Breyer's Western Horse is its most recognizable mold, and its very first. Almost every collector has at least one, and many actively collect them, seeking out not only all the colors, but all the variations of color and tack styles. We'll be doing a special tribute to the Western Horse in June, with over 30 models going live over two Fridays during the month! (Click here to see the models when they are listed on June 1 and June15!)
Says Anni from Michigan:
I love the Breyer Western Horse tribute! My first Breyer was the Palomino Western Horse! Her name is Sugar and my Mom gave her to me while I was in the hospital fighting pneumonia. It was back in 1968 or 69. Sugar still stands proudly in my "Breyer Room" as the matriarch.
Eleda's first Western Horse also has a story:
I was a teenager, out on a camping trip with my older sister, and we decided to take a trip into town. We went into a little antique shop to see if there were any horses that needed a home, and she spotted a beat-up palomino Western Horse on a shelf - no saddle, no reins. I didn't collect the mold at the time, and it wasn't worth half what they were asking, but she was so excited that she had found me a Breyer that I bought him and let her name him for me. She passed away unexpectedly just a few years later, so "El Dorado" is a treasured member of my herd, holding a very special memory of my sister. He became the overseer of a growing conga of Western Horses and Ponies in my collection.
You may notice that one collector considers hers a mare while another considers hers to be male. In fact, the mold is genderless, lending it to whatever gender you wish to assign.
Take a trip with us through the history of Breyer's first animal mold and it's longest-running release. Changes to tack, colors, and even the mold itself make this a fascinating model to collect and a treat for Breyer history buffs.
Breyer began making Western Horses in 1950. These earliest horses were sold to MasterCrafter and mounted on bases with MasterCrafter clocks. Beginning in 1951, the horses were available for sale by themselves for the first time. That first year, a white horse and a palomino were offered, called "Western Mount Horses." Eventually that was shortened to Western Horses, and like all Breyer models, more colors were introduced over time, including a solid black, a black pinto, and a palomino pinto. The most popular of all, though, continued to be the palomino, who became Breyer's longest-running release, continuing for forty years, through 1991!
Every release that continues for a long period will experience changes over time, plus accidental variations. This is probably true nowhere more than with the Western Horse, since it was their first foray into animal molding. They had a lot of learning and refining to do, so collecting these guys is like taking a walk through Breyer history. The first mold by Breyer was a pretty close copy of the Hartland Western Horse. Before long, the mane on the Breyer was moved to the opposite side and the diamond conchos that copied Hartland were changed to round conchos.
In the beginning, Breyer also followed Hartland by using the same style reins. Known to collectors as O-link reins, they were made of what look like hand-made metal rings. In 1953 they changed to the twisted bracelet-link reins still in use today.