owning a live horse.
“Breyer’s model horses have been the iconic American toy since the 1950s. Breyer horses are realistic, authentic model horses,” according to Kathleen Fallon, at Reeves International, Pequannock, New Jersey, the Breyer manufacturer.
“There’ll be a full slate of activities for all ages featuring model horses and real horses during the annual Breyer Fun Day, Saturday, May 6, at Bluestem Farm & Ranch Supply in Emporia. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about horses and model horses, too,” welcomed Bruce Burenheide, longtime store official.
“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.
One of the largest selections of Breyer models is available at Bluestem when the store hosts the Breyer Fun Day.
“There will be wide array of activities including drawings for many prizes,” Burenheide said.
Blankley Gypsy Vanner Horses, Orear Welsh Ponies and the Shooting Star Equine Rescue with Duni the painting horse will be there
All eyes turn her way instantly whenever Angela Blankley takes her horses anywhere.
“These are Gypsy Vanner Horses, so beautiful,” the Emporia horsewoman explained.
“They’re relatively new to the United States,” she added. “Originating in the British Isles, Gypsy Vanners have only been in this country since the early ’80s.”
Initially seeing the horses in a movie, Blankley searched information about the Gypsy Vanner breed.
After nearly three years looking, Blankley acquired a pair of her own Gypsy Vanner mares last spring from Gypsy Park, LLC, in Kansas City. .
Snow White is now a four-year-old black and white tobiano, and Maleficent, an all-black bald faced two-year-old.
“Snow White took right to training and rides like a rocking chair,” Blankley said.
Training is set for the mate this year, with plans to increase versatility as driving horses.
“Gypsy Vanners are small draft horses, only about 15-hands, with long manes, and tails, heavy feathering on the fetlocks,” Blankley described. “While the horses can be any color, tobiano paint is the most common.”
Frequently used to pull caravan wagons in Europe, Gypsy Vanners are very athletic all-around horses, “do about anything,” according to Blankley.
Dressage, jumping, Western riding are common repertoire.
“The best thing of all is the Gypsy Vanners are real gentle, quiet. They don’t get too excited about anything,” Blankley insisted. “During last year’s Breyer Fun Day, Maleficent literally went to sleep.”
However, with a lifetime horse interests, Blankley’s newest breed venture makes her “pretty excited.”
There are a couple of Gypsy Vanner registries with breed shows including one at this year’s EquiFest of Kansas.
Welsh Ponies are longtime tradition for the Orear family at Emporia.
“My grandpa JD started raising Welsh Ponies in the ’60s, my dad Phillip loved the breed. We do, too,” Nick Orear assured.
“The family has always showed Welshes,” wife Tara added. “Our children Josie and Rowdy and our niece and nephew Hadley and Porter Peak are really into showing.”
Known since the middle ages, Welsh Ponies have been in this country since the 1800s, registry established in 1907.
While the Orear Welsh Pony population was in the “upper 80s” at one point, this generation’s inventory is “down to 30.”
After Phillip passed, his wife Kathy and their sons Nick and Todd run Orear Welsh Ponies, with Amber and Zach Peak also providing family involvement.
There are four Welsh registrations based on size: Welsh Ponies, 12.2-hands and under, up to Welsh Cobs, taller than 13.2-hands.
“Dad started breeding Cobs seven years ago with Welshman the stallion imported from Wales,” Nick said. “ Dad was very fond of Helios, our beautiful palomino stallion, and promoted him extensively.”
Tara added, “Helios is on his way to a Legion of Merit doing very well at the shows.”
Phillip Orear was recognized for his Welsh Ponies team, featuring the stallion, Avery, hooked to a wagon.
“His favorite activities were driving ponies, teaching the grandchildren and hauling them to shows,” Tara credited.
“Many of the shows are in Oklahoma and Texas,” Nick said. “We compete at them as well as local events.” For many years, the family has provided Welsh Ponies for horse judging contests.
Josie, 12, shows Zeus, a 13.1-hand palomino Cob gelding, bred on the farm, in English pleasure, jumping, Welsh classic and halter.
Rowdy, 11, exhibits Stormy, 11.2-hand black and white, and Mischa, half-Welsh, in western pleasure, trail, halter, reining and working cow horse.
Hadley, five, and Porter, two, compete with DJ, home-raised gray mare, in lead line and obstacle.
The Welsh Pony tradition in the Orear family continues strong into the fourth generation.
“When horses are all you dream about, there’ll be something for you at Bluestem’s Breyer Fun Day, May 6,” Burenheide invited.