Category Archives: News

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop

My name is Leah, and I am a performance addict.

Through February and March I was busy working through my to-do list of things to get in time for Breyerwest. Barely a week after, and I find myself back in the studio.

pre-breyerwest desk

My studio, mid February

post breyerwest desk

My studio, today

I’m back, exhilarated by my success and excited to be working on tweaks and improvements for my next show.

The two major differences in the photos above are my shiny new ribbons, and a beautiful new horse.

If you read Jennifer Buxton’s blog (who doesn’t!) then you’ll know that I was very successful in the performance division on Breyerwest. It’s the best I’ve ever done at a show, and I’m honestly still kind of in shock. My sectional champ ribbons are hanging proudly above my studio, while the overall reserve and overall grand ribbons- which are too long for the studio- are in the utility room, making me happy every time I go in there for laundry or hobby supplies.

PHF Richard Squared, Overall Reserve Champion. Photo by Jennifer Buxton.

PHF Richard Squared, Overall Reserve Champion. Photo by Jennifer Buxton.

Showing performance is a blast. I’m proud to say that at least one of my new hobby friends has been convinced to try it. I’m excited for Anna Helt (nee Kirby) who posted on Facebook that she is prepping for her (first?) foray into performance showing, after years of making the hands down best stablemate tack in the hobby.

Showing performance is fun, challenging, rewarding. I love the prep work, the planning, the details, the research, the precision. Sometimes I think about my setups while I’m going to sleep or stretching or driving. I’m an addict… and very happily so!

Four and a half weeks to my next show!

It’s Finally Here! Breyerwest!

Hurrah hurrah, the long weeks of anticipation are over! In a few short hours I will pick up Jennifer at the airport and we will head down to Albany Oregon for Breyerwest 2016!

While Erin has been working tirelessly on event logistics and Jen has been creating hundreds of halters, I’ve been focused on finishing a new performance horse and the accessories she needs.

My Breyerwest to-do list

My Breyerwest to-do list

This weekend is jam packed with excitement. Today I get to meet one of my hobby heroes, Jennifer Buxton. Tomorrow is the Open Show which I’ve been working towards for months. And Saturday I get to judge the OF Halter division for the youth/novice show! So much to look forward to!

To those of you who are coming- please be sure to take a moment this weekend and thank the show planner, Erin, for all her hard work. Planning Breyerwest is a huge job, and she is poured countless hours and piles of energy into making this a fantastic event. This weekend would not be happening without her dedicated volunteer work.

See you soon!

‘West & ‘Fest

2016 is going to be a big year for me, hobby wise. Through luck, circumstance, and a bit of cajoling, I am planning to attend Breyerfest and NAN in July. And because that’s not scary enough, I’m also attending Breyerwest in March.

Breyerwest is something like a scaled down Breyerfest, which takes place on the west coast. It’s a way for hobbyists who can’t regularly travel to Kentucky to get a similarly awesome event. Breyerwest hasn’t been held in a few years, but I’m hoping that if this year goes well it will become a regular thing. I’m very lucky to have Breyerwest happening less than two hours away. Like ‘Fest, ‘West is going to have live shows, demonstrations, seminars, equine guests, and more!

Champion pony Smokin' Double Dutch will be there!

Champion pony Smokin’ Double Dutch will be there!

I’m excited and also apprehensive about these big plans. These will be the biggest three live shows I’ve ever been to, with some seriously tough competition. I’ve got a mighty to-do list organized by task and priority to guide me through the preparation and hopefully maintain some sanity.

One of the things I’m looking forward to most about these events is visiting with hobbyists. I’ll get to spend lots of time with some of my favorite people, and I’ll finally get to meet folks who’ve I’ve only talked to online. Give me a shout if you’re planning to attend!

Tea Time

I’m not really one for New Years resolutions, but I really would like to be blogging more. I’d love to get to a point where I’m posting a few times a month, instead of the current sorry state of a few times a year.

It’s not that I haven’t been active in the hobby- I’ve been showing, customizing, and following my favorite hobby blogs. I have things to share… I just need to share them.

Last night I snuck in a bit of customizing amidst the holiday busyness. Erin had just given me a stupendous unicorn mug and I was very pleased to be drinking my evening tea out of it while building a neck for my next performance horse.

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Isn’t the mug delightful? It’s a stunning example of equine anatomy.

Necks are always a pain to get right, and I was holding up my horse pieces and squinting at my reference… and the inevitable happened.

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I was so stunned that for a few moments I just sort of stared at my tea. I briefly considered fishing the head out with a sculpting tool (they were near at hand) but I figured that a spoon would be cleaner and easier.

The head was rescued and is now securely attached. And I learned an important lesson about holding small plastic bits over vats of heated liquid.

Breyerfest Custom Contest

I’ve never been more invested in Breyerfest than this year. Not only have I been helping Erin ready her performance entries for the live show (and making some last minute props!), but I also have a model of my own attending and competing! My horse Nightfox was chosen as a finalist in Breyer’s Custom Contest!

Breyer announced this contest in mid May, and (with a little encouragement) I set to work finalizing some details so I could enter Nightfox in the Performance Excellence division.

Rose City Live 2013

Rose City Live 2013

As someone who makes all my own customs, tack, props, etc., it’s wonderful to have Breyer host a contest where individuals enter horses of their own creation. I take a lot of pride in my DIY approach to the hobby, and it’s very rewarding to have it recognized.

All of the contest finalists in each division will be on display at Breyerfest from Thursday afternoon through Saturday night in the Artisan’s Gallery. Since I’m not attending, Erin will be setting up my scene (and thus making her first foray into mini performance!)

Sweet Onion Live 2014

Sweet Onion Live 2014

Thank you to Breyer for holding this contest and the judges for donating their time. I’m so honored to have been chosen and excited to have my work on display at the model horse event of the year. It’s my own little Armchair Breyerfest!

Are you going to Breyerfest this year? Send me a picture of yourself with my entry! It would totally make my day :D

Seeing Other Mediums

When I starting working on models back in 2009, I immediately latched onto pastels as my medium of choice. I had found a good tutorial online, and pastel supplies were affordable and readily available. The ease of blending was also extremely appealing to someone just starting out.

Two of my pastelled horses winning 1st and 2nd in Appaloosa Workmanship at NW Congress 2012

Two of my pastelled horses winning 1st and 2nd in Appaloosa Workmanship at NW Congress 2012

As I did more and more horses (and started trying more complex or nuanced colors) I did find some downsides to pastels. For one, the dust gets everywhere. You can only do a bit of work at a time between coats of sealer, and graininess can be an issue. Perhaps most importantly, pastels are not terribly forgiving- if you go too dark, or too orange, or get a dark mark somewhere that’s suppose to be light, it’s pretty pesky to turn things around.

Complaints aside, I really do like working with pastels. But after watching my friend Tracy paint in oils, and seeing the incredible, luminous horses she made, I was eager to try it out myself.

ES Norman - Vertical Limit AR painted by Tracy Eilers - owned by Erin Corbett

ES Norman – Vertical Limit AR painted by Tracy Eilers – owned by Erin Corbett

I’m very lucky that Tracy lives nearby and was willing to give me a lesson. It was so amazingly helpful to watch her paint and have her walk me through the basics. She also lent me her rare copy of Carol William’s Color Formulas and Techniques to study up beforehand.

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I am really, really excited about oils. I love how long you can work with them, so you can keep tweaking things til they’re just right. Perhaps the coolest thing about oils- especially coming from pastels- is that you can add and change colors easily, and even go from dark to light. It makes adjusting colors and shading ten times easier.

Oil paints may seem intimidating, especially since they require a bit of investment to get started. But they’re a great medium, and really wonderful to work with. I did not hesitate to purchase my own supplies. I spent about $120 for my basic paints, 7 brushes, brush cleaner, palette knife, and drier. Considering how lovely the horses turn out and how long those items will last me, it is well worth it.

Doodlebug in his base coat

Doodlebug in his base coat

The downside to oils is how long the coats take to dry (even with additional drier). It’s very worth it, but patience is not my strong suit. I am eager to keep working on the horses in progress, and start a few more! I don’t intend to stop using pastels by any means, but I love having this new medium in my arsenal!

Pick a Pinto

I have a number of horses that are nearly ready to be painted. Most of them already have colors, but the choice for my CM Poquito is still up in the air.

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I need some help! I posted my top six choices below. The references are mostly for the pattern- I’ll likely be doing a chestnut body color. Help me out- what’s your favorite?

#1 – speckled medicine hat

1 - speckled medicine hat

#2 – extreme medicine hate

2 - extreme medicine hat

#3 – roany overo

3- roany overo

#4 – spotty overo

4 - spotty overo

#5 – oreo splash

5 - oreo splash

#6 – belly splash

6 - belly splash

What do you think? Vote for your favorite below!