Thursday, 24 December 2015

Chestnut Ridge Writing Contest 2015

All the way back in August of this year (Was it really that long ago? Wow!) Chestnut Ridge held a writing contest for readers of their blog. The challenge was to write an article under the title 'What the Model Horse Hobby Has Done For Me', with the aim of encouraging new people to join the hobby. It seemed like an interesting challenge, and since I enjoy writing I thought it would be fun to give it a go. I thought long and hard over what to include in my article, and carefully planned everything out, and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed writing my entry. It was worth entering just for the enjoyment of writing alone :)

The closing date came and went, and by November the judging had been done and the placings announced. And I was astounded to discover that my entry had been chosen as the winner of the 18+ year group! I was speechless. I had hoped to place maybe 3rd or even 2nd, but to be first was more than I could ever have hoped for. It was like a dream.

I promptly contacted Chestnut Ridge and asked permission to write about the contest and my placing on this blog, and they said yes. But I was worried that it would seem big-headed to announce it here, so I held back. On the other hand, it seemed ungrateful not to acknowledge such a wonderful honour. Finally, I decided that the best way to write about it would be either when my Breyer Traditional contest prize arrived, or when my article was available to read on the Chestnut Ridge website. I'm afraid you're going to have to wait a little longer to read my article, but I can now reveal my prize model to all those of you who'd like to see him. 

So, please meet Frankel. I'm sorry for the photos, but the lighting today was so bad I had to use my camera's flash. But I knew you'd want pictures, so here he is.
 Aside from being a Breyer Traditional, the prize model was a complete mystery. So I was delighted to open the box and find Frankel waiting to gallop out of his packaging! I'd admired this stallion since he was released, but since shelf space is extremely limited for me I hadn't purchased him. Now I'm really happy I didn't :)
 To be honest I'm not a great follower of horse racing, although I had heard of Frankel. I was attracted more to the wonderful rich bay coat, crisp white socks and unique facial markings on this handsome guy. I think red bays with four white feet and facial markings are really striking, and this model is definitely a striking boy. He's also my first on the Smarty Jones mould.
 I just love the dynamic energy captured in this mould. He really feels like he's barrelling down the green towards the finish line. It's a really nice touch that Breyer painted the base green for this model, since English Thoroughbreds race exclusively (I believe) on grass tracks. And since the real Frankel is an English racing legend, it's only fitting that he's on an English racecourse.
 I haven't decided yet what I'm going to name my new stallion. Normally, I wait until after I've named them to feature them in a blog post, but this guy just couldn't wait. Well, with a pose like that would you expect him to be patient? :)
 I love the way his tail flicks up at the end. I love the way there's a little gap in his mane where the hair is whipping around. I love the way his ears are back, listening to his rider and the rest of the field.
 I know this model is normally used as a stock horse by live showers, since it's a bit on the stocky side for a racing Thoroughbred. But since I don't show my models I'll probably call him a retired racehorse, perhaps around 10 years old or so. With that grass base he works just as well galloping around his field as charging down a race track.
 His face has an interrupted stripe, snip and unusually shaped star. I love unusual facial markings in horses: I feel it gives them character, and makes them truly unique. His star kind of reminds me of a papyrus fan, or maybe a speech bubble in a comic book...
 I hadn't realised this from just looking at side photos of other hobbyist's models, but the base is actually hollow. This probably helps to make it more light weight.
I'm sorry the pictures aren't great. He's got much nicer shading in real life.
 Just like the real stallion, the model has ermine spots on his hooves. And each hoof on the mould is carved to resemble a real hoof.
I'm going to have to find a suitable name for this gorgeous boy now, and then I've got the task of trying to find him a space on my shelves. But I'm absolutely delighted with him, and so very grateful to Chestnut Ridge for my new model and for hosting their writing contest. I can't wait to read all the other winning articles :)


  1. I was so happy for you when I say you came first! Well done!
    Your Frankel is GORGEOUS!! I have Smarty Jones, and you'll love taking outdoor pictures with this mold, it's so fun! I wonder what horse I will get? ;)

    1. Aww, thank you :) I'm really happy with him. He's standing on my table at the moment, waiting to be named, and every so often I catch a glimpse of him out of the corner of my eye and I'm amazed at just how dynamic his pose is :) Ooh, exciting! Please make a post on your blog when they arrive: I'd love to see them :D

  2. Well done you! *proud*

    I hadn't heard of Frankel before watching a documentary about him and his trainer on Channel 4 last year. There were tears, I admit... stunning model of him. :)

    1. Aww, thank you :)
      I'll have to see if I can find that documentary