This list mentions things that may be specific to Region 1 shows.
How do I prepare my models to show? Models must be removed from their box or other packaging and able to stand on a table. If they are in a position that makes it hard to stand, they can be laid on their side on a soft cloth for judging. A judge has permission to handle the horse to see the other side if it is laying down. To be ready for the show ring, your model should be dusted with no hairs, dust, or fingerprints remaining. It should have it's appropriate leg tag attached with the horse's name and your id number (see the link above for help on that). That is pretty much it! Your horse is ready!
How do I pack my models? Wrap your models in something soft, like an old t-shirt or pillow case. Fabric remnants can work great, too. Serious showers often purchase or sew envelopes of soft material that fit a model and allow for easy packing and unpacking. Some models might need bubble wrap around fragile mane or legs, but do not let it touch the model. Bubblewrap can leave circles on the finish in some weather. Wrap the horse in soft fabric first, then bubblewrap about it. Most showers pack their models in a plastic tote, Artist Resins and other very valuable models often get a gun case with a custom cut foam insert. Whatever works best for your collection is fine. I started out with old t-shirts, then as my collection grew, I started sewing pouches for them and putting a sticker label on each to know which horse it was made to hold.
What should I bring to a show? clean models with leg-tags horse list class list table cloth to cover your table for your show string to sit on extra leg-tags dust brush (a make-up brush works well) pen/pencil camera dust cloths cash raffle item to donate bottle of water, snacks
How do I enter? Download and print any information about the show you need. You will want a copy of the class list to have in your hand on show day, you will want to carefully read the rules and info and might want them printed. Print or download the entry form depending whether you are sending it by mail. Read over it carefully and then send in payment and the entry form. Ask any questions you might have about the show and if you are so inclined, let the show holder know if you are bringing a donation for a raffle. If something happens and you can't make it to the show, let the show holder know so they can plan. Some shows will refund part or all of your entry fees, other do not. Read the show rules carefully.
What is a raffle at a model horse show? Many shows offer a raffle. Local businesses and other showers donate items to the raffle. The show holder displays all the items and might group some small things together. Then, a cup is put next to each lot and showers buy tickets. As a shower, you can buy as many tickets as you want and then put one or more in the cup of each lot you want to win. At lunch or the end of the show, the show holder will draw a ticket from the cup of each lot and that person wins the item. Raffles are great fun and often an important part of the show budget, especially at a smaller show. If the show packet does not mention a raffle, ask the show holder about it. Usually, any items are welcome. Anything model related are always hot items, horse themed decor, wine, chocolates, and baked goods or other hand-crafted things seem to be great favorites. The more items the more fun!
How does selling models at a show work? If it is not noted in the show packet whether selling is allowed, ask the show holder. Usually selling from your table is allowed and it is up to you to pack according to the space you purchased. Once at the show, you will set up your show string on your table, then designate the end by the isle as your sales section. Some people will put a tote at the end of the table to display more models. Label them clearly with your desired price to allow interested people to see it without having to handle the horses. Haggling and deal-making is quite common and often a person selling multiple models will give a discount to someone purchasing more than one. It is also common to see the seller showing their sales models through the day and sometimes a sales model will have a NAN card or ribbons to go with it by the end of the day. Buying at shows can be a great way to add to your collection without the gamble of buying a NIB model and risking box rubs. Most sellers will be able to accept cash only, so if you might be buying a model at the show make sure you bring cash.
What do I do once I arrive at the show? You will locate your table first thing, at a larger show they will probably be posted on a map at the entrance to the show hall, a smaller show might let you choose your spot when you arrive. If name tags are available, stick that on. Unload your totes and claim your table. Put your horse list in the designated spot for the show holder. Sometimes this is a basket, sometimes a stack. Walk around and figure out where all the show rings are that you will be showing in. If there is time, walk around and check out the raffle table and other shower's tables and sales items. Start trying to learn names and make friends! As show start approaches, take your first class horses to their rings and set them up.
How do I show a horse? Look at your class list and see what the first class is in each division you are showing in. Take that horse to the coordinating show ring table and set it up. It should have your favorite side towards the outside of the table, but remember: the judge will look at BOTH sides. Make sure the leg-tag is easily visible and has the side with your shower number and the model number up. The side with the horse's name should be down. Check for dust and finger prints. Dust them with your dust brush if needed. Make sure your horse is not crowding other models. If you are laying documentation of any kind with it, make sure it is taking up as little table space as possible. Once your horse is ready to be judged, leave the table and get your other horses to their rings or go sit and look over your class list or visit with people. Do NOT hover around the table. If you have a question for the judge, politely ask them before the class closes to be judged. The judge will make a final call for the class and when everyone has their horses to the table, the judge will announce Class Closed. Do not go to the table after this announcement. When the judge is finished judging, they will announce Class Pinned. At this time you go back to the table and collect your horse and any ribbons you won. If you have a question for the judge, you may politely ask it. Judge's should be willing to tell you if there is a flaw on your horse or why they placed it or didn't place it. As long as you are polite and have a friendly attitude, they will not mind you asking about it. Keep in mind that you might have a horse win at one show and not place at another. It all depends on the other horses competing and the judge that day. After you have collected your horse, you can bring up the horses for the next class. You can bring them up anytime after the previous class finished without waiting for everyone else to collect their horses. If your horse wins a 1st or 2nd, leave them in a special spot at your table with their ribbon and NAN card. At the end of the division section they will go back for Championships. Watch your class list so you don't miss it! When it is time, take any 1st and 2nd place horses back up and set them up with their ribbon and card. Two horses will get a rosette and be awarded Champion and Reserve Champion. If your horse doesn't get one of those, you can pack it up or put it aside to await it's next class. If it DOES win, keep it out and at the end of the division, it will go back in for Division Championship. If it wins Grand Champion or Reserve Grand Champion then it will be eligible for Over All Grand Champion, if the show is awarding it. When a horse has finished all of it's classes and isn't up for any higher awards, you can pack it up as it finishes to free up more room. This will also make getting ready to leave at the end of the show go faster.
How does lunch work? Read through the show rules and info and ask the show holder. Some locations do not allow food inside, some require the showholder use their caterer and don't allow outside food. Some shows provide food in the entry fee, some just break for lunch and you leave the show hall and find a restaurant. Often, a couple people will head out and be willing to take orders for the other showers and bring food back.
How do I make a horse-list? It can be hand written and there is no official format, but what I find works for me is a table in Word. The information you want on your list is: Horse number (this is YOUR number for your horse, the one that is on the leg-tag), horse name (your name for the horse), breed, gender, finish, scale. You can have more information than that if you like, like color or artist, but it's not important to the show holder. The format needs to be easily searched for compiling the show results, so have the list with the leg-tags in order. Some people group them together by scale or finish or both, and that is fine as long as the leg-tag numbers are in order within that section.
What are all the acronyms? CM- Custom; model is repainted and might be changed in other ways also, like legs moved or mane re-sculpted. This includes plastic, but also any model that is purchased painted and has been re-painted. China, metal, mass produced resin like Sandicast, etc. OF- Original Finish; horse is how it looks straight out of the box. It is allowed to mend rubs or breaks, as long as you have not changed it from the original appearance (no added white markings, hoof gloss, etc.) AR- Artist Resin; these models were sculpted by an artist, purchased unpainted and an artist painted them. They are not mass produced by a company. SM- Stablemates; a small scale of Breyer horse. NIB- New In Box; a model that has not been removed from its box or packaging.
What is 'documentation' for Collectibility class? Documentation can be plain or fancy, it just needs to have the pertinent information. Often a 3x5 card is used as they are a handy size and easy to store. You can hand-write the information in a pinch, or print it out and laminate it for a card you plan to use many times. The important part is getting the information on the card. Here is what you need:
Horse name as on the box ("Zenyatta") Model number and manufacturer (Breyer #116) Mold name (Grazing Foal) Color (bay) Years produced (1992-1995) Special Notes -if it is a special run, how many were produced, if it is unique in some other way, etc. (Special run for Breyerfest, 300 produced) Photo of the model if possible
To find the information, see the link at the top of this page for the Breyer horse list, search ebay, the Breyer website, or ask on BLAB.
What is 'documentation' for breed class? If you are showing a horse as an uncommon breed or color, you might want to put down documentation with it. If you are showing a Lady Phase as a Quarter Horse you should not need documentation. If you are showing a horse as an obscure breed or a color unusual to the breed, you will want to have a photo of the occurrence or dependable written documentation that it occurs. If you find a photo that looks exactly like your OF model, it can be nice to put that with the horse because it lends realism to the model. You should not need an evidence documentation card for every horse and the cards you use should be fairly short and to the point. The judge should not have to spend more than a few moments to read it. If you are showing a CM horse that is a portrait it can be very nice to have a photo of the actual horse to put with it.
How do I keep track of my placings? The show will have the judge's sheets that they write the placings on. They will email the results to all the entrants, but often will only list 1st and 2nd place because it is very time consuming. If you have a question on a class you should email the show holder and have them check the judge's sheets for the rest of the placings. To keep track for your own records, make a note of what place each horse gets on a print out of the class list or a chart you create to take to the show. Then, you can put that in a file or save it in a document on the computer for future reference. For the most part, it is up to you to keep track of your horse's performance however you see fit. I print out a class list, then write the number of each horse next to the classes they will enter. As they show, I write a placing next to the number of each horse. When I get the show results, I can check them against my notes and catch any errors. Then I can print the official results and file it with my class list notes in my filing cabinet.
What do I do with a NAN card? NAN cards are actually an entry ticket to North American Nationals. Unlike member shows, Nationals requires the horse to qualify and you know exactly what you are bringing long before the show. You qualify horses are member shows by placing 1st or 2nd and earning a NAN card. Then, that horse is eligible to go to NAN. In addition to being a ticket to NAN, the horse can earn additional NAN cards and earn other awards called Merit Awards. Your horse can earn as many NAN cards as you win and enter NAN with one, then send in more to get a Merit award. The cards do not get returned to you though, so plan ahead if you want to go to NAN as you will need to save a card to do that in addition to a merit award. If you do not plan to enter NAN, save your cards because a future owner of the horse might want to attend or might want to earn a Merit award. NAN cards expire as entry tickets to NAN, but not for Merit awards, so it is worth saving them.
What do I do next? If you have attended a show and fallen in love, the next step is to join in the hobby further by customizing, photo showing, making local Model horse friends, carpooling to more distant shows, or hosting one of your own! Breyerfest is a big celebration in the summer that can be a great experience and a lot of fun. NAN is the National show that is hosted every year. Join in on the BLAB forum, find the people you met at shows on FaceBook, become a member of NAMSHA so you can vote, start mentoring friends and relatives to join the hobby with you, and add to your collection for the next show!