Friday, April 26, 2013

Getting Ready For The BF C/Y Show--Making Customs With Performance In Mind-Pt 1

Making Customs With Performance In Mind

I love performance, and I usually make my customs to reflect that. For making customs for performance, there are some things to remember.
  • Am I going for versatility or single seat?
  • What type of events do I plan for the model to be able to be used in?
  • What breed do I want?
  • What classes can the Breed not participate in?
  • What pose do I want?
  • Is the model being made to be tack friendly and/or doll friendly?
Those are all of the things that you need to remember when making a performance horse.
For the Breyerfest C/Y show there are four divisions: English, Western, Other, and Scene.  Within each, there are multiple classes. English and Western can have the same horse preforming in each division (One horse can do all of the western, another can do all the English, etc). Other can only have one horse per class. Scene is a different beast, but you can still only have one 'main' horse per class.

Am I going for versatility or single seat?

If you want to have a custom that can do it all, you must remember these things: mane, tail, and pose. You also have to remember documentation. If you have documentation that's creditable, your horse can do many things. But it must be creditable. For example, English horses have braided manes. Of course if you have documentation showing that they can been shown in English classes having banded manes, go right ahead. Also documentation shows the level that you're horse is at and what's allowable, but I'll explain that later when we get to performance showing.

Mane And Tail

If you want a model to be used in English, having a braided mane and tail is a good start. Generally English horses have a braided mane and a possible braided tail. Here's a great how-to on doing it:
How To Make Braids PT One
How To Make Braids PT Two
Even within English, horses that are for cross country have loose manes so their riders can grab on. Of course, to an extent some judges will make allowances to models. You can't undo braids so your plastic model can be ready for Cross country after Showjumping, right?
Western horses generally have banded manes and loose tails. Here's another great post on how to make those:
How To Make A Banded Mane

For a model to be versatile  it should have a mane and tail that allows for it to be able to cross over the lines of English, Western, or Other. Now, for myself, if I want a model to have a versatile mane, I make its mane loose and short to medium length. The tail is not braided but loose.
For example, this is more versatile

than this. The mane is the big versatility difference.


Now For Pose. Basically any horse that is on the bit with friendly ears makes a great versatile model. A standing horse is great, and can be creatively used for a numerous amount of classes.  This custom has been used in Western and Harness but I plan on using him in English too. He's Nan Qualified in Harness. He's on the bit with a friendly expression and attentive ears.
I know, this picture again :) 
Versatile horses that are in a trotting pose really depend on their speed. Of course if you have a certain seat decided already, then go for it. Standardbred trotters will have a different trot than a thoroughbred trotting to the starting gates of a race. If you want a versatile horse, going at a slow-ish to medium-ish trot is good. Going too fast will not work for western pleasure.
This is a good speed---Pic source
For faster gaits, a versatile model will have to be on the bit and looking attentive. Cantering/loping horses can be used in many classes. Going at a relaxed pace is essential. Not too fast and not too slow makes for a good versatile performance horse.
If you're going for a more specialized seat, such as solely western pleasure, the horse will be traveling at a slower speed. For barrel racing, the horse may be cantering around a barrel, leaning to the side. In jumping, the horse may be doing a 'high' headed canter, looking towards the next jump it will fly over.
Good versatile performance horse speed--Pic Link
Galloping belongs to its own beast. You must be very creative in your documentation to be able to have a versatile galloping custom. I'm not saying you can not, but it must be creative. Galloping horses can be found in many events such as racing. 
Poses such as rearing and bucking really aren't versatile. A rearing horse being shown in western pleasure is a fault. Why? A horse in pleasure classes should be frankly a pleasure to ride. Such poses are really isolated to other classes like Circus. The rearing horse could be shown in jumping or any class, but it really is not desirable for the horse to be rearing. Performance is supposed to be taking a second long moment of real life and being able to depict it in model form. Bucking is great for rodeos, but it falls under the same category as rearing. They're undesirable traits for a horse to be doing in many classes, so it really isn't versatile. Still, it's always cool to see such models used creatively in other classes.
This is why I love performance so much. There's an endless amount of possibilities of what your model could end up like. Braids, Banded, loose, galloping, cantering, standing and many more!

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