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History Of The Breyer Horse

By Jeffrey Rolo

The Breyer Molding Company created their first Breyer horse in 1950 as an adornment for clocks created by the Mastercrafter Clock Company; the mold was one of a standing horse suited in western gear. When the clock company was unable to pay for the molding expenses, Breyer elected to keep the mold and sell the horses as stand alone pieces. Naturally these horses sold very well and earned quite a name for themselves among horse lovers. New molds were created under the Breyer Animal Creations label and the rest became history.

In 1984 the Breyer company was purchased by Reeves International, a New Jersey based company. Luckily Reeves continued the fine Breyer tradition of quality instead of overhauling or changing the already winning formula.

Breyer headshot
Note the attention to detail - from the gradual color transition to the handpainted "whites" added to the eyes.
A Breyer horse model begins its "life" as a painstakingly sculpted clay model crafted by artists. The clay model is then used to create a steel mold. Cellulose acetate pellets (a hard plastic) are melted and injected into the steel molds under high pressure before being cooled and assembled. Finally, the horses are airbrushed and finishing touches such as "eye whites" and pink nostrils are applied by hand. Although the Breyer horse creation process is long and arduous, the end result is a model of superior quality.

Breyer may be best known for their model horses, but they do also create a variety of other animal molds, such as elk, dogs and deer.

Breyer model horses have a large and very passionate following – collectors all over the world enthusiastically scramble to add limited and annual editions to their collections. In fact their following is so great that Breyer/Reeves International puts out a bi-monthly magazine dedicated to model horses: Just A Horse magazine.

Collectors have formed Breyer-themed clubs to gather with likeminded individuals. In addition, there are annual gatherings and conventions that are centered around Breyer horses, probably the most grand of which is BreyerFest, held in Kentucky each summer. BreyerFest is a week-long event where people can meet some of the artists behind these collectible horses, watch live horse shows, see some of the real horses that inspired Breyer molds and much, much more.

Perhaps the best thing about Breyer horses is you do not have to be a collector to enjoy them. Unlike fragile collectibles, a Breyer is affordable and sturdy enough to serve as a toy, while detailed and remarkable enough to serve as a home decoration or collectible. So regardless of a horse lover’s purpose or need, chances are Breyer horses will make a welcome addition.

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