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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

It's Got Spots--What Do I Do?

By: The Researcher

So you’ve somehow ended up with a model, and it’s got spots. What do you do next? If it’s a dog, call it a Dalmatian and name it Pongo. If it’s a horse, you might be tempted to ID it as an Appaloosa and call it a day. But what if you don’t want a hundred Appaloosas running around your stable? Because admit it, Breyer and every other model horse manufacturer are addicted to spots, and somewhere along the line you might end up with more spotted stock horses than you bargained for. There might just be a better option.

Based on the model’s body type, you can narrow down your choices of possible breeds. From here on, I will break the sections into typical horse types. What I won’t do is give a thorough description of them—just go ahead and type the breed name into your browser and have fun exploring.

(To be clear, I refer to Appaloosa-type markings as spotted. Tobiano and overo are called pinto. Similar to the Paint/pinto conversation, I consider Appaloosa a breed, not a color.)

Let’s start with the big guys first. They’re pretty easy to tell apart from other horse breeds. If it’s huge and muscular, it’s probably a draft. (You weren’t really going to make a draft mold an Appaloosa, were you?)

Noriker-Pinzgauer: These heavy draught horses have light feathering, but they come in a beautiful array of patterns such as blankets, extensive blankets, leopard, tobiano and overo patterns, and even pintaloosa. However, gray is not accepted, so if you have a gray spotted model, you are out of luck on this one. Keep in mind these are moderately heavy drafts, so lighter than a Percheron. They generally have full tails, not docked.

A decent Pinzgauer, although notice his tail is shorter than typical. Blame the five year old with scissors ;)

Gypsy Vanner: What, these guys come spotted? Why, yes, they do! I’m not going to spill any of my researching finds in this article, but if you look hard enough, I’ll bet you can find a proper parent or two. They are short, thick, with lots of feathering, a full mane and tail, and come in a variety of colors. Think Winter, the Treasure Hunt.

Sugarbush Draft Horse: This is an endangered breed, but definitely deserves some attention! A wonderful website full of pictures can be found here: Try: Friesian. 


British Spotted Pony: These ponies can come in every variation of spots, such as few spot and snowflake. They come in miniature, riding or cob type, so perfect for capturing that ponyish model that doesn’t quite cut the other breeds. Try: Cantering Welsh Pony, Haflinger.

            Cayuse Indian Pony: Just how it sounds, this breed of horse has been around since the times of the wild west, although they are rare today. They were influenced by the Percheron and Spanish Barb breeds. Read an article about them here: Try: Indian Pony.

Falabella: Not to be mixed up with Shetlands or Miniature Horses, this small pony breed can come in spotted patterns as well. Schleich made a family set of these.

A leopard Schleich Falabella stallion

Miniature Horse: These hardy little ponies can come in both spotted and pintaloosa patterns. The American types look a lot like mini Arabians, so if you have a refined pony mold with spots, try here first!

Pony Of The Americas (POA): Another pretty popular breed in the model horse community, this is a great selection for a stocky/Arabian model that has some pony qualities. The registry is open, but spotted coloration is required.


Knastrup: A fairly popular breed, the Knabstrup has a good hold in the model horse community. 

A good representation for a Knabstrup.


Florida Cracker Horse: A small gaited saddle horse, they come in every horse color, although solid and gray are most common. It would be worth a try on the Breyer Classic Morgan stallion. Read more about them here:

Tiger Horse: A very solid, gaited breed. A very interesting website for them is here: Not only do they talk about the breed, but there is a discussion on how the different gaits bred down through the generations. Blankets, leopards and snowflake patterns are common. Try: Foundation Stallion.

Walkaloosa: Simply, an Appaloosa crossed with a naturally gaited breed. However, any gaited horse with a spotted coloring can be registered. This means many gaited molds would qualify.

A gaited spotted horse makes a great Walkaloosa.


Altai: I don’t know much about this breed, other than it is a very small, rugged breed that can come in leopard patterning. See the Wikipedia article here: Some decent pictures come up on the yahoo search for “Altai horse”.

American Bashkir Curly: Believe it or not, this interesting breed does come in spotted patterns. This might be a good idea for a flocky! Also, one of the brands, either Papo or Safari, made a Curly model.

Arapaloosa: Not to be undermined, this beautiful breed combines the gorgeous Arabian type with the flashy markings of Appaloosas. Best for models of Arabian type.

The dainty micro mini foal could make an Arapaloosa filly.

Nez Perce: Nowadays, the cross between an Appaloosa and an Akhal-Teke as part of a restoration effort to re-establish the horse culture of the Nez Perce tribes. They are long and lean, with spotted characteristics.

A passable Nez Perce.


            Colorado Ranger: This stocky breed comes in both blanket and leopard patterns. They cannot contain Paint blood or pinto markings, so pintaloosa won’t occur here. Although they share close bloodlines with Appaloosas, Rangerbreds have their own unique heritage. Try: Cody.

An Applaoosa? Sure. But why not a Colorado Ranger?

            Mustang: Yawn. If you want to fall into a large breed class, call your Appaloosa this and toss it in here.

            Brumby: In fact, spice it up a little and call it a wild horse from down under.

            Appaloosa: And finally, if worse comes to worse, you’ve got the standard Appaloosa. An easy breed to fall back on, if the model ‘demands’ it, or the creative juices just aren’t flowing.

I hope you now realize you have a lot more choices. I’m sure I have even missed a couple. Feel free to comment of any others you are aware of. Maybe next time when you pull a spotted model out of its box, you can get more creative!

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