Many Mini Hooves

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Originally published December 25, 2015

Play Sets: Cinematic Sensations I

Though Breyer has had a long history of producing portraits of famous horses, both real and fictional, on their larger scale models, it wasn't until relatively recently that the Stablemates got into the act. Breyer released tie-in sets for horse-themed movies each year from 2003 to 2006.

In 2003 the blockbuster movie Seabiscuit inspired Breyer to produce Traditional, Classic, and the first Stablemate scale movie tie-in models. Two different Stablemate sets were released, one a regular run and the other a special run only available through Blockbuster Videos (Wikipedia link for you young whippersnappers)

The regular run #10103 Seabiscuit Stablemates Three Piece Gift Set (2003 -2004) featured three models: a heavily shaded bay Seabiscuit on the, of course, G1 Seabiscuit mold, War Admiral, a very dark bay G2 Thoroughbred, and Pumpkin, Seabiscuit's phlegmatic companion, as a palomino G1 Quarter Horse Stallion.

This was one of the last regular run sets to utilize the flat, shadowbox style of packaging for awhile.

It seems only logical to sell a movie tie-in special run through a major video store, but they certainly could be a pain to track down. #600303 Seabiscuit Pocket Barn Play Set (2003) was only available at Blockbuster Video stores, though overstock did appear from time to time through discount retailers. The set contained the same Seabiscuit as the regular run set, a red, white, and blue pocket barn, yellow pitchfork, bucket, and fence panels, a red and yellow body brush, and a blue and yellow box of hay.

In 2004 Hidalgo made a huge splash in the Breyer line, but we're going to give those sets their own post and skip over to 2005 and the Dreamer story. The Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story collection fell flat on the collectors. Most of the items were plushie accessories, and the two large-scale models were a plain chestnut on fairly unpopular molds. The single Stablemate set was nice, but it did have a few problems.

The new, dynamic 3D style boxes with the horses wired into standing positions had the potential to cause rubbing between the models when boxes were flexed or crushed during shipping. The tack also tended to stick in places and take paint patches off the horse when removed.

That said, the models in the #720256 Dreamer Stablemates Race Horse Set (2005-06) were lovely. Both are G2 Thoroughbreds in full racing tack, complete with jockeys. SoƱador (Dreamer in English) is a rich, slightly metallic chestnut while Goliath's Boy is a very dark bay.

After the let-down of the Dreamer collection, things picked back up again with Flicka in 2006. In addition to the plushie and toy accessories, there were also Traditional and Classic scale releases, Walmart special runs, and two Stablemate sets. I've never seen the movie, so I'm not sure if the other horses in the sets are specific characters or just "extras" Breyer created.

The first set, #5401 Flicka and Family Gift Set (2006-07) is a regular run and consists of four models in the 3D packaging. In addition to Flicka, a black G2 Rearing Arabian with subtle brown shading, there is also a bay G2 Stock Horse, a chestnut G2 Warmblood, and a G2 Thoroughbred in a very dark bay tobiano.

The second set, #750010 Flicka in the Wild Stablemates Set (2006), is a special run and could only be found at Walmart, though not all stores carried the Breyer line. The molds were the same as was the Flicka model, but the colours were different on the other three. This time the G2 Stock Horse was a shaded chestnut roan, the G2 Warmblood a palomino, and the G2 Thoroughbred a soft shaded grey.

I said the Flicka models are identical, but mine at least are not. The G2 Rearing Arabian in my regular run set is a stallion while the same model in my special run set is a mare. I do not know if this is typical for the sets - if all the regular run sets have stallions, or if the mistake was caught later on and the gender is mixed for the release. Does anyone have a regular run mare or a special run stallion?

Many thanks to Sharon Walbridge for providing pictures for this post!

Originally published December 25, 2015

Play Sets: Cinematic Sensations II

We skipped over two of the movie collections in the last post as both collections are photo-heavy.

In 2004 Breyer went slightly wild with the Hidalgo movie. Plushies, Traditionals, Classics, Stablemates, and special runs were unleashed upon the collectors. The sets contained a mix of G1 and G2 molds which caused a bit of confusion at the end of 2005 when the big switch occurred.

There were two gift sets released, on a regular run and the other a special run through Blockbuster Video.

#10303 Hidalgo Stablemates Arabian Adventure Play Set(2004), the regular run set, contained four Arabian-ish models. The G2 Rearing Arabian in flaxen chestnut frame overo as Hidalgo and playing the part of the Arabian crew is the G1 Arabian Mare in a shaded flea-bitten grey, the G1 Morgan Mare in white grey, and a G2 Thoroughbred in smoky black. This was a very short-lived set and can be difficult to find.

Following in the footsteps of the Seabiscuit collection, a Classic model and a Stablemate set was released as a Blockbuster Video exclusive. Like the regular run set, special run #10304 Hidalgo Stablemates Mustang Play Set (2004) is split between the two generations. This time, Hidalgo is played by the G2 Thoroughbred. His mustang pals consist of a bay roan G1 Thoroughbred Mare, a black blanket appaloosa G1 Swaps, and a G2 Paso Fino in dapple grey.

Back on the regular run side of things there was more, the #10306 Hidalgo Stablemates Buffalo Bill Show Play Set (2004-05)

Compared to other play sets, this one was a little light on the accessories. A G2 Stock Horse appeared as Hidalgo in full western tack with a cowboy rider and there was a G1 Silky Sullivan in a striking shaded buckskin blanket appaloosa pulling a Buffalo Bill show wagon. When the big switch came at the end of 2005, this set was discontinued instead of G2-ing it.

In 2005, two new sets appeared which seemed to be associated with the Hidalgo collection, but weren't specifically mentioned as such - the Buffalo Bill Rough Rider and Annie Oakley play sets.

#5316 Buffalo Bill Rough Rider Play Set (2005-06) was more about the accessories than the horses as both were re-releases of previous models: the buckskin blanket appaloosa G2 Warmblood is the same as #5904 from the Stablemate Assortment and the palomino G2 Stock Horse featured in two other play sets, #5201 and #5985. The accessories included a western tack set and rider for the G2 Warmblood, harness and Buffalo Bill wagon for the G2 Stock Horse, and a lantern, hitching rail, and campfire.

The #5315 Annie Oakley Play Set (2005) was more interesting for those collectors less interested in accessories. In the beginning the set featured the same black blanket appaloosa G1 Swaps as seen in the special run Hidalgo Mustang set. In late 2005 he was quietly swapped with a G2 Prancing Morgan who finished out the remainder of the year. The G2 Stock Horse in dark bay frame overo remained consistent throughout the year. In addition to a bale of hay, a lantern, and a puppy, the G2 Stock Horse came in western tack with Annie Oakley as a rider, and the appaloosa model was hitched to an Annie Oakley show wagon.

Though a big fuss was made about the Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron movie when it came out in 2002, complete with all new Traditional-scale molds and a whole porcelain collection, the Stablemate sets weren't released until 2005. As both sets were released right on the eve of the Big Switch, two different versions of each can be found.

During most of 2005, #5311 Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron Play Set (2005-07) was split 50/50 between G1 and G2. Spirit was and continued to be played by the G2 Rearing Arabian in buckskin (yes, and the eyebrows) while the US Calvary horse saw a change in casting. First as a G1 Native Dancer and later as a G2 Stock Horse, both models were a dark dapple grey with a black US brand on their near-shoulder.

The set also contained a fair share of accessories: a tree, hitching post, campfire, and a blacksmith.

The same scenario played out with #5312 Spirit Family Play Set with Rain (2005-07). Rain started out as a flaxen chestnut tovero G1 Morgan Mare and ended up as a G2 Paso Fino. In keeping with the character, both models featured painted eagle feathers in their mane - near-side for the G1 and off-side for the G2. The accessories were rather swank in this set, a working cloth tepee, an eagle, wolf, campfire, hitching post, and Native American rider.

Many thanks to Sharon Walbridge for providing pictures for this post!

Originally published April 21, 2017

Waaaay back in 1994 Breyer had a brief fling with Bonnie Bryant's The Saddle Club book series. In 2008, coinciding with the airing of the third and final season of The Saddle Club TV series, Breyer released a line of merchandise tie-ins with plushies, Mini Whinnies, Traditionals, Classics, and of course, Stablemates.

All of the Stablemate sets are based on episodes from the first season which aired in 2001.

#5500 Saddle Club 4 Piece Set (2008-11) introduces the four of the horses used by the main characters; the girls went through several changes of mounts during the show.

Belle, ridden by Stevie is a solid black G3 Standing Stock Horse. A buckskin G3 Standing Thoroughbred is used for Starlight, Carole's horse. Patch, ridden at times by Lisa, is a bay tobiano G2 Stock Horse. The other horse ridden by Lisa is Prancer, a chestnut G2 Thoroughbred.

#6602 Lisa & Prancer Set - Jumping to Conclusions (2008-11) is based on episode 12, which aired on May 15, 2001.

The set comes with two riders (Lisa and Veronica), tack, blanket, cross-country jumps, and assorted small accessories. Patch is represented by a bay tobiano G2 Warmblood and Prancer by a chestnut G3 Standing Stock Horse.

#5501 Jump Off: Carole and Starlight Gift Set (2008-11) is based on episode 17 which aired on May 22, 2001.

The set comes with two riders (Carole and Andrea), tack, trophy, blue ribbon, four white fence panels, and a jump. Andrea's horse, Doc, is a white-grey G2 Prancing Morgan and Carole's horse, Starlight, is a G3 Warmblood Jumper.

#5503 Stevie & Belle Set: Found Horse (2008-11) is based on a two-part story, episodes 18 & 19, which aired on May 23-24, 2001.

The set comes with two riders (Stevie and Veronica), four yellow fence panels, a grooming kit, and tack. Veronica's horse, Garnet, is represented by a chestnut G3 Walking Arabian, and the "found horse", Belle, is a black G3 Cantering Warmblood.

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