Saturday, 13 January 2018

My Painting Routine

Settling down to paint is always a tough one, why do we always procrastinate so much when it comes to creativity? Or maybe that's just me. But I have developed a little routine for when I need to actually sit down and paint!

The first thing is to set up my laptop in an appropriate place if I need to use it to see the reference picture (aka on the corner of my desk). I always then put on either an audio book or some music (or I turn the radio on).

Next up I make sure I have my phone nearby and turn my time tracker on. Whilst I'm cleaning my airbrush or spraying through water/cleaner I usually like to use my phone to Instagram in progress pictures of the piece I'm working on.

Next up make sure I actually have what I need, do I have toilet roll? Do I have any pipettes or are they still drying (or did they dry like a month ago and I haven't put them away yet), have I actually prepped the model I am painting? Do I have all my reference ready?

Got everything?

O wait we forgot coffee. I always make a cup of coffee before I start painting! Well I have to have something to accidentally dip my brushes into instead of paint water don't I? (this is why I tend to keep the coffee mug next to my laptop on my work desk instead of my painting desk, it's also why I use a jar for my paint water, not that that helps).

Then we are finally ready to paint. The thing with painting is I do tend to procrastinate a bit with it. The only times I actually seem to want to paint are when I can't. I always feel really inspired after live shows but then I get home and I'm tired and then I go to work the next day and urgh inspiration over.

That's why horses such as this one, my NaMoPaiMo horse just sit there for years without any work being done on them!

Which is why I think NaMoPaiMo is such a great idea, it forces you to actually finish those things you've been planning to work on or putting off!

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I actually really like him primed, I kinda want a simple bone china one with no paint work, or only the harness painted. He looks like marble!

Friday, 12 January 2018

10 Model Horse Websites I Couldn't Live Without

What did we do before the internet? I don't remember...I think they had these things called books or something. Anyway we don't need those now do we :p Here is my list of ten model horse websites I literally couldn't survive without!

1. Identify Your Breyer


















Link: http://identifyyourbreyer.com/

I swear I must use this site about a million times a day, yes my brain is useless and forgets mould names ALL THE TIME. It's just invaluable and everytime I go on there I seem to find another model I want to add to my collection.

2. Equine Resin Directory




















Link: http://www.equineresindirectory.com/#search

This site is brilliant. It's great for idying resins of course and for eye candy but I also find it helpful if I want to search for a model of a specific breed. The breed search function is so handy! Great if you are after something really unique for your collection (or have just decided you really really really want a resin Dartmoor and want to know your options).

3. Facebook












Link: https://www.facebook.com/

OK so this isn't a model horse website but the model horse community is so strong on Facebook I couldn't imagine going back to the old ways of Yahoo groups and forums. Forums were amazing and I do miss them but having thousands of hobbyists friends across the world? That's pretty awesome too.

4. Strawberry Reef

























Link: http://www.strawberryreef.com/

As many of you know I do rather like My Little Ponies. Strawberry Reef is a brilliant reference site if you want to ID your MLP.

5. My Model Horse Database

















Link: http://mymhdb.com/www/main/index.php

Having an electronic catalogue of your models is so useful and I've found this site really easy to use. I am still working on transferring my whole there so if the computer dies again at least I have a backup!

6. Julip Identification
















Link: http://www.labratango.com/JulipID/Julipindex.html

I can never remember the names of Julip moulds and therefore find this site really useful.

7. Google Sheets













Link: https://www.google.co.uk/sheets/about/

Again this isn't a model horse website but it is invaluable when it comes to organising your models and accessing your spreadsheets at shows. You could also use something like OneDrive or DropBox or similar products.

8. Later















Link: https://later.com/

This is another one that isn't technically a model horse website but really useful for the hobbyist. You do have to pay a subscription but it allows you to upload and schedule posts from across your social media platforms, including Instagram

9. Model Horse Sales Pages












Link: http://www.modelhorsesalespages.com/

Where would we be without MH$P? Probably a lot richer...

10. eBay






















Link: https://www.ebay.com/

Again not a model horse site but one of the best places to buy and sell model horses.

Winston

The new Copperfox Shire has been released!

He will be available in plastic from October....that's soooooo long away....

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Thursday, 11 January 2018

2018 Model Horse Bucket List

This is kind of like goals but maybe a bit different. I've never thought of doing a model horse bucket list before but I definitely have loads of things I would like to do with model horses over my lifetime! But this is a list of things I would like to do this year.

1. Own a Copperfox Welsh

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Why do I not have one of these already? (actually I know why they didn't have any I liked when I went to a tour date). I am going to the Gloucestershire tour in February and plan to get a chestnut. I will own a Welsh!

2. Buy a grail

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I have a list of grail models and my aim for this year is to own one of them. Who wouldn't want to finally buy a grail model?

(and yes that is a Monty Python joke)

3. Run a house show

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I have wanted to do this for so long. So maybe when we move house I can finally do this and run my own little house show. Although if I could just own a house as big as the one above maybe it would be slightly larger :p Well a girl can dream!

4. Do some beach photography

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I need a beach and some model horses. I have done this before years ago with Crackers but I want to do a proper beach photoshoot!

5. Take Chestnut Ridge to a large event

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I planned on doing this last year but the Summer just ruined everything. So the aim for this year is to get Chestnut Ridge out and get a stall at a much larger event than the little village fetes and fairs we normally do.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Applying Your Real Horse Studying to Models

Many hobbyists may work in industries that have nothing to do with horses, some won't have ever ridden a real horse. But for some of us model horses go hand in hand with a career working with horses, a career that often involves a certain amount of studying.

That studying is invaluable when it comes to helping your model horse knowledge and vice versa! For those of us who have studied equine science at University one of the most valuable lessons was definitely dissection. Actually having the chance to see how the muscles and skeleton fit together on a real horse and understand the underlying structures is invaluable when it comes to judging a model horse. I would recommend everyone who judges or customises at least looks at drawings and diagrams of how the horse is made up, even if you don't want to look at pictures of (or even better see a real life) dissection. 

Knowledge on how to correctly fit tack is also so important. If you have ever studied for your BHS exams or Pony Club badges you will know that understanding how to fit tack is a vital part of this. This is so so so important when it comes to performance, both judging and showing. If you know how to fit a saddle to a real horse then you can easily tell whether the saddle correctly fits a model horse! The same goes for bridles and other bits of equipment too. All that time spent in Pony Club learning about how many fingers each thing should be from each part of the horse is invaluable, put those skills to good use when you are judging a performance class.

Carrying on with the performance idea we come to rider's position. If you've ever ridden you will have had various things shouted at you about potato sacks and slouching and shoulders back and other things. Now look at the doll on the horse. Would you shout at her? Are her heels down and her shoulder's back? Is there a straight line from ear, shoulder, hip and heel? Where is her knee? What length are her stirrups? Are they suitable jumping or dressage length? Are her thumbs on top and her hands holding the reins? (ok as far as is possible with badly behaved dolls).

Then comes the inspiration part. I always think I can use model horses to help me study and often have done. A friend of mine once completed a custom where she had painted all the muscles of the horse onto the model, Breyer also did a similar model year's ago. If you are having to learn the names of all the vertebrae or which tendons and ligaments go where why not help your revision by also creating a really cool custom? The same goes for other elements of learning as well. You could build the ideal stable environment, thinking about the bedding, fixtures, size and everything else that goes into the perfect stable. Or you could create a horse sick pasture with a warning about various types of dangerous plants, adding them all in in miniature? See how much inspiration you can get just from attempting to revise things? 

Other important things you'll learn that will help your performance involve how the horse moves and stride lengths. If you show jumping you'll know all about strides and pacing but it's amazing how many performance entries you see where the horse is just in completely the wrong place for the jump. Think about your model horse's stride and where you need to place them so they have the optimal take off for that jump. Each jump is different and will require a certain amount of height and width to clear it, all of that effects where you take off and where you land.

Finally, even if you've never studied anything to do with horses I would recommend that you get your paws on a Manual of Horsemanship. You really can't go wrong, not everything is strictly correct (just ignore everything about horse colour and go and buy something like the Equine Tapestry if you want to learn about that) but the basic information will help to give you inspiration and improve your in hand and performance judging/showing.

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Saturday, 6 January 2018

Relaxing from Model Horses

Model horses are supposed to be fun right? So why does it sometimes feel so stressful? As with any hobby model horses can consume your whole life if you let them, so here are some of my top tips to help you relax from model horses and take back control!

1. Stay organised

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It's really important whatever you are doing with your models that you stay organised, just like everything else in life. I always remember a teacher at school saying "I know if I just spent a few minutes tidying my desk at the end of each day it wouldn't get messy but instead I leave it for 2 months and then have to spend 4 hours doing it". The same goes for model horses.

Make a little time each day to keep on top of things and you won't feel so overwhelmed.

2. Take time off

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Make sure to take some time off from the hobby now and again. Utilise the winter break from showing to get organised. Having time off will also make you miss the bits about the hobby you love. If you think it's all getting too much then don't be afraid to walk away for a bit, there is no harm in having a break, we'll all still be here when you get back.

3. Stay away from Facebook drama

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OK so we all like to get the popcorn out occasionally but all that negativity can wear you down. This goes for most things in life really. If you have really negative people on your timeline then hide them, you'll feel a lot better for it and be able to focus on the positives.

4. Stay positive!

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Things aren't that bad and although sometimes crap happens and you have a bad day you'll also have loads of amazing times in the model horse hobby. If you are feel run down then focus on something positive and good. Constantly moaning won't get you anywhere and will just reinforce that negative mood! Maybe try out something new or read some funny blog posts, you could even create your own little photo story to amuse yourself and others.

5. Remember....it's a hobby!

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Model horses are not the be all and end all of everything and afterall it's just a bit of fun really (although some people may not make it feel that way). If it's making you stressed out then step back, re-evaluate and think about what you want. Try and identify the causes of those negative feelings and remove them. It may be putting away that stressful project, blocking that nasty Facebook person or taking a few months off from showing.

Top 10 Live Show Snacks

Mmmm snacks. We all need snacks to get us through a tough day of showing. Afterall isn't that what it's all about? Eating way too much cake? Remember, live show calories, just like service station calories, don't count!

1. Cake

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It is not a live show without cake! As show host you have a legal responsibility to ensure there is plenty of cake for me to eat. It's essential.

2. Energy drinks

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Yea yea I know they're bad for you but a little bit won't hurt will it? I seriously could not get through some shows without my red bull!

3. Crisps

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A pretty standard snack provided by most hosts raiding the multi-packs for the best flavours before they run out is essential! Beef and Onion anyone?

4. Tiny little brownie bites & similar

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You know those packets of tiny little yummy things you get from supermarkets and are usually on 3 for 2 or 3 for £10 or something. Yep I need those.

5. Sausage/Non Sausage Rolls

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No I'm not just adding this in because Brendon is a manager for Greggs! Bonus points if they are warm. Veggie alternatives are also welcome.

6. Curtis' grandma's coconut macaroon things

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OMG THESE WERE AMAZING! I could literally eat like a whole plate of them, I suspect I probably did (sorry guys)

7. Proper sandwiches

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Thick bread, lots of filling. Last year at BMECS I basically survived off buttered bread. You just can't go wrong with a proper sandwich.

8. Toasties from the place next to the Welsh show

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At one show last year I was ill. Proper ill. I would not have made it through if it had not been for the toasties from the place next door. All shows should have someone next door selling hot toasties!

9. Gingerbread

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Nom. Nom. Nom. The vegan gingerbread is equally as yummy.

10. Juice

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I honestly couldn't get through shows without my juice. Love my juice. Juice juice juice.