Sunday, December 27, 2009

Karen Grimm

Some of the saddest news to hit the model horse hobby in a long time broke late last week. Karen Grimm of Black Horse Ranch has been diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer. You can read the entire story on her web page: It is impossible to overstate Karen's influence on the hobby, although  this page does a pretty good job: . She has been a collector and a dealer, a designer and manufacturer, a painter and ceramic artist. She was also a big supporter of the hobby's print publications, and her full page ads in the model horse magazines of yesteryear always made my heart go pitter patter. The horses in her Black Horse Ranch Collection seemed so much more realistic than the Breyers I owned at the time. I wanted one of each. Karen also had real horses--lots of them. Her Appaloosas were World Champions many times over, and she shared them with the hobby at large through her annual naming contests. Oh, I tried and tried to win a resin by naming one of her foals! My names were never chosen, but that didn't stop me from trying each and every year.Eventually, I did manage to acquire quite a few BHR horses through other means. Most came to me during the early years of this decade as I began my transition away from an all plastic collection. Karen's horses were a natural first step on the road to resins and for a while they made up the bulk of my showstring.
The trotting hunter was sculpted after Karen's real horse Color Me Andrew. This is my favorite of the BHR molds and I'd love to have a custom version to go with my OF guy.
This is the Saddlebred, who was also released with molded on parade tack.
The"action" stallion.
This is the Western Pleasure horse. I got mine directly from Karen in a tack-for-model trade back in 2002. I can't remember all the particulars, but I'm pretty sure I made her a pack saddle set in exchange for this horse and a Breyer sulky. I can't tell you how pleased I was that a hobby icon like Karen was interested in my tack. I really felt like I'd arrived!
This Reining Horse was released in two versions, ears up and ears out to the side. Mine was originally the ears up version. An unfortunate accident left him earless, so I did a little bit of repair work and sent him to Lyn Norbury for this lovely Appaloosa paintjob. This is probably my second favorite mold after the hunter.
I also have custom and original finish versions of the QH weanling, a loping horse resin in primer, a heavily customized Companion drafter in primer and a partially customized Shetland pony. My shelves are filled with Karen horses, and although I've never met her in person, the hobby won't be the same to me without her. Thank you, Karen, for both the horses and the memories.


  1. Very well said, Jennifer. I hope Karen reads this and knows how much she means to the people of the model horse world and how much she will be missed.

  2. What a shame. I hope that Karen will be able to get the best treatments and beat this!

    I will never forget when Karen allowed my Girl Scouts to descend on her stalls at the App Worlds and meet her crew. The girls were so impressed with her horses, and they were really proud to get to meet a leading breeder! We all cheered her group on to victory that evening in the Rope Race and in the Freestyle Reining.

  3. Wow, I'm really sorry to hear this - thank you for posting it on your blog; I hadn't seen it anywhere else. Karen really has had a big impact on the hobby. I also hope she receives the best treatment, and will think positive and healing thoughts and prayers for her.

  4. While we lived in Kearney, I boarded Flick where her western horses were living/in training. Never met her while we were there but I enjoyed "living" with Pleasant Dreams, Recurring Dreams, The Classic Black, Mr Big Bucks, etc!

    I, of course, wish her all the best.