A friend sent me a link to this new fellow, and I think you'll agree he is really outstanding! This is a Breyer special, exclusive to the North American Model Horse Shows Association 15th anniversary benefit auction. Krustallos is a dapple gray variation on the Nokota Horse model, which has been very popular with both collectors and Breyer fans.
Krustallos (his name is Greek for "crystal," which is the traditional 15th anniversary gift - very clever naming) is hand decorated, with really wonderful dapples and mapping on his facial marks. "Mapping" refers to when a white mark (like Krustallos' snip and star) has a border of roan or gray flecked hairs.
A quick aside: when I was researching Krustallos' color, I ran across a mention of dapples that can occur independent of the gray gene. Dappling can happen in any coat color, if the horse is in particularly good condition (or slightly overweight). I found a great picture of these "bloom dapples" on a bay horse here. I wonder if Breyer would ever try releasing a model with bloom dapples? At the risk of confusing a lot of people, they ARE really pretty, and indicative of a horse in great shape!
NAMHSA is an organization which supports the model horse hobby, and which sponsors model horse shows across the country. They also hold their own model horse show, the North American Nationals (NAN) model horse show, which is being held this year in Lexington, Kentucky from July 20th to the 22nd.
Just as with the owners of flesh and blood horses, many Breyer collectors never have an interest in entering their models in a show. But showing can be a fun and rewarding way to extend your collecting, not to mention a great social occasion!
There are two basic kinds of model horse shows: live shows, and photo shows. A live show is what you might expect - your models are entered in competition with other models, put on display, and so forth. In a photo show, you enter a photo of your model, in a realistic to-scale set-up with props, background, etc.
Most show divisions are based on some kind of customization. In performance classes, the focus is on the horse's pose and on the custom tack, costume, or diorama. These can be either customized or original finish (abbreviated OF) models.
Customized models are often the stars of the show. Etchings, repaintings, reshapings - anything you can imagine! Most shows have two divisions, one for models that are as realistic as possible (these for example would not accept a palomino Arabian, since those don't exist in real life) and one for fantasy models (purple, sparkles, wings!). The amount of talent and workmanship on display at a model horse show is truly amazing!
Mapping example photo credit: Flickr/genewolf