This weekend, the Kentucky Horse Park will host the largest convention in the country devoted entirely to plastic horses. Here’s what you didn’t know you need to know.
Top photo: en route to Breyerfest, via the Breyer Model Horses Facebook page.
1. There’s a model horse show.
Competitors may only show 50 models each (50??? Do they also have a trailer show in the parking lot? How do you ship these things?) The class list doesn’t discriminate, offering halter sections for literally every breed imaginable (such as Class #109, Original Finish Halter European, Australian, Asian and African Pony Breeds) as well as less imaginable (#312, Woodgrain Standing Adults.) The prize list also includes a full slate of performance classes, ranging from Hunter Over Fences to Indian Costume.
2. Attendees can check out the Swap Meet to buy or sell models.
I’m gathering that this is like going to a horse sale without the risk that the horse you just bought probably won’t turn out to be an unbroken bronco the next day. Collectors gather to buy, sell or trade models — but these are less likely to be the off-the-shelf kind and more likely to be special runs, semi- or-fully-custom, limited editions or rare vintage pieces. For the true collector, this is not to be missed. This event is held in the evenings until 11:00 PM, lending a mysterious after-hours feel.
3. There’s a dock dog competition.
I’ve yet to discover how this relates to model horses,but you’ve gotta admit that it’s kind of cool.
4. There are actually lots of real horses in attendance as well.
Breyerfest makes a point of celebrating the real horses that inspired the models, and the 2014 program includes a list of well-known horses in their respective fields. The fields include not only “typical” stars like movie horses and breed show champions, but therapy minis, jousters, and the defending national champion in a mystifying class called Open Parade Horse (which seems to require competitors to use tack made entirely out of silver). All of these guest horses are accompanied by lifelike models and the owners of these horses are on hand throughout the weekend to sign the models as well.
Go model horses!
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