Nostalgic Horizons: Why I’ve Started Collecting Breyer Horses
Posted on June 8, 2023 by Aywren
Long story short, I’ve jumped into the world of collecting Breyer horses feet-first. And, oh, what a rabbit hole this ended up being. A delightful one, I assure you.
In a time when so many of my “collections” are digital – be it games in my backlog, collections in games, Steam achievements, those sorts of things – I’ve been itching to work on a collection that’s more… tangible. I thought through several possibilities, but I needed something that:
- Wouldn’t take up tons of space
- Had a sense of vintage collectability but was still relevant today
- Wouldn’t break the bank
- Had a community built around it
- Was something relevant to things I already love
Turns out, Breyer horses check all those boxes.
How Did This Begin?
Time for a story of the past! Let’s jump back to the early 1990s!
I learned the excitement-of-the-hunt from my dad, who passed away this past December. So, some of this is kinda in memory of him.
He was always big into collecting something – sports cards, model cars, memorabilia… He left all this behind when he died (which is a rather sobering thought). But he also left behind memories that I associate with a better time.
Because many of the things my dad liked to collect led him to places like toy stores, pawn shops or flea markets, he’d often take my sister and myself along with him. While he poked around for new model race cars, I would head straight to the video game section of Toys R Us (I now wish the store was still here so I could shop for Breyers). It was fun to see him excited about finding something new, not to mention just fun to go to toy stores as a kid, of course.
Growing up, I never owned a single Breyer horse. I had friends who did. But to me, Breyers were those expensive horse models – though very cool – and not something I ever considered asking my parents for. Maybe if I’d spoke my interest in them, I would have received one, but that’s neither here nor there.
One day, when I was in my young teens, I was with my dad as we were doing a collectable day trip. We stopped by a rather colorful toy shop in a mall – I believe this was in Columbia (big city for a kid like me). And there, I experienced something that collectors like to call seeing a “holy grail.”
I remember the big glass case. I stared at him longingly because I’d never seen, and didn’t expect to see, a BIG model replica of The Black Stallion – one of my childhood horse heroes. I’d read so many of the books (I still own a box set somewhere), watched the show, watched all the movies.
I was so struck by that model horse all those years ago that I still remember seeing it. I don’t know if it was a Breyer – I didn’t think to look at the time – but knowing that Breyer has made at least 4 versions of The Black, therefore, I’m going to assume it was.
If it was a Breyer model, as I suspect, it would have been this one:
This model was based around The Black Stallion Returns and was produced from 1983-1993, which puts it in the right time bracket as that shopping day. It may be not as impressive as some of the newer models, but to a kid like me, it was incredible.
And, no. I didn’t get to take that model home.
Where Did That Lead?
Anyhow, fast forward to last weekend. Actually, to last year in general.
I’ve been thinking about nostalgic topics from time to time, such as toys I loved when I was a kid. Not going to list these here, but I’ve been on the search for a lot of weird random things. Somewhere down the line, the memory of this horse model crossed my mind.
I did try to look the model up a few times in the past, but got confused because there were so many different versions of The Black. I left it alone for a while, and it wasn’t until this past weekend when I really sat down to look into it (don’t remember what triggered this).
Breyer horses have been around since 1950. They’ve got a massive history of vintage models and a very active community centered around new releases as well. As I noted before, stepping into this world was not just engaging, but an eye-opening look at collectable history I never knew existed.
I love that, for example, the most reliable source of information is a webpage created and run by collectors – Identify Your Breyer.
It feels at once very old-skool Internet, and just super fitting.
It’s interesting that Breyer folks don’t congregate so much in places such as Reddit. They have stayed true to forums, small sites, and Facebook groups, it seems. I haven’t looked for a Discord or any such thing yet, however.
I really wanted to introduce my first few horses in my collection in this post – yes, they’ve begun to arrive! – but it seems this has gotten long enough already! So look for a proper introduction next time!
Thanks for reading about my flights of fancy!