Another short one today - I’m in the final throes of a big, complicated non-horse, non-writing project, and I don’t want to lose my momentum. (It’ll be done today, and then I’ll move on to the next big, complicated non-horse, non-writing project. Yes, I do have way too many hobbies!)
Some hobbyists think that Reeves’ involvement in the wonderful world of model horses began in late 1984, when they acquired the Breyer brand. This is not so: prior to that, they were the exclusive U.S. distributor of Steha Horses.
I didn’t know this until recently, myself. A few years ago, I purchased a couple of Reeves’ Great Lines Catalogues on eBay. These books contain bound copies of dealer catalogs of all of the lines that Reeves imported and distributed. I found a Steha catalog bound in the 1981-82 edition.
I don’t have a lot of data about Steha in my archives, aside from this bound-in dealer’s catalog. Stehas were flocked and haired horses made in West Germany, and were available from the 1950s to (at least) the early 1980s. Here’s a link to a good-sized picture of one:
Stehas were never a big part of the model horse world, at least in the U.S. First of all, they weren’t very realistic: some were nicer than others, but none of them could pass competitive muster, even in the more forgiving earlier days of the hobby. Second, they were rather expensive compared to Breyers: the wholesale prices for Traditional-scale Breyers in 1981 ranged from $3-6; the wholesale prices for comparable Stehas were $14-19! Yikes!
Some Steha items did find a place in the hobby: their carts and wagons were surprisingly nice, and of much better quality than hobbyists were able to create for themselves at the time.
I remember at least one local toy store that carried Stehas in the 1970s, but I never actually owned one. Aside from being expensive and homely, I was never a big fan of flockies in general: they’re hard to keep clean, and they have a nasty habit of yellowing, shedding and disintegrating.
Stehas are rather expensive and hard to come by nowadays, presumably for the same reason. If I had known back then that they’d have a Breyer connection now, I might have parceled out a bit of my allowance money and bought one.