Abusive showing methods used in the Arabian horse world have now been immortalised by the model horse hobby scene. Snarky Rider (who’s now filling in for Fugly Horse of the Day) is rude about the hobby in this post, but the photo of the handler waving a big stick at the 1980s Hagen Renaker Arab is just a replication of what’s on view in many show rings (see this post for a nasty reminder). Larger image at the Sylverwyng Stables site: the stallion is called *Aneirin. As a former model horse collector and shower, I almost wish more people did this to highlight the absurdity of some real-world showing practices. What about some “big lick” Tennessee Walking horses with bleeding legs? There’s a Breyer model that’ll do the job nicely.
Blimey. Have a look at the attention to detail and sheer effort that went into creating this “shabby chic vintage pony party“. I remember Horse and Pony magazine’s tips for a pony party that included oat-based treats and carrot sticks. I bet my mum’s glad I didn’t see anything like this when I was eight.
HOW NOT TO DO IT:
Some 250 horses have been dumped in Bridgend by owners who, it seems, could not afford to feed nor care for them. There are rumours that some have been killed on the roads already, and a few have died of lung infections or starvation. In the photo on the Daily Mail’s site you can see them picking soiled straw out of a muck heap. The Mail article also has details of a local charity which is trying to take in the horses, and which needs donations desperately.
HOW TO DO IT:
Ensure that the horses are inanimate when you take delivery of them, rather than afterwards, when you have bought lots and discovered that you can’t feed them and they subsequently starve to death. In other words, hoard model horses.
My final outlet for childhood horse-craziness was collecting and showing Breyer model horses. You took artful photographs of your stud of fine beasts and posted them off to someone in Spokane who was running a show. A few weeks later, a big manilla envelope would come back with a typed and photocopied list of results and perhaps – perhaps! – some slips of coloured ribbon and homedrawn certificates.
You could join an association, register your horses and mail off each horse’s cumulative results at the end of each year so that they could earn points towards a Register of Merit of Legion of Merit badge. You could spend hours researching pedigrees for them and toiling over adverts for your stallions. I even branched out into racehorses a few years before I went to university (when horses real and inanimate fell by the wayside).
Anyway, a friend passed on another friend’s new blog, dedicated to the nerdy and deeply satisfying practice of researching pedigrees for model horses, and you can read about the process here, at ‘Pedigree Chum’. The internet was only just beginning to kick in when I gave up and sold my virtual racehorses, but I do find them mentioned here and there on the net still (ah, idle Googling). And of course, the models are still prancing dustily along the shelves in my bedroom in Norwich: Surafic, Torah Tanak, Mishmish II. Sorry about that, Mum and Dad!