It's a horse show all right — you can see the hustle and bustle of preparation, unloading, tacking up and the excited voices coming from all around. But where are the horses? Look, down there on the tables, hundreds of model horses in all colors, shapes and sizes! Standing about a foot high, and made of plastic, ceramic or resin. Here is a hobby open to horse lovers of all ages, where you can show, collect and photograph model horses.
Live model horse shows allow hobbyists to meet and exhibit their models in a wide variety of classes. The models are given names, and are dressed in scaled-down tack depending on the class. Models can be shown in every event imaginable to win ribbons and prizes.
When your class is called, place your model on the table, taking care to show its best side to the judge. The horses are judged on conformation, breed type and the condition of the model. A performance class is judged on how the tack fits, if the horse is doing the event correctly and the overall scene. Remember, realism is the key — using a doll rider or realistic background props help add to your model's presentation.
Feel free to look around and mingle; hobbyist are very friendly, and are always willing to help you or answer any questions you might have about the models. You'll get to see almost every breed of horse, in every color you could imagine, all in one place. There will be plenty of horses and tack to buy, and you also get to see what other people are doing with their models.
Watch how the horses are tacked up, and what scenes they are put in. Model presentations can be very elaborate — horses in the circus, horses pulling a stagecoach, even a rodeo scene with a cowboy on a bronco. Try to imagine an original scene using your very own models.
You can find out about live shows through your local model horse club, 4-H group or in model horse magazines. You might be able to find them on the Internet. Find a show that gives you the most classes for your money and register. You'll be sent a class list and a rule sheet, along with a list of events that will be taking place at the show. An entry fee is required, and you may have to list the horses that you are bringing.
If you've never shown before, you should enter novice classes, so you'll compete against others who are new to model showing. In this division, the judge helps you out a bit. She'll give you tips, and educate you about model classes. This makes novice classes a great learning environment. You'll find out what you did well, or what you need to do to improve your model's presentation.
If you cannot travel to a live show, you can participate in photo shows. Models are photographed up close and personal, making them look like the real thing. You need to build a small set, place a model in it and find the right angle through your camera to capture reality.
Halter pictures are the most common. They consist of the model with or without a halter in a natural setting. Try to make sure everything is in scale with your model, especially the background.
If you're entering a performance event, you can use saddles, bridles, cattle, jumps, barrels and dolls to add to the overall scene. After your pictures have been developed, send them, along with a small fee, to any one of hundreds of shows held all year across the country.