Disclaimer: This web page will address informal model horse racing as opposed to simulated model horse racing. These are two very different animals! To learn about simulated (aka realistic) racing, see the below links. [end of butt covering message]
Did you realize you can race your Breyer horses without them ever leaving the shelf? In fact, you can race them without them ever even moving! If you know how to photo show, race meets will be a snap. If you are unfamiliar with showing, no problem! “Racing” is easy. Trust me.
Imagine a real race track. You have a couple of dollars and want to place a bet. You do not have a racing program or any information about the horses in the next race. There is such a crowd that you can not even see them. So, you go up to the window and randomly pick a horse to bet on. “Judging” a model race is kind of like the above example. It does not matter what the horse’s pedigree is or how (s)he did in previous races. The judge just picks one by rolling a dice or drawing cards out of a hat. When you enter a race meet, it is like buying a lottery ticket. Each of the model horses that you enter stands as much of a chance as the next.
Why do people race models? It’s fun! You get to meet new people that enjoy model horses as much as you do. Your models will seem more like real horses when they have race records. You will get more mail and have a new way to win a few prizes with your horses (especially if you can not take stellar photos).
So, how’s it done? It is simple. You compile information on a 3×5 index card for each model. You find a race meet and read the rules. With a pencil, write the races your model is to be entered in on the card. Send the index cards to the race holder (the judge) along with the entry fee, return postage, and a large self-addressed envelope. The entry fee is almost always under $5 (usually it is $1-$3 for unlimited entries). The entry fee will be used by the judge to purchase prizes or donated to a charity if the race is a benefit. The return envelope will be used to mail the index cards back to you along with the results (usually several pages) and any smaller awards. It should preferably be large and manila. Some race holders may ask you to pay the postage of all prizes, but this should be stated in the rules (so make sure you read them!). Each race will have different required information, but almost all will need: the model’s name, age/year born, breed, color, and race record (if it has one). Below is a discussion of items you may want to include on each of your index cards.
- Your Name and Address- This is probably the most important!
- Horse’s Name- This is the name YOU give to the horse. Try to avoid common Breyer names like Misty, Sham, Black Beauty, etc.
- Breed- This is the breed of horse you feel the model best represents. Most people use the breed that the model was designated by Breyer to be, but you don’t have to! If it looks more like a mustang than a quarter horse, the feel free to call it a mustang!
- Age/Year Born- This is the age (if your horse is non-aging) or year foaled (if you choose to give you horse a birthdate) that you give the model. If it looks like a 15 year old horse, then call it a 15 year old horse.
- Sire & Dam- This is usually optional information. Read about pedigree assignment (“breeding”) for more information.
- Race Record- Once you start racing, you may want to keep track of the number of races your model wins, places, or shows in. You may also want to keep track of the imaginary purses your model wins (if the race offers them). Purses are NOT real. Write the race record in pencil so it can easily be updated.
- Identifying Mark- A sticker, stamp, colored dot, or drawing you put on all your cards so that the judge can sort them faster after race meet.
- Races Entered- Place these in numerical order. Use dashes in-between the numbers and write neatly. Use pencil so that you can erase them and use the card over again.
Now you know how to race plastic* “toy” horses! To find a race meet, look in model horse publications, on Equinet, ask around, or contact a club. Be sure to mail your entries at least a week before the race (the earlier, the better). Including a note that reveals everything you have sent, what it is for, and where to find it is extremely helpful to the race holder. Be sure to follow all directions and rules on the list of races! Good luck and may your models win many races!
* Note: You can race any brand or type of model. However, avoid making up fictitious horses. This is considered unacceptable.