Test Your Knowledge of Model Horse Scales For Photos

  • 01 of 08

    Test Your Knowledge of Model Horse Scales for Photo Shows

    Micro mini model horse on a natural footing.
    Micro mini model horse approximately 1 inch tall. Photo copyright 2010 Jeanne Grunert

    When you begin to  enter model horse photo shows understanding the ratio of the horse to the props and surrounding items in the diorama scene is essential. If you're using a plain cloth background for your photos, you don't have to worry about scale. But if you are taking outdoor shots or creating indoor scenes, scale is critical. Nothing is worse than a giant tree looming over a tiny horse, or what looks like a giant horse towering over a miniature barn. The model horse hobby generally uses five terms to describe scale, all relating to Breyer horses but applied to other horses. These terms include:

    • Traditional
    • Classic
    • Paddock Pals (also called Little Bits)


    Test your knowledge of the proper scale for model horse show setups and dioramas on the following pages.

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  • 02 of 08

    Understanding Scale and Proportion For Model Horses

    Traditional Breyer horse model photographed in a natural outdoor setting.
    Outdoor photo of Breyer horse in Traditional scale. Photo copyright 2010 Jeanne Grunert

    What is Scale?

    Scale refers to the ratio of measurements of model to real when making a miniature. A scale of 1:9, as in Breyer Traditional scale model horses like this discontinued mahogany bay original finish Proud Arabian Stallion, is the largest among the model horse scales. At 1:9 scale, one measurement (of any type) on the model, corresponds to 9 measurements on the full size animal. One inch on the model would equal 9 inches on the animal. It doesn't matter what you use as props in your photo show set ups; as long as the items are in the correct proportion to the horse, it sets the scale.

    Are the background bushes and plants in this photo in the right scale or proportion to the model?

    Yes. Even though the "tree" behind the horse is a clump of grass, it gives the appearance of a tree in the proper proportion to the model.

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  • 03 of 08

    Keeping Backgrounds in Scale for Model Horse Photos

    Breyer model horse photographed against a photo backdrop
    Traditional scale Breyer model horse with photo background. Photo copyright 2010 Jeanne Grunert

    This Breyer horse was photographed indoors using a poster for the background image. The poster presents an attractive backdrop for this customized (haired and painted) Breyer created by a young collector. Is the background in scale with the model?

    The model and background work well together. The trees and shrubs, as well as the bridge in the photograph, appear to be in the background, with no distracting shadows. The young artist who created this customized Breyer horse may wish to use a simpler background to show off her model.

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  • 04 of 08

    Keeping Props in Scale For Model Horse Photos

    Breyer model horse with props in diorama.
    Make sure that the props used in your photo show dioramas are in scale. Photo copyright 2010 Jeanne Grunert

    As you explore performance showing for your Breyers and other model horses, the concept of scale becomes increasingly important. The more props you add to a photo show setup, the greater the chance of making a mistake in the scale of the props.

    Is the fence in scale with this model for an English hunter performance photo?

    Unfortunately, no. The Breyer play fence is too high for a hunter class and not the correct type. The "flower pots" on either side are too large, with the leaves of the ivy looking like an alien plant. The Breyer Justin Morgan in the background looks like he is refusing to jump the too high fence - this is not a good quality photo for shows!

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  • 05 of 08

    Adjusting Outdoor Settings To Scale For Model Horse Photos

    Model horse with fence photographed outdoors.
    This Traditional horse and fence appear to be in the proper scale. Photo copyright 2010 Jeanne Grunert

    You can create props for your model horse show photos from anything around the yard or your house. This photograph was taken outside. While the grass should have been clipped shorter (it's too tall for the Traditional Breyer scale horse shown here), the natural low fence the horse is cantering towards is in scale to the horse. This could be a fox hunting scene or a hunter pace-type setup. The jump was made with rocks piled on the sides for the jump standard, and large branches cut to size and placed in the middle for a faux-log jump.

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  • 06 of 08

    How Correct Scale Props Add Realism to Model Horse Photos

    Arabian model horse stallion photographed in a middle eastern setting.
    This model horse show photo does everything right!. Photo Courtesy Kollean Gouyton Copyright 2010 Used With Permission

    When all the props and accessories for model horses are in the right Breyer scale, the entire photo just looks so realistic you'd swear it was an actual horse. This Arabian scene exemplifies the best use of all types of model horse show props: a lovely model, a doll in the right scale wearing the appropriate costume, model horse tack that fits, and a background and props on the ground that are all in Traditional scale and sized proportionately to the horse. The entire picture works together to make the viewer feel she's stepped right into the scene.

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  • 07 of 08

    Breyer Model Horse Scale Review

    Three Model Horse Scales Compared
    Paddock Pal, Stablemate, and micro mini scale. Photo copyright 2010 Jeanne Grunert

    When making or buying props for model horse show photo setups, look for sellers who size their props specifically for Breyer scales or models. The props, tack and accessories should be sized according to the five major classifications. Here are the Breyer groups listed with their approximate ratios, which can be used to check measurements for props, dolls, and other features:


    1. Traditional scale - 1:9 (one inch on the model is equivalent to 9 inches on the real horse)
    2. Classic scale - 1:12 (one inch on the model is equivalent to 12 inches on the real horse)
    3. Paddock Pal (Little Bits) - 1:24
    4. Stablemates - 1:32
    5. Micro mini - 1:64
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  • 08 of 08

    Observing Scale and Proportion for Model Horse Photos

    Western model horse show setting with rider and props
    Share your model horse show photos with others for feedback on whether props are in scale. Photo Courtesy Kollean Gouyton Copyright 2010 Used With Permission

    As you create your own model horse show dioramas, backdrops and props, consider the images in this fun quiz and why some are in scale or proportion and others aren't. If you're not sure how big something should be, look for photos of real horses competing in the performance event you have in mind. You'll quickly realize, for example, that in a hunter class, the typical fence sizes range from 2' 3" to 3' 6" - and you'll see pictures of average sizes horses standing next to fences, jumping them, or galloping near them. Notice how tall they are and where the top of the fence comes up to on the horse. Soon you will develop a good eye for scale of props for model horses, learning to recognize items that work well and those that don't work well. Try new things and keep learning. Share your photos with other collectors and get feedback. Most important of all, however, is to have FUN!