Breyer Connoisseur Spot On

Breyer Connoisseur Spot On

The latest Breyer Connoisseur model is Spot On, an appaloosa mare based on the popular Bet Yer Blue Boons mold.  Bet Yer Blue Boons has proven to be incredibly popular with collectors and the "general public" alike, and the buzz is already building for Spot On.  Is this going to be Breyer's first big hit of the decade?

Bet Yer Blue Boons is one of Breyer's newer models, and is really quite lovely all on her own.  One interesting change which Breyer made for Spot On is to give her a braided mane and - if my squinting eye is any judge - a braided tail.  The appaloosa work is as lovely as always, and she apparently has white sclera (eye whites), and striped hooves which don't show up well in the photograph.

One thing that always occurs to me whenever I see an appaloosa Breyer (and they are rather common, between the striking patterns and all the possible color variations) is appaloosa blindness.  This is a relatively unknown condition, which is a pity, because it causes blindness in a lot of otherwise perfect appaloosa horses.

Blindness in appaloosas is caused by uveitis, which is a bacterial infection.  Appaloosas are eight times more likely to develop this infection than all other horse breeds combined.  Furthermore, appaloosas are four times more likely to develop blindness from it.

The mystery is why appaloosas are more likely to develop this infection.  Appaloosa blindness is not a genetic condition per se, but it is certainly related to their genes in some way.  Like many other narrowly defined breeds, the appaloosa has a relatively small gene pool, which can highlight genetic problems.

It's therefore all the more troubling that so many appaloosa breeders strive to keep this information quiet.  The responsible thing to do is to publicize the problem, so that the genetic link can be found, and the disease can be bred out of the breed.  If you are already the owner of an appaloosa, the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists encourages you to register your horse with the Equine Eye Registration Foundation, which is helping to gather data on this problem.

The Breyer Connoisseur models are difficult to obtain to begin with.  Setting the bar high always helps with a model's collectability!  In order to get a Breyer Connoisseur you have to be subscribed to their Just About Horses (JAH) magazine.  In the magazine you will find a card.  Fill out the postcard and mail it into Breyer headquarters.  If your card is drawn, you then have the opportunity to buy the model.  Most of the models have been over $200, and Spot On will likely be no exception.

Past Breyer Connoisseur models have had a brisk aftermarket trade.  Many people send in their cards, and offer their model for pre-sale if they are selected as a winner.  You can make a quick $20 or $30 this way, as well as making another Breyer collector very happy!  If you are at all inclined to sell and trade models, and you are subscribed to JAH, then I always suggest that you mail in your card.  If they draw your name and you change your mind, it's no problem - they just go to the next person on the list.