Recently, in an attempt to watch the Super Bowl, I started playing with my Breyer Horses again. The football game was on, but it just couldn't hold my attention and I started re-organizing and cleaning up my model horse collection. They have been on my shelves but have gathered dust, and more than one of them had a body in one place and a leg in another.
As a youngster, I played more vigorously with the horses. They fought battles, raced, jumped, broke down the barn door, and in a few dramatic scenarios, were airlifted by my brother's r/c helicopter. Model horse legs were not meant for such abuse and they snapped with maddening regularity. My Dad tirelessly repaired them, first with glue, then with epoxies, then with drilling and pegs but each repaired model ended up back into the fray so repairs never lasted long. One poor horse even had a prosthetic leg after his original one was lost. His initial prosthetic was a marker cap stuck onto the stump of his leg. It worked perfectly, but looked ridiculous. An artistically inclined neighbor whittled a more realistic leg from a bit of wood which was then stained chestnut-ish color and taped onto the horse. The wooden leg was slightly more realistic looking than the marker cap, but the masking tape spoiled the effect.
Re-visiting that world, with the Superbowl blaring away in the background, I immersed myself into my list of model horses and their names, dusted the most filthy, did surgery (using a hot glue gun) on some and then nicely rearranged them all on their shelves. There were no races, battles or helicopters involved.
Playing with my Breyer horses was the reason I collected them, but naming my Breyer Horses was the real thrill. My first three had the unimaginative names of Prince, Lightning and Sugar. As my collection grew, I came to love the process of finding just the right name for each horse. Each horse's breed, color, age, sex and pose were considered. I tried out names until I came to the one that fit just right. Some Breyer horses are models of real live, storybook, or movie horses, which meant that they already had names. For some of those, I changed the names, but most "real" horses stayed real. Amongst them are; Sham, Abdullah, Touch of Class, Roemer, Shetan, Misty, John Henry and several Black Beauties. A lot of my horses have names that I got from non-equine tv shows, movies, songs or celebrities. Some have names inspired by the place or time (holidays or season) from which each horse was obtained. Others have names derived from people or horses in my life.
Willie is a blue roan Percheron model that I got at the Kentucky Horse Park. He is named after a horse that was at the barn where I first boarded Ivy. A light gray model Arab mare is named after a light gray real Arab mare that I trained, named Kann Gdanse (Can Dance). The model is Kann Gdanse Too. I have a little bay Quarter Horse mare that looks a lot like another horse, See Stormy, I worked with, so I named that model See Stormy Go. Autumn Fawn is a bright Palomino mare named after the real Fawny, a more subtle palomino. Fawny was a neighbor's horse that I could ride whenever I wanted. She was a darling mare and I had many adventures with her. Alabama Drifter (an Appaloosa) is named for a Standardbred that we had in our barn. He was called Bama, and while not exactly "darling" we also had many adventures with him. Impressive Chief is a name I blatantly plagiarized from a horse that a classmate had. I named my model Appaloosa horse after her real Appaloosa horse. Druska is another name I stole outright. A horse at my instructor's barn was named Druska Muska and I loved that horse. When I got a model that sort of looked like the real Druska, I named mine the same. Without the Muska, though. I thought the Muska part sounded funny so I left it off. My roommate in college had a National Show Horse mare named Driftwood Tishra. The mare was called Tish most of the time, but her pet name was Driftwooooooooood. I named a pair of model Arabs after her, only with less o's. They were Driftwood Seraphina and Driftwood Gabriella. There are two foxes in my collection. One is a bay Saddlebred mare called Springfield Fox (Foxy) named after a little bay mare that was a school horse at my college. The other is an Apppaloosa called X-Tra Super Fox who was named after a college friend's little Appaloosa, Sleepy Fox (who should have been called Super Fox). Last, but not least, although certainly littlest, is a model of a Hackney Pony that I named Whispering Pines' Tipperary, or Tippy. Tippy was one of the ponies that I worked with at my first Summer job. Tippy was sweet and adorable and had a great pony name. I had to re-use it.
People I know, and have known, may be honored to find out that I have a model horse in my collection named after them. Or maybe they will not be honored but instead will be embarrassed that they are friends with such a dork. In an effort to protect the identities of those involved, I will not name them personally, but will print the horses' names. If the people involved are flattered, they may feel free to stand up and wave, saying "Hey, that's me!" More likely, they will slink away quietly hoping that I know some other person by that name.
Me: Hey guess what, good friend! I named this pretty plastic horse after YOU!
GF: You did what?
Me: Yeah, cause I think you're so great and really special and everything so I did this cool thing.
Me: Isn't that great?!
GF: (crickets chirping)
Here is the list. Be flattered, or not.
Justa Summer Squash
Andy's Birthday Girl
Kim's Poco Rey
Some of those names aren't much of a stretch. It's fairly obvious that I know people named Wesley, Bonnie and Belinda. The rest are like code names. Some of you reading this may recognize your name. Others, like the 9 year old son of a friend's brother-in-law, will not be reading this and thus will not know of their fame. Incidentally, I have never met said 9 year old. He was just born around the same time as my son and I thought his name was cool. A medium size boy that I have never actually met, is cooler than me. Just because of his name.
I could write more pages about the names I've chosen for my Breyer Horses but I will spare you. Next post, I swear, will be about training horses.