Saturday, November 15, 2014

Back To Natural

A few days ago as I was going through old pictures, I was reminded of a bit of an "ethical dilemma" I'm feeling about a couple of custom horses that I created back then.  One of them was sold, the other I still have and he is nearly ready to paint... nut I don't think I'm going to do that quite yet...   

Many years ago I created and sold a custom of a "big lick" Tennessee Walking Horse.  She started out as a Stablemate G1 Morgan Mare  The pose was based on a picture I found in a book or magazine and it was not the typical point of the stride that is usually captured (ala the Midnight Sun Breyer mold), but was of the horse throwing a front leg straight out and not quite stepping with the back yet:

She was definitely a bit of an "unusual" little horse, when compared to others I was making...
...but she was kind of neat and I liked her pretty face

She turned out pretty (though of course - as always - there were things about her that I wasn't fully satisfied with) and her new owner loved her.  From a report or two that I'd gotten, she was showing well back then, even placing in a Workmanship class.

A picture her new owner had sent me from a show.  She had gotten a couple of ribbons that day.

I knew I had made another big lick horse around the same time, this one a stallion on the G1 Morgan Stallion mold, and I assumed I must have finished and sold him, because I hadn't seem him in a long time.  I knew he had been somewhat close to being ready to paint and I thought maybe I had done that and sent him off somewhere.  Then, while unpacking my old custom horses for the shows in the last few weeks, I found him.  He was packed away with my finished horses and a couple more who were nearly finished...



After looking him over for the first time in years, I found myself with a dilemma.  I've learned a lot about "big lick" horses since the days when I made those two CMs - plenty enough to know that I would never want to support or in any way endorse the practice.  Once upon a time I hadn't thought much of it, I just thought it was something else that those type of horses "did".  Although I do remember the first time I saw actual video of big lick horses, I was horrified.  Prior to that I'd only seen still pictures and I had no idea how grotesquely abnormal the movement really looked in action.  My thinking is, if you have to work so hard to get the horses to move that way, it's certainly not "natural" - and why would you do such a thing?  (this doesn't just apply to big lick horses, but other disciplines as well...)

I don't regret making these two - the first little mare was a pretty little girl and her owner seemed to be very happy with her.  I think back then a lot of us didn't really know what was involved in getting the "big lick".  We all loved horses and they were just another kind of horse, doing another kind of activity.  Now, a lot of us know different...  I've come across statements from many model horse hobbyists that say they won't buy, collect, create, or show big lick horses anymore.  I think that is a good thing.

So, I've been wondering what I should do with this little guy.  Jeff suggested maybe just throw him away (he is as disgusted with the whole big lick mess as I am), but I'm not sure I want to do that.  What I'm actually thinking is that maybe I will remodel him once again.  This time to a NATURAL running walk.  It will be another project, Lord knows I don't shy away from those, but it feels like the right thing to do.  I'm thinking this little one will "live again" as model of a HAPPY, flat-shod - or even barefoot - Tennessee Walking Horse... 


  1. I also have three old vintage Big Lick models.. 15+ years ago, I don't think many people knew any better. But we do now. Personally, I won't show them, and don't want to sell them either because I don't want them out there to be shown by others. I've thought about having at least one of them redone into a natural running walk, maybe hacking the other one up myself to practice remaking on. (The third will be staying as-is because it was my mom's first time trying to repaint a Breyer during our first trip to Breyerfest.)

    I really like the idea of you remaking your little guy into a natural, non-BL pose too. :)

    1. I only had one of them and I sold him a long time ago when I had decided to downsize some of my OFs. I do have another one now, as a body. He came in a Trad body lot I bought a little while ago. Right away I considered redoing him into a natural running walk as well and so far that's my plan for that one too. I think your ideas for the ones you have sound good. :)

  2. I am glad to see you and others standing up for what is humane and right. Have missed reading you! Glad my computer is up and running again and that you are writing once more!

    1. I'm glad you're up and running again too, I was getting a little worried! I just thought maybe you were on the trip to CO and back and that was why there was blog/comment silence. ;) I'm sorry to hear the trip didn't work out.