[Arabian halter by Jennifer Buxton]
I hope I didn't scare you with last weeks tips on Performance entries! You certainly don't have to show in Performance. Halter and Collectability are a much easier way to break into showing if you're new to the hobby.
This week we're asking our judge what she looks for when she's judging Halter classes so you'll get it "straight from the horse's mouth," so to speak!
Let's Meet Our Judge!
My name is Ashley and I'll be the Judge for "Headin' To The Mountains Spring Novice Show." I have been collecting model horses for 11 years, since 2008, and have been competing in live shows for 7 years, since 2012. My first live model horse show was the Breyerfest 2012 Youth Show where I found myself battling for the ribbons with 90 other entrants (talk about daunting!). I did very well, walking away with the Overall Grand Champion Halter title won by my glossy GG Valentine. Since then I've been hooked!
Although I'm no 'spring chicken' to the showing scene, I am relatively new to judging. My previous judging experience has included multiple online photo shows, Manchester Model Madness in 2015, and The Maine Event in 2018. I hope you'll be supportive of me as I am supportive of you in the fun, informative and positive environment of this show! I look forward to meeting you and sharing my knowledge of model horse showing to make this an experience to remember!
How Do You Judge Halter Classes?
First, can the model be a "real" horse? Does its anatomy allow it to transfer seamlessly into the motion and action of the real horses it's modeled after? (this is why some molds just don't place well, no matter what breed may be assigned to it. Breed cannot change model anatomy.)
Second, I'll look at the breed assigned in relation to the conformation of the model (this is where appropriate coat and eye coloration play a key role as well).
Finally, I'll consider the condition of the model (any scratches, rubs, missing areas of paint? How crisp are the model's white markings? How white are they? What about shading? etc.). Some of these aspects of halter showing are out of the showers' hands; however, you can do the following to be best prepared:
Choose the "best" of your collection to bring, those with the least flaws. And those that may have small flaws (like an ear tip rub or shiny mark) should be fixed as best you can before the show.
Above: Paint Horse Halter class at Breyerfest Open Show. That's a lot of competition! Notice - No horses wear halters.
What Tips Do You Have For Exhibitors?
Do the research required for good breed assignment and documentation. Look through breed books, websites, images, etc., to really compare the conformation of the breed to that of your model. It is especially important to keep the allotted colors in mind, just because your model has the conformation of an Andalusian doesn't make it so if the coat color isn't allowed within the breed standard/registry.
Make sure to bring a soft, small brush to dust of your model once they are placed on the table! This is where the scrutiny of condition plays a role and you wouldn't want your model to lose out of placing simply because you forgot to dust between his ears! Most showers will use a standard makeup brush.
Finally, be organized. Be prepared to know which horse is going in which class and have them ready to bring to the table. This is a practice show so you won't be rushed; however, in higher level shows the pace can be very fast and classes won't wait for you. In addition, being calm, cool, and collected can take a lot of the stress out of showing and make more room for the fun!
I would prefer models be shown without a halter unless it is part of the mold. This is standard in most open shows so that you almost never see a halter model wearing an actual halter. The only exceptions I can think of is an Arabian in an Arabian halter, a Thoroughbred in a leather halter (I think some CM TB's have been shown with halters in the past), and maybe like a Western show halter on a stock horse (Paint, QH, Appy). Should a halter be placed on the model a lead is not necessary since handlers are a no-no in halter classes.
So, even though we love seeing pictures of models in fancy halters, like the Arab at the top with a halter by Jennifer Buxton, at live shows models are generally shown naked. Why? A halter could potentially hide a condition issue, so they can make judges suspicious and look more closely at the horse's head. Also, if it's not the right style for the breed to show in, or doesn't fit the model well, it can actually cause your model to be marked down! So, unless you have a gorgeous halter that fits your model perfectly and adds to his beauty, you'll be better off showing him naked.
The "Other" Halter" Division:
Collectability Classes are my favorites in the show! This is a great opportunity to show off our treasures, see models we've never seen before, and even learn a little Breyer history! Collectability classes are where you show off your rarest or most valuable models, like Eleda's cherished Copenhagen Running Mare, shown here. Collectability is judged on:
Scarcity - How many were made? It may be a limited edition or perhaps a one-of-a-kind factory oddity. Or, it could be a model so old that few exist in good condition these days.
Desirability - Models on more sought-after molds usually place higher in Collectability, when all else is equal. We're basically looking at value, so a one-of-one hundred Pacer may not place as high as a one-of-one hundred Silver mold. Attractive coloring can also come into play as part of desirability, and can differentiate two of the same release.
Condition - Obviously, the better the model's condition is, the more likely he is to do well. However, in Collectability there is more leeway given on condition, depending on the other two factors above. A pretty, one-of-a-kind factory escapee Proud Arabian Stallion from the 1960s, for example, even with a chipped ear, could easily beat a mint condition one of 250 model on the same mold, because collectors would pay a higher price for the one-of-a-kind if it went up for sale.
How Do I Show in Collectability?
Collectability is shown naked - No tack is allowed unless it was part of the original release.
You need to Include a small card or paper that describes what makes this model special: Were only a small number made, is it a hard-to-find complete set, a variation, a test run, etc? Also site its source and year made, if known - Was it a Regular Run, a Special Run, a "factory mistake?"
Collectability entry at The Maine Event in 2018. This shows a complete, hard-to-find set of Alex and The Black Stallion with racing tack, rider, and even its original box, all in near Mint condition. Note the well-written documentation card.
[Candy, cards, and other objects were actually used as "ribbons" at that show, where everyone participated in judging. This set received two first place and three second place awards.]
Q & A from exhibitors:
Q: What Collectability class should Web Specials go into?
A: Since most Web Specials require you to be a club member to purchase them, they will go into #15: Connoisseur and Club Models
Q. What Collectability class should JAH Magazine mail-order SRs go into?
A. Since they were made in comparable paint quality and numbers to other single-source SRs, they'll go into #14: Single Source SRs
Q. Should I include a rider in my Performance entry?
A. Riders and handlers are optional in Performance. If you can position your human properly, he or she is in scale with your model, dressed correctly, and helps tell the story, include her! A rider or handler can help the judge really see what your horse is doing. However, if you're having problems getting the rider to stay in correct posture, leave her out, as she's part of the entry, and if she doesn't look right, it will detract from the whole entry. Practice the setup at home so you'll know whether she works in the entry or not. If not, you may need to use sticky wax to hold the reins in position in front of the saddle or make other adjustments, so practicing ahead of time will make showing a lot less stressful!
Q. I have a tippy horse that I'm afraid will fall over in the ring. What can I do?
A. We will have thin tablecloths on the ring tables, so you can't use anything sticky under his feet - When lifting your horse, you could accidentally tug the tablecloth and tip over others. The best thing to do for a tippy horse in Halter class is to lie him on his side on a soft cloth with his feet facing the edge of the table. You'll need to include a note stating that it's okay for the judge to pick him up to examine both sides.
In Performance, you can include a base under your entry, so you may stick him to the base using Museum Putty, sticky wax, etc., if needed to improve his stability.