|Model horse showing is an activity that comes to us from the world of
"real" horses. Shows put model horses in competition with each other,
generally using the same standards that live horses are held to. Model horses,
both original finish and customized,
can compete in a wide variety of classes covering (among other things) gender,
color, breed, and performance.
How are model horses judged?
Just like in live horse shows, models are judged
on how well they meet the established standards for a class. In breed
classes, for example, the model will be judged on how well its conformation
and color meet the requirements for that breed. Hobbyists who want to do
well in today's competitive show environment need to research the real world requirements for the breed or type of
performance class being entered. And, just like in those other shows, presentation also plays a major part. A
winning model horse will be in top-notch shape, with no noticeable scratches,
chips, or breaks. Its color will be bright, with little or no paint overspray
or other manufacturer's defects. It will also be set up well, with nothing
distracting the viewer from the illusion that the model is a "real" horse.
How are model horse shows held?
Live Shows most
closely match what you may have seen in "real" horse
shows. Participants pack up their models and bring them to a predetermined
location where they are placed in show rings and judged alongside their
is the biggest example of this, and many other live shows can be found
through the list found below. Model horses which have
earned a "NAN card" during the show year by placing 1st or 2nd in an
approved live show may enter the
North American Nationals (NAN) held in July of each year by North
American Model Horse Shows Association
photos below are courtesy of Jackie Moore/NAMHSA.org.
Live Show Etiquette (.pdf)
|NAN cards and
plaques and ribbons
Photo Shows allow
model horse owners from all over the world to compete against each other
without ever meeting face-to-face. A scene is set up that features the model
in either a natural or studio setting and a photo is taken. Photos can either be the traditional
paper pictures or, more frequently, digital photos. These photos are then submitted
to the show holder who uses these photos to judge how well each model
compares to its competition and to the requirements of the class. For more
information I suggest contacting
International Model Equine Hobbyist's Association, Inc. (IMEHA) or
Model Equine Photo Showers
How can original finish models compete? Aren't
they all the same? Yes and no. While it's true that there are
hundreds or thousands of any one model made, thanks to Breyer's hand painting no two are
exactly alike. Those that have good, even body coloring, finely done
detailing, smooth seams and straight, non-warped legs will do the best in the show ring.
Also very important is minimal to no overspray, or paint from one area that
has "leaked" over into another, such as when white paint from a mane covers
some of the body paint on the body. Any scratches or scuffs will
count heavily against a model (less so on very old "vintage" models), so it's best to bring
only your finest, most
mint condition models to a live show. For information on determining the
appropriate breed for your model, please see Breyer's excellent webpage,
Do Your Model
Horse Homework For Breed Assignment!.
How to I find model horse
shows to enter?
Web sites with lists of upcoming
Photo and/or Live Shows