'HORSE BIOS - P-Z
Phar Lap (which means Lightning) was the appropriately-named Thoroughbred racehorse that took Australia by storm! Born in 1926 in New Zealand, he went on to win 32 of his 35 starts, coming in second in two of the other three. His sudden death during a US visit at only six years old created controversy that continues to this day. In 2000, equine specialists concluded that he had died of acute bacterial gastroenteritis, while in 2006, Australian scientists determined he had died from a single, massive dose of arsenic, fanning the speculation that he'd been killed by American gangsters who didn't want the Melbourne Cup winner creating havoc with their bookies. In the short span of his life, he became an icon to Australian and New Zealand and is immortalized with a bronze statue near his birthplace.
20th Century Fox made a movie about this much-loved racing icon, and Breyer followed up with this Chris Hess sculpt in 1985. The mold wears a "20th Century Fox" stamp and no other mold marks. It was discontinued in this color in 1988.
Chris Hess's iconic Fighting Stallion mold was an apt choice to represent Poncho Rex, favorite mount of famous Western trick roper Montie Montana. Montie rode Poncho Rex to the top of the Empire State Building, and was riding him when he roped President Eisenhower during his inaugural parade.
[First photo sourced from Pinterest. Second photo credit: Museum of San Fernando Valley.]
Breyer's tribute model was made for the West Coast Model Horse Collectors Jamboree in 1999 only, and wears Rex's markings plus pinking on his shoulders and a beautiful, glossy finish.
Precipitado Sin Par was Breyer's Limited Edition back in 1987. This gorgeous tri-colored pinto Paso Fino was the son of El Pastor (the horse for whom this Breyer mold was made) and Marisol Sin Par. Born in 1976, "Cips" as he was known, stunned audiences with his brilliant coloring and beautiful carriage. He became the first horse to win the Paso Fino Owners and Breeders Association Championships twice when he won back-to-back titles in 1984 and 1985. It was fitting that Breyer made a tribute to him on his sire's mold.Rhapsody In Black is a well-known name in the Arabian world. She is by Thee Desparado (for whom Breyer made a portrait model a few years ago). Born in Texas in 1994, this beautiful lady was shown sparingly but has become one of the leading dams of winners for the breed. She became the first mare in history to have her offspring become champions in the Egyptian Breeders Challenge three consecutive years.
Rugged Painted Lark, son of famous Quarter Horse stallion Rugged Lark, is a handsome bay Paint whose talents match those of his sire. In a horsemanship display at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington, KY, in 2010, Lynn Palm showed off his versatility by performing Western, Dressage, and Jumping on Painted Rugged Lark - all without a bridle! He was an honored guest at Breyerfest 2007, and was this model was created as that year's Celebration Model. Only 5000 were made. It shows off his bold coloring and his cute star and snip.
The amazing Thoroughbred mare Ruffian was honored with this portrait model in 1977. Ruffian is remembered as one of the top Thoroughbred mares of all time. When she was entered in her first race, people laughed and called her "The Fat Filly." She changed their minds when she won that race by 15 lengths, tying the track record for that distance. She went on to win all ten of her starts. She lived a short but amazing life, ending with a tragic breakdown in a match race against Derby Winner Foolish Pleasure, a race she was winning at the time. Surgeons tried through the night to save her, but upon coming out of surgery, she tried to run and caused further damage to her leg, so she was humanely euthanized. She ended her life undefeated, and is remembered as much for her heart as her speed. This mold is a great tribute to such a mare.
This deep sorrel on the Gem Twist mold is a portrait of Sapphire, the Belgian Warmblood mare who was the long-time partner of rider McLain Ward. Together they were part of medal-winning teams at both the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, and the 2006 FEI World Equestrian Games in Germany.
Breyer's tribute to Sapphire shows off her neat, arrow-head blaze and two socks, along with her ermine spots and striped feet. It was produced from 2010-2012.
This girl is
Breyer Model #9107
Seabiscuit, the little bay Thoroughbred who surprised everyone by becoming a champion, was foaled in 1933. Showing little promise as a youngster, he was eventually sold for $8000 to Charles Howard, who saw the potential in him. With Red Pollard aboard and a new training schedule, Seabiscuit started his rags-to-riches story that has become the subject of several books and movies. He symbolized the struggles of the working man during the Post-Depression years, trying to get ahead in a tough world, and racing fans loved him! By the time he retired in 1940, following a serious injury and impressive comeback, he was the top money-earning Thoroughbred in history. He enjoyed seven years of retirement at stud before he passed away, having sired 108 foals.
Breyer licensed Maureen Love's Stablemate model in 1975, but it wasn't until the 2003 movie came out that Breyer gave him a portrait model on a Traditional mold. This release was discontinued in 2008.
The handsome and talented Seattle Slew was born in 1974 to a young stallion and maiden mare. As such, there wasn't much fanfare at his birth, but when he began racing, he got everyone's attention. He raced three times as a two-year-old, going undefeated and winning the Eclipse Award as best two-year-old in America. In his three-year-old year, Slew went into the Triple Crown races undefeated, and left as a Triple Crown winner - still undefeated! He was named the Eclipse Award winner for best three-year-old as well as Horse of the Year. As a four-year-old, he faced two potentially career-ending injuries, but came back from both, defeating the highest-caliber horses and winning his third Eclipse Award! After that resounding success, he was retired to stud, where he produced well over 100 stakes winners, insuring his legacy will live on forever.
Breyer's tribute to Slew ran from 2002-2006, and features his dark coffee-colored coat, solid face, and tiny white patch on the back of his left pastern. He was given a drape of roses, just like he wore after winning the Kentucky Derby.
Breyer Model #474
Ask anyone to name the world's most famous horse and the answer will most likely be Secretariat. His true story is still the stuff of legend. His astonishing 31-length victory in the Belmont Stakes, accomplished after winning the first two racing jewels in the Triple Crown, has yet to be repeated. In the Kentucky Derby, Secretariat set a speed record of 1:59 2/5, and he captured the Preakness Stake with ease, securing the Triple Crown win for 1973. Secretariat was the son of Bold Ruler out of Somethingroyal. Known as "Big Red", the large, beautifully conformed chestnut ran in the blue and white checkered colors of Meadow Stables. He made it on two "Athletes of the Century" lists for his accomplishments. It has recently been discovered that the secret to Big Red's success was his remarkable way of running, which is more like a dog than a typical horse. With his extremely flexible back and hindquarters, he could tuck and spring forward, resulting in two periods each stride where no feet were on the ground, as opposed to one, which is the norm. He was truly a remarkable athlete!
Breyer's portrait mold was sculpted by the just-as-iconic Chris Hess for the Artist's Series. It ran from 1987-1995.
The most famous son of Justin Morgan, Sherman Morgan sired Black Hawk, who became a foundation sire for the Standardbred, Tennessee Walking Horse and American Saddlebred breeds. More than just a fancy saddle horse, Sherman was famous for his trotting speed, holding speed records that went unbroken in his lifetime.
The original Sherman Morgan tribute model, sculpted by Jeanne Mellin Herrick, is this red chestnut with one right hind sock and a stripe. He was available only from 1987-1990, when damage to the production mold caused it to be discontinued. (It was later fixed with the addition of a different tail and is now back in use in different colors.)
Breyer Model #430
Nicknamed The California Comet, Silky Sullivan was a sorrel Thoroughbred famous for his come-from-behind racing style. He was born on February 28, 1955. Famous jockey Willie Shoemaker said of Silky Sullivan that you couldn't tell the horse how to race. You just sat there and waited for him to make his move, and when he did, "then you hold on for dear life." In one race, he was behind the leaders by 41 lengths, then ran the last quarter in 22 seconds, finishing with a win of three full lengths! He was known to be extraordinarily smart, and a gentleman as well, letting children walk under his belly and sit on him bareback. Silky Sullivan passed away in his sleep at age twenty-two and was buried at Golden Gate Fields (racetrack).
[Silky Sullivan celebrating his birthday at the races on St. Patrick's Day, with his owner Kjell Qvale. Photo source: wikipedia]
Breyer honored Silky Sullivan with a portrait model sculpted by Maureen Love in 1975. It was discontinued in his color in 1990.
Breyer Model #603
This rugged bay roan on the Roy mold is a portrait of Simba du Pont de Tournay (which translates as Simba from the bridge of Tournay), an Ardennes stallion currently standing stud in the US. The breed is rare even in their native Belgium, but it is believed there are fewer than 30 in the US currently. This handsome fellow is a great example of his breed, rugged and hardy, able to endure cold temperatures and hard work. They are often used for forestry work and other agricultural efforts. Simba is a bay roan with a little star.
The Breyer model wears his roan coloring, crescent-shaped star and tri-color eyes. He was only available to 3-day ticket holders at Breyerfest 2015. Only 6,504 were made.
The Smart Chic mold was the obvious choice to use as a portrait of his son Smart And Shiney. This handsome Palomino Quarter Horse, owned by famous musician Lyle Lovett, was the Celebration Model for Breyerfest 2013. He is done in a slightly metallic Palomino with four socks and a broad blaze. Several muzzle variations have been seen. Only 5000 were produced and "Breyerfest 2013" is printed on their bellies.
Stud Spider was bred and owned by actor James Brolin. He had a successful racing career in California and was honored with a Breyer portrait model on a brand-new mold in 1978. I believe it also marked the first time Breyer used masked Appy spots rather than splatter spots. He is a black blanket Appaloosa with large spots, a right front sock, and an "S" shaped star.
Breyer Model #66
Templado, who became world-famous as the star of the equine live performance show "Cavalia," started out as anything but a star. The Lusitano stallion was bred on a farm in Spain owned by the Delgado family and sold as a yearling. However, after three years, he was returned to the Delgados, who have a policy that allows buyers to return any horse if they aren't happy with him. Templado was a challenge to train, which is why he was returned, but his proud bearing and intelligence inspired trainer Frederic Pignon to learn new ways of training such horses... Training at liberty, which would become the basis of "Cavalia." Templado's performances in the show took them around the world and brought tears to many eyes, as his relationship with Frederic was evident during their performances.
Breyer honored Templado with a portrait model in 2005 on Kathleen Moody's Andalusian Stallion mold, which beautifully represents the fire and charisma of this talented stallion. The model was discontinued in 2008.
Theodore O'Connor was an amazing fellow. At only 13 -3/4 hands high, he was technically a pony, but this exceptional athlete competed - and won - at the highest levels in the eventing world. The handsome sorrel, whose breeding included Thoroughbred, Arabian, and Shetland Pony, rose in the ranks of the eventing world, beating much larger horses so often he earned the nickname "Super Pony." He came in third at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, which qualified him for the Pan Am Games. Amid a field of more experienced horses, Teddy astounded the world by taking home the Individual Gold Medal (as well as Team Gold)!
Breyer's tribute to Teddy was only a two-year release in 2008 & 2009, following his untimely death. Phar Lap was chosen as the mold for his portrait, which is perfect as it's often considered "small" compared to other Breyer Thoroughbred models. With Teddy's diamond-shaped star and eyes focused ahead on the next jump, it's a beautiful tribute to an incredible pony.
Topper: A pioneer of tv Westerns, actor Bill Boyd starred first as the character Hopalong Cassidy in feature length films. When "B" Westerns began going out of style, the forward-thinking Boyd realized they might have a future with tv, and bought the rights to the brand, a move that made him a millionaire when Hopalong Cassidy became the very first tv Western series. The character of Hopalong Cassidy was originally the star of books written by Clarence Mulford (who happened to live in Fryeburg, ME, just two towns north of us at Triple Mountain!). Mulvins set aside most of the profits from his books for charities.
Hopalong's horse is a large white fellow called Topper. Topper was known for being kind and patient, and remained Boyd's close companion throughout his life. Topper passed away in 1961 at age 26 and is buried respectfully at the Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park. When Topper died, Boyd said he'd never ride another horse - There was only one Topper.
Breyer included this iconic pair in their Hollywood Heroes series in 2003 and 2004.
This fellow is still attached in his original box with his VHS tape of the Hopalong movie "Renegade Trail." We slid the outer cover off to take photos for you without glare, then closed him back up again.
Breyer Model #1177
Touch of Class, known to friends as Miss Kitty, was a 16-hand bay Thoroughbred mare who showed the boys how it's done. Easily recognized by her dainty build, she was anything but dainty on the jumping course! After a brief, unspectacular career in racing, she was bought and trained as a show jumper and found her life's calling. She and her primary rider, Joseph Fargis, were on the Nation's Cup teams that brought home four big international wins around the world. They then qualified for the 1984 Olympics, becoming part of that year's "Dream Team," and making history. During the Olympics, Touch of Class became the first horse in history to jump two clear rounds, and ended with 90 of 91 jumps clear, bringing home two gold medals. Her performance earned her the title of USOC Female Equestrian Athlete of the Year... The first time that award had been bestowed on a non-human! She went on to have a successful breeding career as well, and was inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame in 2000.
[Touch of Class with Joe Fargis aboard; Photo credit Starstruckfarms.com]
Touch of Class was honored with a Breyer portrait sculpt in 1986, sculpted by the inequitable Chris Hess, as part of the Artist Series. She wears Miss Kitty's solid legs and stripe, and was discontinued in this color in 1988.
The Cleveland Bay is a heritage breed that's considered critically endangered by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy and the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. The Cleveland Bay is believed to have originated in northern England, where their strength, stamina and kind personalities made them marvelous coach horses that have been enjoyed by the Royal Family for over 200 years. Despite their attributes, the breed's numbers are dwindling. In 2005, when Journeyman attended BreyerFest, only 46 foals were born worldwide! Journeyman, known as "Joe," is a great representative of his breed, and was brought to the US to help increase awareness of this gorgeous breed. The dark bay stallion has won multiple championships, both in the US and UK.
[Tregoyd Journeyman - Photo from Pinterest]
Breyer honored Joe in 2006 with his very own mold. It was discontinued in his color after 2008.
One of the most famous and recognizable horses in history, Trigger was known as "the smartest horse in the movies." He was Roy Rogers' constant companion in life as well as in movies, for as long as he was able to safely travel and perform. Trigger not only starred in movies and the Roy Rogers Show on tv, he even had his own comic book series. He sired some beautiful horses, including Trigger Jr., who played Trigger in later movies after his dad had retired. When he passed away, Roy had him respectfully mounted so he could still visit with fans, and Roy himself mentioned more than once that he wished he could be mounted when he died, so he could join Trigger at their museum. Little known bit of trivia from Eleda: When I was in 6th Grade, we had to do one of those "Who's your hero" essays. I believe I was the only one in the school's history to make an animal the subject of that essay... Of course, my project was on Trigger!
Breyer's portrait model of this famous American Saddlebred was made from 2000-2006 as part of their Hollywood Horses series, and came with a VHS copy of the movie "The Golden Stallion."
One of the founding sires of the Appaloosa Sport Horse Association, Wap Spotted changed what everyone thought they new about Warmbloods. Also registered with the American Warmblood Society and Appaloosa Horse Club, this stunning stallion turned heads everywhere he went. He is now a legend in the sport horse world, with his name found in many champion pedigrees.
There's no doubt: Secretariat looks great as an Appaloosa Sport Horse! Done in the deep grey of Wap as a young adult, with tons of masked spots, he'll get as much attention in your collection as the real Wap got in the show ring. He was a 2-year release in 2000 and 2001.
Yellow Mount is easily the most famous American Paint Horse in history. Foaled in 1964, he became APHA's first Champion just two years later. This red dun pinto stallion excelled in everything! He was a 2-time APHA National Champ in Halter, Reserve National Champ in Western Pleasure, and held ROMs in Barrel Racing, Calf Roping, Racing, and Reining, along with points in Trail... Not to mention being named APHA Supreme Champion in 1970. He also won APHA National Champion Get of Sire a whopping 5 times and got the Reserve another 3 times! APHA made him their "poster boy," using prints of a painting of him by Orren Mixer in promotional material for the breed.
Breyer's tribute model ran from 1970-1987, showing off Yellow Mount's beautiful markings so well that the Adios mold is often referred to as Yellow Mount these days. One thing missing, though, on most of Breyer's renditions is a dorsal stripe, making him a sorrel pinto rather than a dun. Early versions show a white marking on his right foreleg which went missing in later models.
His is a name spoken with reverence in the Quarter Horse world, the Paint Horse world, and the Appaloosa world. Zippo Pine Bar, whose lot in life was supposed to be that of a "using horse" on a working cattle ranch, became a larger-than-life legend as the top AQHA sire for ten years straight. This handsome sorrel's name is now one of the most prolific in the Western breeds, with champion progeny in Western Pleasure, Halter and many other areas. Zippo lived happily to the age of 28 years old, and is now buried beneath the flagpole at the Perry Ranch.
Breyer honored him with this portrait model on a brand-new mold designed just for him. It ran from 1999 - 2006.