I knew this was going to be a hard month, so in an attempt to ease my blogging burden, I invited members of the Braymere Facebook page to submit guest blogger posts. A day or two later, I was surprised and delighted to find this essay from my best barn buddy, Mary Jo in my inbox. Mary Jo is not a model horse hobbyist in the way we usually define the term. She doesn't obsess over Breyer's newest offerings, she's never been to a show and, aside from the Braymere page, she doesn't belong to any hobby Facebook groups. And yet, like so many horse lovers who are not hobbyists, she has a fine herd of models living in her house, many of which she's owned since childhood. Here's a look at some of those models. Thank you, Mary Jo!
In the Beginning
by Mary Jo Stark
In 2013 when Jennifer broke her collarbone, we were just becoming riding buddies. I knew very little about the tiny tack that she made. I told her I had a collection of horses and that I'd made little halters for some of them. Since she was out of commission for riding, she came over one cold day to photograph some of my collection.
I am glad to have waited so long to put this together because over the last five years of riding together, I have learned the “names” in the business, about shows and the different classes, of Breyer contracts, and the number of people who work with model horses. Model horse people are an amazing group with a lot of talent. Knowing what I know now, I title this, In the Beginning.
In the 1950's, porcelain model horses were the thing. I started buying them on every vacation and anytime I had extra money.
If I needed to change something I did, as in roaching the fur mane off this pony.
When I didn’t have money, I would go to Parson’s Pharmacy gift shop in San Antonio, Texas to look at the figurines. Eventually the gift shop manager started giving me broken sets which I lovingly glued back together, even with missing parts.
A friend of mine and I then started making plastic halters for our horses. It was satisfying but you had to be very careful with porcelain ponies.
Then in the late '50s, we switched to soft plastic horses. We would register these horses with a form we had created and choose names and lineage from the American Quarter Horse magazine. We created ranches and moved the horses around with ease. If we needed to change something on the horse, heat from a match helped mold the plastic into shape.
In the early '60s, Breyer became very popular. This woodgrain colt was my first.
These were sturdy model horses with more detail than the soft plastic horses. And with bigger heads, it was easy to make a more detailed halter.
Thank you again, Mary Jo, for sharing your herd - and memories - with me. And this reminds me, we need to get you a model Scarlett!