What is the hobby all about?

Why Collect Model Horses?

Why not? It's a hobby anyone can enjoy and get involved with. We all love horses and can't get enough of them! And for those of us who, for whatever reason, can't own a real horse these help us fill that void (and unlike real horses, they cost nothing to feed!!).


Model Horse collecting as a hobby has been in existence in the UK for well over 50 years!

There are no rules governing what you can and cannot collect: anything goes, from plastic toy horses to expensive sculptures.    

There are a number of manufacturers who produce a variety of models to suit all tastes and pockets, and many clubs and societies dedicated to helping you get the most out of collecting. They run various postal, photo and live events at which your model may compete for rosettes and other prizes. There are so many different aspects to the hobby that it's easy to get involved and have fun!

Model horse collecting can be a very creative hobby; you can reposition, repaint, and rehair your models, making a totally unique piece of work. You can create details for your models, including pedigrees, and keep records of their results at shows. Alternatively, you can just collect your models and keep them on shelves or in cabinets, the choice is yours. It can cost as little or as much as you wish to spend. The people involved are all friendly and helpful and many compete with, breed and judge real horses, so the hobby is not as unusual as it may first seem!

Models come in a range of materials and sizes, though at the beginning there were only a few makes available. The most recognised are Britains farm horses and their ridden mounts, Magpies or 'Dream Ponies' as they were first called, the ever popular Julips, Beswicks (though these were looked upon as the more expensive end of the market, and more of a collector's item), Sindy and Barbie horses, and of course the homemade wooden, handknitted, and Papier Mache models, and anything else in between.

From the 1980's, models made by an American company, Breyer, became available in this country. They have a large variety of models in various colours increasing the choice, and they continually produce new models again increasing the choice available. Hobbyists soon learned that they could customise these models by replacing their manes and tails, repositioning the heads and legs and repainting them to make a unique piece of work. This is now a popular aspect of the hobby.

Artist resin models of horses are now available, and are proving popular amongst showers, though this is not the whole picture of the hobby. Makes such as Leonardo, Border Fine Arts and North Light and Breyer are also still very popular, as well as other open and limited edition models that are produced by many artists and companies worldwide.


British collectors hold many shows throughout the UK each year. Some are 'Live shows' where hobby members gather together, usually in a village hall, or similar venue, with Ridden and In-hand classes just like a real horse show. Live shows give your models the opportunity to get out and compete in person, and they are a great way to make and meet friends as well as a great day out!
Some are Photo Show where you are required to send in a good clear photo of your model(s) to the Judge. These models are then judged as with real horses on conformation and Breed Type, as well as its 'way of going' and ability to perform in ridden events. 

You may even be lucky enough to win a rosette or trophy!

Above Photo is of the Supreme Show Champion at the MHU Live 2014
Photo by Amy Hougham

Here are some Links to Websites that you might find helpful when learning about the model horse hobby.

British Equine Collectors' Forum