The venue was familiar, the spectators were in their thousands, but there were no vet checks or cross country at this three day event, it’s Breyerfest 2011.
Every year in July Breyer® hosts the biggest celebration of equestrian real life and fantasy at the magnificent Kentucky Horse Park. This event is a bit of a mystery to us Aussies, and from a distance, one could be fooled into thinking it’s all about the plastic ponies but so I found out, that is the furthest thing from the truth! In its 22nd year, Breyerfest has become a northern hemisphere phenomenon, with loyal enthusiasts travelling from all over the world to attend these three full days of fun and festivities.
Every year boasts a new theme, and 2011 was ‘Fairytails’. The Fairy Tale influence flows throughout the whole event with the innovative and experienced organisers creating a magical environment for all patrons. There is much to do and see each day, with a large trade fair, model horse shows and seemingly endless amounts of live arena demonstrations. Organised workshops and activity stations are overflowing with participants. Creativity is strongly encouraged, with children and adults alike trying their hand at model horse customising, sculpting, scene creation and tack making.
Now, if Model Horse Showing is your thing, well Breyerfest would appear to be the Mothership. The program reads like any Royal Show with the majority of breed and performance classes covered.
Being a veteran eventer, and having never attended a model horse show, I was a little sceptical about what the possible attraction could be… I was filled with questions……
Did you travel your plastic ponies to the show in your Dually Horse float strapped to the back seat?
Do you tack them up at home before you go?
How many can you take to a show? My real horse limit was about 5.
Are there Post entries or can you enter on the day?
I don’t usually ever find myself rendered speechless, however within minutes of entering the Show Hall, I somewhat resembled one of the statues on the tables. After quickly gaining some composure and a few nudges from my group, I was off to find out why?
To my surprise, a large percentage of the competitors who I interviewed had their own ponies at home. They love this too, because you can do it in any weather, you can take up to 50 horses to a show at one time, they are much cheaper to feed, don’t make a mess, and my favourite answer, you can keep them in your bedroom. And that one came from an adult!
I hadn’t considered that Model Horses would require demountable stabling, however, as I was informed, “it’s a bit like Dominos when they go”, so protective fencing is a must to keep them in pristine condition. I also discovered it takes just as long to tack up a toy one, as it does a real one! We all know what is it like to wrap up one of our real ponies in cotton wool so they don’t get injured, well, the same applies here. The preferred methods of transport for these beloved collectible ponies (who all have names by the way) are quilted bags, bubble wrap and plastic or timber secure crates. A chip, scratch or as we know it, blemish, could definitely be the difference between winning and losing. It’s a bit like the Garryowen, just in miniature scale.
I seemed to be drawn to the Performance classes, where I found the most intricately accurate displays of real-life equestrian scenes: Cross Country Courses, Dressage Arenas, Trail Classes, Showjumping Courses, WOW! Then it started… gee, I’ve walked around Badminton so many times, surely I could build something impressive. I am now a proud owner of astro turf and a design for a cross country scene…
Could this be the most civilised horse event ever… It just might be!
Where is it? Breyerfest is held at the Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington Kentucky USA.
When is it? The next Breyerfest is July 20–22, 2012.
How do I get there: Either fly into LA or Dallas Fort Worth and connect through to Cincinnati. Lexington is about a 45 minute drive. Alternately, you can fly direct into Lexington Airport, however there are fewer flight options.
Where do I stay in Lexington: If you want to be right amongst it with all the collectors and showies, then definitely the Clarion Hotel Lexington. If you prefer a quieter scene, then the Embassy Suites Hotel. The Embassy Suites also runs its own Breyer Window Display Competition for guests, worth a visit.
What is next year’s theme? British Invasion
What should I pack? Kentucky in July can be very humid and afternoon storms can also occur. Pack comfortable ventilated shoes and many light changes of clothes, including a rain Jacket.
Do I need to book in to do workshops? Yes, Pre-Registration is required. See www.breyerhorses.com for more information.
What else is there to do in Lexington? Heaps… Kentucky is commonly known as the Horse Capital of the World and offers a huge variety of Stud and Bluegrass Farm Tours. Kentucky Horse Park is also the home of the The International Museum of the Horse. This amazing facility hosts the most engaging and educational equine exhibitions I have ever seen. Definitely a ‘must see’. The Horse Park also has daily live Breed and Champions shows together with hundreds of acres of beautiful parklands and stabling.
To start your own collection Breyer products are available from Horseland, Saddleworld and leading saddleries or view the range at www.toptac.com.au