The Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex will host a different kind of national championship horse show in 2013. The weekend of June 21-23, the North American Nationals (NAN) will take place at the complex, bringing the best model horse showers from across the country to compete in Harrisburg.
The NAN is the annual championship show for the North American Model Horse Shows Association (NAMHSA). In even numbered years, the event takes place in Lexington, KY, coinciding with Breyerfest – a three-day convention sponsored by Breyer brand model horse manufacturing company Reeves International. On odd numbered years, the NAN moves to an alternate location. This NAN in 2013 will be the first time in the 18-year history of the championship that the show has been held east of Kentucky.
Model horse shower Nichole Hertzog of Harrisburg put together the bid for the event. “It’s hugely exciting. It’s never been further east than Kentucky where it’s held every other year,” she said. “I put a lot of work into the bid and to know that of the ten or twelve bids submitted for 2013 it ended up being selected, it’s just a huge, huge honor. I’m so excited – it’s overwhelming.”
In July 2012, the NAN show in Lexington drew 198 entrants with well over a thousand models. Hertzog hopes to top that attendance figure.
The Farm Show Complex is not unfamiliar ground for a model horse show. Each year, two model shows, Intersport Live, and Intermediare Live, are held in the banquet hall during the first Sunday of the Pennsylvania National Horse Show.
4-H clubs are also on board with model horse showing and there is a 4-H State Model Horse Show at the complex each October during the 4-H PA State Horse Show.
Those who have not seen a model horse show should not assume that this is child’s play. While junior exhibitors are welcome in the hobby, this is also an adult passion, with model horses and tack commanding prices that are not far from the real horse world.
Model horse exhibitors may enter Original Finish divisions where horses are displayed just as they came from the factory. Others enter the Customized division where plastic models are altered and painted by artists into individualized, one of a kind creations. There are also show classes for artist resins produced by talented sculptors specifically for the model showing and collecting hobby.
At model horse show, judges study a show table filled with entrants just as any other judge would, looking for good conformation, breed type, and quality. In addition they pay particular attention to condition as well as color and detail. Even straight from the package there are differences between models as far as depth of color and shading that a judge will notice when picking a winner.
Along with breed classes there are collectability divisions that recognize rarity and workmanship, plus there is performance. A model horse cannot actually jump a fence or speed after a cow, but with correctly scaled tack and props a model can recreate a frozen moment in time that will look just like a real horse in motion.
Model hobbyists invest great amounts of time and money into perfecting their entries. A model has to win its way into the NAN just as real horses must qualify for their championship shows.
NAMHSA recognized model horse shows nation wide must meet general standards for the hobby as far as conduct and procedures. The country is divided into regions, with representatives helping keep the hobby organized and represented with the national board.
Each show develops its own class list, subject to NAMHSA approval. First and second place ribbon winners in each class earn a ticket that qualifies that model to be entered in that type of class at NAN either that show year or the next. This gives the owner the option of going to Kentucky or the alternate location. Having a NAN in Harrisburg is the first chance that model showers in the northeast have had to win a championship close to home.
Having the NAN in Harrisburg is also an incentive for more show organizers in Pennsylvania and surrounding states to put on NAMHSA recognized events. Hertzog has hopes that the 2013 NAN will be a big one for the hobby, proving that the northeast is ready and willing to support a championship.
For more information about the hobby or to find a NAMHSA recognized model horse show, visit the Web site at www.namhsa.org