Monday, November 29, 2010

Tracking Tack

Busy, busy, busy: shipping packages, making holiday ornaments, chasing down the dog. I spent a good half an hour today chasing her through the more wooded areas of our subdivision today - and another half pulling all the burrs out of my coat. No sweaters for Vita this Christmas - the little monster loves it cold!

In between the random moments of chaos, I’ve decided undertake another research topic: tack and accessories. (I have the week off, I might as well take advantage of it, right?)

I’ve pretty much ignored the subject of tack altogether: whenever I had a choice between buying more horses, or more tack, I almost always bought the horse. After a few half-hearted attempts at making my own, I came to the realization that I didn’t have that special kind of crazy in me to be a performance shower.

This lack of engagement also extended to Breyer-made tack and accessories, unless it came in a set with a particularly interesting horse (i.e. ill-fated Palomino Adios) or was being modeled by one (the never-released Slate Gray Smart Chic Olena.)

Although Breyers came with molded-on tack and accessories from the very beginning, it wasn’t until the early 1970s that they started selling tack and accessories independent from the models themselves. I’ll only have about 40 years worth of research to do, instead of 60+, and I’m not going to bother trying to track down every color or design change. I don’t think most people are interested in Breyer tack and accessories to that level of detail, yet.

I’m only doing it for my own peace of mind: if it’s a Breyer product, I have to keep track of it. Heck, I keep track of dealer assortment numbers, store assortment numbers, and mold numbers, so why not obsess over tack a while? Someone’s gotta do it, right?

Since I don’t have any great insights into the world of Breyer tack right now, I’ll just share a photograph of a model whose rarity is solely defined by its tack:

It’s the #P45 White Fury/Prancer, with the incredibly scarce English Saddle option: the Racehorse’s saddle, with the Canadian Mountie’s saddle blanket in red.

When the Fury/Prancer was originally released in 1956, it could be ordered with either a Western or an English saddle. The fine print on the original dealer sheet explains why more dealers didn’t go with the English Saddle option: they had to ask for it!

All mention of the English Saddle option is gone by 1958; considering its rarity, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was discontinued by 1957. If you’re lucky, you’ll see maybe one of these turn up in any given year, where they’re sometimes mistaken as a variation of the Canadian Mountie’s horse.

That’s what I assumed when I found mine at the local flea market, until I showed a picture of mine to Marney, and she set me straight. That 1956 dealer sheet - something I didn't have access to, then - is the only paper evidence we have of what it really was.

1 comment:

Sara said...

I have a pile of that ridiculously oversized 1970s Breyer tack if you want it? I've been "collecting" it over the years because I inevitably get some whenever I buy a large lot of 70s horses. I've been wondering what to do with it and would love to donate it to a history project! Then again, maybe everybody has a pile of 70s Breyer tack lying around. But, let me know if you do want it!