At Triple Mountain, we’ve known the terror that comes with the sound of pony dominoes and the heartbreak that often follows it. We’ve seen a few different attempts at preventing this over the years, but the best solution has come from Jeremy Bunn and his daughter Kristen of Washington state, USA. Triple Mountain is proud to now carry their Horse Racks!
You may have seen a similar-looking design elsewhere, but Horse Racks are custom designed specifically for model horse collectors BY model horse collectors. Each rack holds up to six horses and then folds down for easy transport to shows or storage when not in use. We invited Jeremy to tell us more about these horse-saving racks.
[Father-daughter manufacturing team Jeremy and Kristen from Horse Rack]
Hi Jeremy and Kristen! These are a great design. What's the story behind Horse Racks?
Kristen is an avid horse lover, model collector, and live show participant. Horses are always on her mind, it is a true passion. Kristen was warmly welcomed and mentored in the hobby by the great people in our local NAMHSA Region 1. Sadly, we had a domino event right on her birthday. Many prized models were damaged, it was heartbreaking. We decided something had to be done.
Our first prototype model horse racks were produced and used in April 2018 at the NWExpo live show. Experiments started, and we had many partial success, many failures. Hundreds of revisions and dozens of prototypes later, we had something that looked promising. Finally when her entire collection was protected, and we were confident in the solution, we decided to bring a few to a live show. They were received quite well, so we started selling on eBay.
Since then we have refined the design through more iterations, and made many production runs to get everything just right. All the while seeking to improve and incorporate feedback. In fact, we launched a version 2 to the public in 2019.
Wow, what a way to turn a sad birthday into something positive! Where are they made and what can you tell us about the design and material you've chosen for them?
Horse Racks are proudly made in the U.S.A using a variety of manufacturing techniques and people to keep up with the order volume. The rack material is environmentally-friendly PLA plastic. PLA is a non-toxic and biodegradable plastic made from plant-based materials. It’s not based on petroleum and requires less energy to produce. Even better, it’s compostable. The dye-free, soft tubing sleeve vinyl material is a non-toxic FDA-grade compound.
I love that you’re conscious about the materials you’re using and thinking about their lifespan after they’re no longer in use. I have to mention that our first order even arrived in a re-used box – Something we proudly do here at Triple Mountain, as well! You get a big cheer from us for that!
[Horse racks save you space while keeping your ponies safe! Here, a line of SMs are racked in front of a line of Traditionals, and no one is biting or kicking!]
From what I’ve seen, they fit just about every model (there are different rack sizes for different scales). Are there any Breyer models that don't work well in the racks?
Here are a few that are more challenging: Smarty Jones, Valegro and Bristol have challenging bases. They do fit, but are just not as ideal as other models.
That’s understandable. Happily, those bases usually help them better avoid being knocked over, so that leaves more space in the Horse Rack for more vulnerable models.
Have you gotten any good customer stories from someone who had a Horse Rack save a horse at a show or at home?
So many good stories! Actual earthquake survival events from customers in California, live show table bumps, shelves at home, models saved from cats on shelves. It feels incredibly good to know that they truly are making a difference.
The earthquake story is great and reveals how innovative people are in this hobby. The ends of the racks were secured to the shelf with putty or wax. All other models fell, only the HorseRack protected models stayed upright. Using wax on the ends of the rack was a great idea! Future versions of racks will integrate that concept of securing the ends to the shelf or table.
Live shows are a bit chaotic and fast paced at times. Things get bumped or knocked over when moving quickly between classes. Having models securely organized in a rack on a table helps!
That’s amazing, and it’s a great idea to give them that extra security of a bit of putty if you’re in a place where the whole rack could get shoved or jolted, like California. We sell Museum Putty for keeping models upright as well… It would be perfect to help stick a Horse Rack in place either at home or at a show, since it holds well and removes cleanly without damaging finishes.
How does Kristen feel about you joining the hobby by helping other collectors keep their horses safe?
She patiently teaches dad about colors, breeds, face markings, models, molds, special runs, scales, breeds. Even so, dad knows a fraction of what she does. It's safe to say, we will leave the live showing to Kristen ;-)
Great work, Kristen! Does she help with the business in any way?
Kristen is absolutely integral to the business. She is involved in design, manufacturing, order fulfillment, QA, packaging, patents and trademarks and managing our online presence, especially on instagram. The list goes on and on. It is a wonderful way to spend time together, learn and make memories, and great life experience for both of us. I cannot say enough how proud we are of her, and what a positive experience this has been. We are also grateful for help from her brother and Grandpa among others. It's definitely a family thing and everyone is learning. Truthfully, we spend the bulk of our free time together, 'doing racks' as we call it.
That’s wonderful! Is there anything else you'd like us to know about Horse Racks or any new items you may be planning for the future?
One concern in the summer is heat. It is best to treat the racks like a custom model: Don't leave them in a hot car. The material can deform.
Also, we run a very active HorseRack beta testers group, sponsor many live show raffles per year (contact us if you have a NAMSHA approved show), and try to be very social and engaged.
This feedback leads to new products and versions of existing products. We will be launching new products in time for BreyerFest 2020! Also, if Breyer approves, we will be making the epic journey to BreyerFest 2020 and have a vendor booth!
Speaking of feedback, we are grateful for the positive reviews on Amazon/Ebay/Etsy/Facebook. Buy with confidence, these are real reviews from real collectors!
So I guess in summary...
We are working hard to try and be the best option available for protecting model horses at shows and at home. We are excited to partner with Eleda and Triple Mountain, it's an honor for sure.
The honor is ours! We love that you two are taking a sad event and turning it into something that can help save protect other collectors’ horses. Even better, this is a great family business that you can all be proud of! I think these are a great investment for every collector – For about $2.50 per horse, the horses you keep in your Horse Racks will be protected from accidents forever. We call that cheap insurance! We will definitely be using these in our store for vintage models and showing them off at the events we host.