Breeding Model Horses for the Beginner
By Samantha Kroese
I know when I was new to the hobby and I first found out about breeding model horses I was very excited but I wasn’t certain how to go about it. I’ve been asked a lot by new hobbiests about it so I decided to try to simplify it for them in an article.
Obviously plastic horses can’t really breed.
Lately a lot of people have gone over to using ‘pedigree assignment’ to describe model horse breeding more accurately. Basically what you are going to do is assign a pedigree to your model. You can then offer to have a sire/dam list so people can request to use your models for parents.
I’m going to assume you already have a model horse if you’re interested in this. The first thing you need to do is figure out what color, breed, age and gender you want your horse to have. Oh and a name for your model though some people wait to use parts of the parent’s names for their name.
You can either have your horse non-aging which means it never ages it’s always a set age or you can have it aging where you assign a year of birth and it gets older every year. There are good and bad things about both it’s up to you which you’re comfortable with. I personally made the decision that my horses always look a set age to me so I use non-aging. If you do this your model never gets old. Eventually though your pedigree you assign will out-age your model so you may have to update it in 20-30 years.
Aging is different. Your horse always gets older so you either use a year to indicate their age or you have to update it every year when it changes. They also grow old to the point they ‘die’. Most hobbiests then make the model a foal of the old version and let the old version ‘die’.
Color is important. You will need to pick parents that can produce your model’s color. There are a lot of color genetic articles on the internet but the best and easiest way for a new hobbiest to figure it out is this: Always have one parent the color your horse is. That way you know for sure the genes are there to pass on. Also pay attention to markings. While not much is known about how exactly markings pass on sometimes if you have solid parents all their foals will be solid, or if the parents have high markings the foals usually get that too. So it’s something to keep in mind. Not saying it never happens the other way but for a new starting out person it’s easiest to just pick parents with similar markings. Sometimes Breyer makes ‘weird’ non-realistic colors. In that case just pick the closest you can to a real color.
Breed is also important. This is going to affect not only how your horse shows but if people will approve it for breedings. So do a little research and make sure you have the right breed for your model. Also make sure the breed comes in the color you want. Sometimes they don’t. Like Arabians and Clydesdales don’t come in palomino for instance.
When you’ve decided on a breed, color, age and gender and possibly a name for your model (I do recommend NOT using the name Breyer or whatever company gave to it, it’s more fun to come up with your own!); then you’re ready to find a pedigree.
The easiest way for a new person to do this is use parents on someone’s sire and dam list. If you use someone else’s parents they’re going to send you a pedigree and you’ll have one pretty easily. ALWAYS ask permission and follow the rules for that stable though. Never use horses without permission!
So you’re going to look on people’s lists and find parents that are close to what your horse is. You need the same breed/colors to start. At least one parent needs to be the same color as your model.
When you find two parents you want to use read the person’s rules then send them a breeding request. And they’ll in turn send you a pedigree/breeding certificate. What’s on these varies greatly from stable to stable but most often at least the very basic information on the foal, parents, and the pedigree is listed.
If you want to use real horses it’s a bit trickier. You need to find real horses that are the same breed/color. Then you have to find out if they were breeding the year your foal was born (because people will be picky about it if they weren’t). On asking permission from real horse owners: I don’t normally. You can have mixed results. Most real horse owners I have contacted have told me not to bother them with my make believe. Some real horse owners are thrilled you liked their horse enough to want to use it for a parent though. So it’s really up to you.
I usually pick horses old enough be to deceased to avoid problems with real horse owners. A lot of real horse owners panic and don’t understand what model horse breeding is and/or don’t want their horse used for model horse breeding for whatever reason. If you still want to use real horses I always try to use popular ones that were bred a lot because sometimes the smaller farms with the real horses with unique names will search the internet and send you nasty letters if they find their horse on your website.
If you want to use the real horse just write down the information on the pedigree. Normally names and whether they are real is the most basic pedigree info people want. Most people also like to have years of birth and colors listed for the real horses. I don’t personally do this very often because my pedigree form I send out doesn’t have room for all that. Some people send out pages and pages of information. For those starting out I suggest requesting breedings from several different stables and see how they do theirs and deciding what you like/don’t like and going from there to build your own pedigrees to send to people if you decide to offer yours for parents.
If you want to offer your horses for parents once they have pedigrees it’s pretty simple. Just make a list of your horses that includes name, parents, age, color, gender. Most people include what kind of model it is too so people know. Then decide how old your horse was when it started breeding (typical is 3-4 for a stallion, 4-5 for a mare).
A lot of people stick to the mare can only have one foal a year rule. There is also in the real horse world Embryo Transfer which allows mares to have multiple foals per year if you want to go that way but some breeds do restrict it.