Wednesday, October 31, 2018

For the record

The results are in, and this much is clear: Most - but not all  - horses like candy corn.
Dogs also like candy corn. 
In fact, they like it a lot
 The same can not be said for cats. They don't recognize candy corn as food.
and chickens all like candy corn.
Of course, people like candy corn, too. In fact some of us like it a lot
Hellen Ferguson likes candy corn
Happy Halloween, everyone! Enjoy that candy corn!

Candy corn, take seven

I don't know about you, but I have enjoyed every single one of the seven previous candy corn posts published on this blog. This one is the best, however, which is why I saved it for (almost) last. Thank you, Lynn Isenbager for allowing me to share it here!

The Candy Corn Challenge (with Apologies to Dr. Seuss)

By Lynn Isenbarger

Jennifer Buxton of  Braymere Custom Saddlery wrote on her blog that she had discovered that some people do not like candy corn. One of her blog readers posted in response that her real horses loved the Halloween treat, and Jennifer decided to see if her horses liked it, too.

They did. And so Jennifer challenged invited those of us with access to both horses and candy corn to try a little experiment and see if our horses liked candy corn, too.
Well, I was up to the challenge, and I figured Abby would be as well. Her favorite treat is a freshly unwrapped candy cane; since both sweets have a high content of sugar, I figured that Abby would quickly snarf up those little kernels of candy corn goodness.

As usual, she came up to the paddock at a fast clip, eager to say "hello" and to see what I had brought her. I held my hand out with two candy corns in it and she lipped them up without even smelling them. (Such trust in me!)
Then she gave me a dirty look when she realized that they were something new and not what she had been expecting. That face!! I could not help but think of my favorite Dr. Seuss story, Green Eggs and Ham. So, with apologies to him: "I'm not sure I like them, Mom-I-Am."
She chewed thoughtfully for a moment, considering if she liked the taste or not, just as the main character in the book did.
Then Abby's face brightened, and she eagerly put her head over the wooden bars of the paddock fence.

"Say!! I like them, Mom-I Am! I do! I do like candy corn!"
"And I will eat them from your hand,"
"And I will lick you where you stand!"
"I would eat them off the ground,"
"And I sure would like another pound!"
"They are so good, so good, you see! Thank you, thank you, Best Mom-You-Be!"

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Longhopes Halloween

On Saturday, I attended the Halloween Fundraiser at Longhopes Donkey Shelter in Bennett, Colorado.
I was accompanied by my barn buddy, Karen. I made her pose with the Jackass Blvd sign because I make everyone do that.
We skipped the food  and activities and headed straight to the corrals.
To our great delight, every single donkey was dressed for the occasion.
There were lots of hats, both big...
and small.
There were bows,
bunny ears, 
and devil horns. 
I don't know who was in charge of dressing these donkeys, but I have an issue with this one. Clearly, he is not a devil!
There were also a lot of headbands.
Apparently you can put a headband on a donkey and he will wear it all day without complaint. 
It's been more than a year since my last visit to Longhopes, but there were a few familiar faces. This is Hattie. She is forty two years old. 
And this is Nacho. He used to be quite shy, and I remember watching James work very hard to gain his trust.
He's a lot more confident these days. In fact, I had trouble getting his picture because he was constantly surrounded by a sea of people.
This was such a fun day, both for the people...
and the donkeys!
Thanks for going with me, Karen. Let's do it again next year.

Monday, October 29, 2018

The way we were

In 1973, my parents gave me a Breyer Clydesdale foal for my fourth birthday. After that, all I ever wanted - aside from a real horse - was more Breyers. I have collected model horses and model horse related literature for more than forty years. It's safe to say that I know a lot about model horses and the history of the model horse hobby. However, until recently, I knew very little about model horse collecting in the pre-Breyer era. This fascinating, well-researched post gives us a glimpse into the world of model horse collecting in  the 1930's, 1940's and 1950's. Originally published on Teresa Rogers excellent The Model Horse Histroy Project blog, I am extremely grateful to share it here. Thank you so much, Teresa!

Early Examples of Model Horse Collections, 1930's to 1950's

by Teresa Rogers, guest author

It’s truly a pleasure to be asked to contribute a piece for this blog!  (It’s one of my favorites – I always learn something new here.)

My name is Teresa Rogers, and for the last several years I’ve been writing my own blogs, The Model Horse History Project and The Estate Sale Chronicles.  The MHHP tries to give context to the hobby, the model horses and the real horses that inspired them, and other aspects of being a “horse person” such as horse books, horse art, and so on.

At BreyerFest this year, some of the longest-standing members of the hobby and I talked about the origins of model horse collecting in the twentieth century.  (I won't say we're the "oldest" members of the hobby, because even the good folks in their 70's are still very much young at heart.)  Our conversations reminded me of this drawing by C.W.Anderson from his book Blaze and the Spotted Pony. How well he knew us!
Model horse collecting as most of us know it – loosely organized groups of hobbyists who interact with one another through buying and selling, model horse shows and publications (print and online), really blossomed in the mid to late 1960's and early 1970's.  But I knew that people collected model horses before then.  Model horse collecting is not only a reflection of the interest of the collector, but also of the era in which the collection was built.
So, I decided to go into the venerable database and dig around for expressions such as "model horse," "horse figurine" and "horse collection" in the context that we in the hobby think of those terms.

While most people in the hobby today are women and girls, boys played a significant part of the newspaper stories I read about horse collections. The earliest example of the phrase "horse collection" I could find (not referring to someone with a lot of real horses) came from the Pittsburgh Press newspaper, January 25, 1937.  A young man, James W. Arrott, IV, entered his miniature horse collection in a local hobby show.
An Abilene (Texas) Reporter newspaper story from October 13, 1938, described Mrs. W.D. Fagan's "unusual" miniature horse collection that ranged from half an inch to about a foot high.  The paper had asked its readers to tell them about their hobbies.
The earliest newspaper stories I read didn't discuss groups of collectors buying, selling, trading model horses amongst themselves, or corresponding about their hobby.  It appeared that lots of Americans had collections of figurines, and some of them collected horses.   Children who had collections often met at a club such as a 4H or riding club, a Scout troop, or a library, and perhaps shared their common interest there.

The Greeley (Colorado) Daily Tribune reported on June 24, 1944, that local school children raised money for a $100 War Bond by charging admission to see their collections of various items, including lambs, pigs, and horses.
Merchants caught on to the need to advertise horse collectibles, as shown in the Salem (Oregon) Capital Journal ad for the Metropolitan store from April 12, 1945: 
By the 1940's, collectors putting model horse collections on display in local public libraries seemed to be fairly common.  This may have been due, in part, to the increasing popularity of juvenile fiction horse books.  Walter Farley's The Black Stallion was first published in 1941; The Black Stallion Returns came out in 1945, the same year Marguerite Henry's Justin Morgan Had a Horse was published.  

The Mount Pleasant (Iowa) News, March 18, 1946, describes such a display.
Cowboys in pop culture also played a huge role in the imagination of boys and girls alike in the post-World War II era.  The adventures of cowboys and, importantly, their faithful steeds were ubiquitous on the radio, in comic books and newspaper comic strips, in the movies and later on TV. The Minneapolis Star Tribune from May 16, 1948, showed a photo of third grader Donny Anderson, appropriately attired in his cowboy outfit, sitting next to his model horse collection.
So where did people find model horses, before the days of Breyer, Hartland, and Hagen-Renaker?  Their options were limited, including toys, handmade horses (ceramic or hand-carved), plaster of Paris carnival prize horses, or ceramic and metal horse figurines marketed as decorative objects. A search for the phrase "horse figurine" turned up this ad from the Amarillo Globe-Times, December 8, 1938:
Later, ads and articles aimed specifically at people who had animal collections became more numerous.  The Dayton Daily News, August 26, 1945, had a hobby-specific advertisement for Wagner's:
Fred Meyer Drugs advertised one of its early horse figurines in the November 13, 1945 Salem Capital Journal:
Graceful Horse Figurines appear in this November 22, 1945 ad for Sears, Roebuck & Co. in the Minneapolis Star:
In 1946, the name of a pioneering model horse designer began to appear in Idaho newspapers as well as in magazines such as Western Horseman: Virginia Orison. (She deserves a separate blog post, which I'm working on.)
Metal horse figurines were common in American households, gracing bookshelves and fireplace mantels.  And by the late 1940's, kids and adults from all walks of life were given model horses as gifts.  President Harry Truman, for example, in 1948, received what looks a lot like a small metal horse in Western tack like the one that Gladys Brown Edwards designed.  The horse was sent to the president as a birthday gift from a nine-year-old Wyoming boy.
The 1950's were a great time to be a horse-crazy kid in America. By 1954, newspaper ads had begun to show illustrations of horse-shaped objects we might recognize.  The Ben Franklin stores ran this ad in newspapers in July 1954:
In the 1950's it was common to see boys and girls with model horse collections mentioned in their local newspapers.  This photo from the November 28, 1957 Nashville Tennessean shows a group of girls admiring what looks like a Beswick 976 mare in bay.
Horseback riding organizations thrived in the ‘50's.  The Winona, Minnesota Saddle and Bridle Club recognized the importance of model horses in developing an appreciation of real horses, and sponsored a “table top model horse show” in February 1957.  Apparently this was their second early “live show,” and it was quite well-organized, with a class list, entry fee, awards, and (of course) refreshments.  They were quite ahead of their time.
The paper also carried the results of the Table Top Show; the photographer assigned to the event seemed more focused on the showers than the model horses, though.
Another table top show was held by the Winona Saddle and Bridle Club the following year.  The Daily News issue of November 29, 1958, showed a photo of the collectors with their treasures, and this one made my heart sing.  Among others, we can see some new-at-the-time Hagen-Renaker horse figurines, as well as what might be one of the Orison Quarter Horse models under Western tack.  
Come to think of it, those Hagen-Renaker and Orison horse figurines would probably do quite well in live model horse shows today, too.

If you enjoyed this post - and I know you did - be sure to check out The Model Horse History Project blog. You will be glad you did!