Many Mini Hooves

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Originally published September 12, 2014

Singles: The Stablemate Grails - Early Special Runs

Though collectors have been drooling over hard to find models such as the Riegsecker G1 Draft Horses for longer, the three special runs in today's post are older and even harder to find - we just didn't know about them until relatively recently.

Before the dawn of the internets, collectors only found out about the smaller, more obscure special runs through word of mouth or by being fortunate enough to read the right magazines and newsletters. Breyer did, and still does, release small numbers of special runs for an audience other than the greater collecting community, so if you aren't in the know, it can be hard to keep up.

Some examples of the early runs began coming to light as the Breyer events got bigger and more popular, and information became more widely disseminated as Breyer collectors got online and started comparing notes. Now it's possible to get the latest model news as it breaks via Facebook and the assorted forums which sprung up in the early years of the internet.

A metal G1 Saddlebred? Is this a knock off, a custom, or could it be original finish?! It turns out that in 1975 Breyer commissioned an outside company to create 1,000 of electroplated G1 Saddlebreds to celebrate their silver anniversary 34 and probably to announce the introduction of the Stablemate line. These were given away as promotional items in silver boxes with purple inserts.34

The first BreyerFest auction in 1990 featured one of these silver models; the auction card confirmed the production numbers and the 1990 Nov./Dec. Just About Horses described the distribution method.34 It is probable the existence of these models wasn't widely known until the 1990 auction and JAH mention.

Almost as difficult to find, especially complete with his base, is this little conversation starter - Emperor Gold Bar and his 'Genuine horse-hockey'. Yes, you've got that right, he originally came with real horse poo!

Production quantity is unknown and dates for this release are uncertain - they're generally listed as 1975-85. A collector bought one example from a seller who stated they had purchased the model some time in 1975 and another collector found an ad in a 1980 issue of Horse of Course! magazine in 1994, at which time it was brought to Nancy Young's attention.17

No one seems to have any idea why the owner of Emperor Gold Bar or Breyer would choose the G1 Arabian Stallion, as the horse it was portraying was actually a Quarter Horse. The palomino stallion came mounted on top of a clear resin base containing a small piece of horse poo. He came with a hang-tag reading:

Front: Genuine 'Horse-Hockey' By 'Emperor's Gold Bar' A.Q.H.A. Reg. No. 786615

Inside: Great grandson of world-famous 'Three Bars,' and one of the most beautiful racing bred stallions in the world. Declared undisputed world equine tetherball champion in 1971 and still holds claim to that title today. Emperor is sometimes referred to as the 'million dollar lover' since his advertised breeding fee is a whopping $1,000,000,000 [sic].
Space-Age Products
Tolleson, AZ 17

The ad found in Horse of Course! read:

Emperor's Gold Bar is the beautiful racing bred stallion who's[sic] advertised breeding fee soared to an incredible one-million dollars!!!! Now you can own a piece of this Gorgeous Palomino stallion. Genuine 'horse-hockey' from Emperor's stall artistically entombed in transparent plastic. Atop is a solid detailed statue of Emperor.
The Conversation piece of the century, and the perfect gift. Order Now While Supply Lasts.
The Clements Co.
Guntersville, AL 17

As famous as this horse seems to have been, I haven't been able to find anything on him with a Google search or through AllBreed. I'm sure the AQHA pedigree database would bring up his record, but I'm not curious enough to purchase a membership.

Even later to the party was the special run G1 Quarter Horse Stallion sold by the Chincoteague Miniature Pony Farm, home of the descendants of Misty of Chincoteague. This little black horse was commissioned to represent Pancho, one of the farm's performing Miniature Horses. In the act, these Minis were billed as different breeds, Pancho was their star "Quarter Horse".

Pancho in matte and satin finish

These models are reputed to have been in production since the 70s, based on the release dates of the mold, 1976 is probably the earliest date they could have appeared. According to the owner of the shop, less than 1,000 models were produced.35

In the late 80s or early 90s two collectors purchased a quantity of these models from the shop at the pony farm during their holiday on the island. Some of these were offered for sale at the 1997 BreyerFest at which time the hobby at large became aware of the run. The rest were offered later in 1998. Other collectors then came forward with examples which had been purchased in 1982/83.35

It is uncertain how long these models were produced, but with their relatively small production number, it is likely that they were purchased from Breyer in one batch and were sold from the shop for a period of years before the supply ran out.

How exactly these models were packaged is unknown, but some examples are accompanied by a few other souvenirs from the shop, namely a sheet of puffy stickers representing ponies from the farm and a postcard featuring Pancho in front of the iconic Chincoteague Pony Farm barn surrounded by adoring fans.

Chincoteague Miniature Pony Farm postcards

Many, many postcards have been printed by the farm with pictures of Misty and her family and friends. I was surprised by the number of different Pancho cards which can be found.

Pancho retiring to his barn in 1985 after a performance.

A history of the Chincoteague Miniature Pony Farm and pictures of the ponies can be found at Misty's Heaven.

Many thanks to PolarVrtX, Deb Walsmith, Elizabeth Emswiler, Amy Widman, and Eleda at Triple Mountain for providing pictures of these rarities from their collections!

Originally published August 1, 2014

Singles: Got to Be a Götz - Ponies and Dolls

Götz (or Goetz in the US) started as a small, family owned, German doll company in the 1950s. Originally made with paper mache, in 1957 the company began using rotational molding to produce vinyl dolls. They pioneered the mass-production of "designer" dolls with their product line by artist, Sasha Morgenthaler, in 1964. After establishing a factory in the US in the late 1980s, Götz became involved with the Pleasant Company, the producers of the American Girl Dolls.33 The company continues to be a major player in the designer doll world to this day.

Breyer produced models for both the Pleasant Company and Götz, but the runs produced for the former company were only of the larger scales, and thus of little interest to us here.

At the 1995 BreyerFest, Jessica, a 19.5 inch doll in riding gear was displayed in the booth of the Bentley Sales Company. Jessica and her accessories, including saddlebags stamped with the Breyer logo, were produced by Götz, but the pair of Stablemates peeking out of her bags were pure Breyer.12

This pair were both regular run releases: #5120 G1 Arabian Stallion and #5141 G1 Thoroughbred Mare.12 These models were both discontinued at the end of 1994 with the rest of the assortment, so maybe this was Breyer's way of getting rid of some overstock? The State Line Tack catalogue carried pictures of the set through 1996, but not beyond, so it's generally assumed the set was discontinued at the end of that year.12

Apparently Jessica and her plastic friends were popular enough for Götz to agree to two additional models. In 1996 the first single, and only named model, was added to Götz's catalogue - a chestnut leopard appaloosa G1 Arabian Mare named Butterscotch.12

Records from Breyer state around 1,000 of these models were produced, but a model number for the run itself was not listed. The packaging was simple, a small plastic baggie adorned with the following sticker:19

Doll Boutique
Boutique Pour Poupees19

Specially made for Götz-Puppenfabrik GmbH
Einberger Str. 113
96472 Rödental19

Butterscotch could be found at tack and toy stores which carried Götz products and were also sold through mail order sources such as Back in the Saddle and The Enchanted Doll House.19

She was followed in 1997 by a "sleek, brown and white miniature horse" in the form of a chestnut roan G1 Morgan Stallion which was called Miniature Horse, Miniaturpferd, and Cheval miniature in the catalogue. The model was available through the same channels as Butterscotch.14

Production numbers and model number for the Miniature Horse are unavailable. Like the previous model, he too came in a plastic baggie with the same sticker as described above.14

There haven't been any other Stablemate/designer doll pairings, but a pair of leather saddlebags did play a role in a G2 set which we will see in time.

Many thanks to Deb Walsmith for providing a picture of the first Götz set!

Originally published October 31, 2014

Singles: Virtual Ponies - Multi-Media Swaps

From time to time models pop up in some unexpected places, sometimes as a result of Breyer specifically producing models for a collaborative product release, at others a company may utilize standard issue models for use with their products. Our model today is an example of the former.

In late 1996 Breyer teamed up with Inroads Interactive to produce a CD ROM and model horse set.

The CD, Multimedia Horses: The Complete Interactive Guide to Horses, featured 101 different horse breeds with fun facts, history, pictures, and video to help users learn about horses and to ultimately find their perfect pony. The program can still be found on Amazon, though the horse is no longer included. I'm not sure how accurate the information will be as the list of breeds includes the American Albino, a colour registry which was renamed the American White and American Creme Horse Registry in 1980.

The perfect pony in this particular case was what is generally referred to as a 'peachy dun' G1 Swaps. He's a typically ambiguous Breyer colour, kind of a rosy, creamy colour with grey points and soft grey shading down his back. The model should sport a near-hind sock and an airbrushed bald face. Shading and markings can vary somewhat.

The original release announcements were a bit confusing. The December 1996 issue of the magazine Equus offered readers the chance to purchase the set for $27.95, which was clear enough, but the picture used for the model was a scaled down photo of the Traditional scale #498 Son of Leo on the Ideal Quarter Horse mold. Dressage Today and likely other equestrian magazines featured similar ads in early 1997.36

Inroads Interactive offered the set at a discounted price of $19.95 on their website and a clearer idea of the actual scale. They did, however, further muddy the waters around this release by advertising the model included as being one-of-a-kind.36

These models were far from being one-of-a-kind as 6,000 of them were produced. Even so, they're one of the harder to find of the more recent Generation One special runs.36

Many thanks to Deb Walsmith and Elizabeth Emswiler for providing pictures of their models!

Originally published February 12, 2016

Singles: Holiday Specials - Just Hangin' Around with Christmas Ornaments

Breyer's Holiday series began in 1997 with a single Traditional model with a festive name and a holiday sash. This quickly snowballed into more and more over the top costumes and the series expanded in 1999 to include ornaments and other holiday paraphernalia. While there have been quite a few Stablemate-sized ornaments, only a few have actually featured Stablemate molds. The models used were altered to add holiday accessories and then a mold was made of the new sculpture which was used to cast the resin or plastic ornaments.

#700799 Father Christmas Ornament (1999) was the first ornament to feature a Stablemate and was part of that first group of ornaments released in 1999. The altered G2 Andalusian is a soft dark grey with white mane/tail and four socks. He is turned out in medieval-inspired tack and carries Santa and his sacks of toys.

Breyer didn't use the Stablemates as painted ornaments again until 2003, and this time there were two of them. The G2 Andalusian ornament returned, this time in bay with richer and more muted colours to his tack. Instead of a red and white Santa he carried a rather Gandalf-y Father Christmas in mossy green and cranberry robes. #700113 Father Christmas Ornament was only available for the 2003 season.

The G2 Rearing Arabian made its first appearance in ornament form as the #700203 Elegant Ornament (2003). This slightly pearly, lightly shaded and dappled, pale grey model was decorated with a simple red ribbon which twined around the body. A few crystals and the date in gold filled the widest part of the ribbon.

Many thanks to Deb Walsmith and Sharon Walbridge for providing pictures for this post!

Originally published May 12, 2017

Singles Assortment: The Summer of Special Run Singles

When new singles start appearing on store shelves, a short, sharp buying frenzy generally occurs which intensifies, or dies away when them models are confirmed to be special runs or just unannounced regular runs.

In 2006, the #5904 Singles (203-03) appeared on shelves in Target stores with the special run number 720116. These models are identical to the regular run singles, but some tend to be a bit darker and/or shinier than their #5904 counterpart.

  • G2 American Saddlebred - black pinto
  • G2 American Saddlebred - chestnut
  • G2 Rearing Arabian - black
  • G2 Clydesdale - white grey
  • G2 Standardbred - dapple grey
  • G2 Andalusian - dark bay
  • G2 Warmblood - bay dun blanket appaloosa
  • G2 Morgan - palomino
  • G2 Quarter Horse - chestnut
  • G2 Shetland Pony - palomino
  • G2 Thoroughbred - chestnut pinto

Chaos ensued when a crop of unidentified Stablemates popped up at the Tractor Supply Co. and similar stores in 2008. #5906 is a small assortment consisting of six models:

  • G3 Tennessee Walking Horse - bay
  • G3 Standing Stock Horse - bay dun
  • G3 Standing Thoroughbred - white grey
  • G3 Peruvian Paso - flaxen chestnut
  • G3 Highland Pony - bay pinto
  • G3 Walking Arabian - palomino

During the summer of 2009 while many of the hobby folk were congregating in Kentucky for BreyerFest, a wave of pink washed over Target stores leaving in its wake singles and sets. The Pony Gals collection was a large one with twelve different models:

  • G3 Jumper: #720227 Pony Gals - Swedish Warmblood (flaxen liver chestnut)
  • G2 Clydesdale: #720216 Pony Gals - Clydesdale (bay)
  • G3 Peruvian Paso: #720226 Pony Gals - Peruvian Paso (flaxen chestnut)
  • G3 Rearing Andalusian: #720219 Pony Gals - Lusitano (palomino)
  • G2 Stock Horse: #720221 Pony Gals - Quarter Horse (dark bay)
  • G3 Standing Stock Horse: #720220 Pony Gals - Appaloosa (chestnut blanket appaloosa)
  • G2 Thoroughbred: #720223 Pony Gals - Thoroughbred (white grey)
  • G3 Highland Pony: #720218 Pony Gals - Pony (bay)
  • G2 Warmblood: #720224 Pony Gals - Hanoverian (flea-bitten grey)
  • G3 Tennessee Walking Horse: #720217 Pony Gals - Tennessee Walking Horse (chestnut roan)
  • G3 Mustang: #720222 Pony Gals - Mustang (black dun sabino)
  • G2 American Saddlebred: #720225 Pony Gals - American Saddlebred (black pinto)

Originally published November 25, 2016

Singles: Fun and Games

There has yet to be a Stablemate board game, but there have been a few other games released with Stablemate companions.

The card games came first. A single Stablemate came packaged in a window box with a set of Breyer-themed Memory cards. #P55016 Horse Play Card Game - Pinto Half-Arabian (2002-04) came with a chestnut pinto G1 Arabian Stallion. The model is matte to satin in finish with a big blaze, pink nose, and four stockings.

A dark bay G2 Prancing Morgan replaced the G1 model in the #55016 Horse Play Card Set (2005-07) The model has a satin to semi-gloss finish, with an elongated start, snip, eye-whites, and a near-hind sock.

There was a gap of a couple of years before the #31002 Horse Play Card Set, 2nd Edition (2009-11) which came with a lovely dapple grey G2 Clydesdale. The model is matte in finish with small water resist dapples, bald face, pink nose, four white socks, eye-whites, and white mane/tail.

2008 was the year of the puzzles. Three Breyer-themed puzzles were released with a matching model. These sets were only available a relatively short time and can be somewhat difficult to find on the second-hand market.

The flaxen chestnut G3 Peruvian Paso which accompanied the #46002 Running Free - 300 Piece Puzzle (2008-09) is virtually the same as the #5906 Stablemates singles model. The model is satin to semi-gloss with shaded mane/tail, eye-whites, hind socks, and a snip.

#46003 Fun in the Sun 500 Piece Puzzle (2008-09) came with a lovely flaxen liver chestnut tobiano G3 Stock Horse. The model is satin to semi-gloss in finish with a large blaze, eye-whites, and four stockings.

The G3 Cantering Warmblood in the #46004 The Exciting World of Stablemates 1,000 pc Puzzle (2008-09) was an interesting frosty bay roan with eye-whites, and an off-fore sock.

Many thanks to Deb Walsmith, Sharon Walbridge, and MySt of My Stablemates for providing pictures for this post!

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