Getting In The Ring

I get a lot of inquiries about model horse shows in general: where to find them, how to enter, which is "better", live showing or photo showing (the answer to that is ALWAYS "It depends on what YOU want to do!"), which are the best clubs to join (see previous answer), and so forth. For both my own reference and that of anyone else who is interested, I'll be collecting - no pun intended - information and links about model horse showing on this page. Do check back, as like all collections this one is sure to grow.

There are two "basic" types of model horse shows: live shows and photo shows. The descriptors are pretty self-explanatory. A live show is a "live" event, where entrants take their models to set up, display, and compete in a variety of classes and disciplines. The venues can range from a show holder's own home to public halls rented for the occasion to real horse facilities - perhaps one of the best known of that last being the live show held annually during Breyerfest, at the Kentucky Horse Park. Live shows are a great way to get to meet fellow model horse hobbyists face to face, make new friends and reconnect with others, and see some amazing models, tack, and setups up close and personal. Live shows are usually also great for buying, selling, and trading, so unless you have a will of iron, leave some extra space in your carrying case(s), and have some extra cash in your wallet. ;-)

Photo shows are held as either mail-in or online events. Entrants submit photos of their models, in settings that can be as simple as studio portrait-styles or as detailed as full-scene dioramas. Photo shows are a great way to get involved in showing for those who may not have the time, means, or simply the inclination, to physically pack up their model horse show string and transport them across town, or even across the country. Photo showing is also a great way to hone skills from scene and prop building, to tack and doll making, to customizing your own model horses, to - of course - photography, at your own pace and with no farther travel requirements than somewhere in or around your own home.

Below are some links to various model horse showing organizations, as well as to more generalized showing resources and information. The links to organizations should be current, given most of them are organizations with which I am either an active participant or at least a frequent visitor. The links to general reference sites and pages were tested initially, but I may or may not be aware if they have since been changed by their keepers. If you, Constant Reader, find one has "broken", by all means give me a holler. I am not responsible for any links beyond those posted directly here, so if you find something not working on any websites beyond this one, please contact the owner(s) of those sites. Above all, surf safely and enjoy!

North American Model Horse Shows Association: I have been out of the "live show scene" myself for many years, so I'm not up on current events in those arenas. The folks at NAMHSA, however, most certainly are. Established in 1994, this group includes a nationwide network of approved, member live shows, with an annual National Championship Model Horse Show, known as the North American Nationals, or NAN. You could probably consider NAN the Olympics of live model horse showing; I know I do. :-) NAMHSA has a mailing list to which you can subscribe here.
Model Equine Photo Showers Association: In the time-honored tradition of mail-in photo showing, MEPSA is the longest running and, as far as I know, largest group of its kind. MEPSA is to photo showing what NAMHSA is to live showing, with an annual season of member shows in which entrants can qualify their horses for the year-end MEPSA International Championship Show. There the best of the best compete for ribbons, models, and other awards, and perhaps most of all, a spot in the beautiful Championship Show Book published each year. MEPSA also has a whole division devoted to novice showers, with a full range of classes and constructive feedback and help provided by experienced volunteer judges. You can join the MEPSA discussion group on here.
Model Horse Original Finish Club: The Model Horse Original Finish Club is another mail-in photo show club, a friendly, no drama group for collecting and showing original finish model horses (no customs or artist resins). They offer competition, recognition and prizes based on vintage, breed standards, presentation/photography, and more. New hobbyists and veterans alike can check them out at their homepage in the link here.
Totally Online Photo Showers Association: TOPSA is perhaps the largest and longest running online photo showing organization. This club requires a minimal annual fee of $7 to help pay for the club subscription to the Smugmug platform on which its shows are hosted, and is well worth it. This photo show group has something to offer just about any level and style of showing, with many divisions for all makes and types of models. TOPSA holds a year end Championship Show for horses that have qualified throughout the year, with virtual rosettes. You can join the TOPSA discussion group on here.
Model Horse Online Show Series: MHOSS is another online photo showing group. MHOSS is free to join, and has a wide variety of divisions and classes. The Snapbraggin platform used by MHOSS is user friendly and easy to navigate, or at least so I find it, and it automatically tracks placings and accumulated points (nice!). MHOSS offers virtual awards throughout the show season, including for qualified horses in the year end Championship Show. You can join the MHOSS discussion group on here.
Original Finish All Makes online photo show club: OFAM is an online photo showing group dedicated to most makes of factory finish (aka Original Finish) model equines, and committed to a relaxed, friendly, and enjoyable atmosphere. To quote from their website: "This club is set up strictly for light-hearted, laid-back fun with showing models." It's a great group (yes, I am a slightly biased member, LOL), and promotes a welcoming environment for model horse hobbyists of all experience levels. You can join the fun on the OFAM discussion group on here.
Mini Model Showers Association: If you like 'em small but still dream big, check out MMSA. This online photo showing group is devoted to the showing of smaller model horses, from Micro-Minis to Curio size. MMSA is free to join at this time, and the enthusiam among its members is as mighty as their minis. You can join the MMSA discussion group on here.
Online Model Horse Photo Shows: From the website intro: Online Model Horse Photo Shows (OMHPS) is a platform to photo show model horses on an online interface. Built from the ground up, this website will allow you to show your horses, keep track of their placings, host your own shows, and enjoy a fun, competitive environment. The competitions are open to model horses of any make and model including Breyer, Stone Horses, Schleich, CollectA, artist resins, customs, and china/porcelain. Rather than a single club, this is a website that can be used by clubs and individuals alike to host and enter shows. OMHPS is free to join, and has a paid, ad-free premium option as well. It's a lot of fun, and definitely worth taking a tour.
Model Horse Go-N-Show: This website keeps listings of model horse shows and events. It's mostly geared towards live shows, but has some photo show club contact info as well. Live shows are listed by NAMHSA region, which is very helpful, especially if you're not sure which region you're in.
Showing Model Horses: This is a nice, basic introductory page about model horse showing in general. When you're finished perusing it, I strongly recommend cruising through the rest of the Identify Your Breyer website. There's a TON of eye candy, lots of terrific model horse hobby information, trivia, and general lore, and you may well see a few (or a lot) of familar faces.
Model Horse Showing "ABCs": This is another good, general overview of model horse showing. The article focuses on choosing and showing original factory-finish models (not surprising, considering the hosting website), but nearly all of this useful information applies across the model horse spectrum. As a bonus, once you've gotten excited about model horse showing, you can promptly go model horse shopping. :-)
PDF DOCUMENT - How To Show Model Horses: WARNING: as this link goes directly to a .pdf file, it may pop up in your browser, or it may kick off a download, depending on your browser settings. It is a slideshow-type presentation of a live show, put together by a 4-H volunteer. I include it here mainly for the excellent, fun photos, as well as the "Day At A Live Show" experience it manages to convey. IMHO, it's worth keeping on hand as a quick reference. Both the .pdf file and the website hosting it appear to be safe, but as I say to EVERYONE about downloading ANYTHING: YMMV.

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