Saturday, November 18, 2017

Buffalo and a Black Colt

Research reveals I have promised several blog posts in the past.  It also reveals I could very well combine a few.  This will be my first attempt in that direction.  (It would be so wonderful to be caught up... on anything!)  First I'd like to look at my new Buffalo from Black Horse Ranch; then let's take a look at a teeny black China Foal who is one of my two greatest model horse stories ever!

(Grammatically that should be "which is" but we're model horse people, so the horse is a who!)

When last seen, my buffalo collection numbered nine.  There is a blog post about them:  Buffalo Conga
This picture from it shows them in roughly the order in which Breyer released them.  It's not quite correct because the White should be 4th from left, but otherwise it's correct:
Imagine my pleased delight when, last year (2016), I went through the BHR line and spotted an unusual buffalo.  The moment I saw him I knew he was for me.  Collecting non-horses is for the fringe, yet I have always loved this mold; I had one when I was a kid.  This buffalo was a rare light brown with fantastic shading.  When I emerged back into the hall at BreyerFest waving my prize, I actually got a cheer from the crowd.

I now have 4 of the #76, Breyer's Buffalo, sculpted by Chris Hess.  This huge old mold was released from 1965 to 1991, one of the longest runs of any Breyer.  Clearly my new buff, on the right, is a lighter version of the "early shaded" (second from right), just as the red-chestnut buffalo is a lighter version of the "later red," on the left.
Look at the variation!  The earlier ones had what amounts to dorsal stripes.  They also had what I'm choosing not to show, shading on the genitalia (which is not that realistic.  Hess only knew horses, I suspect).  As noted in my previous post, all #76s had white horns.  Except for Choc the glossy 2002, no other buffalo (who is not white) has had white horns.

My darkest and oldest (darkest head) has the equivalent of "eye whites," an outlining of the mouth and nostril:
I swear I did not put those there!  Just another oddball feature of early Breyers...
Here's a side view of my oldest and darkest, showing the shading.  Forgive the slight out-of-focus.  Note the white stifle area:

A side view of my new light-brown from-BHR.  Note the shading stripes on the shoulder, neck and head, and particularly the black nose and muzzle.
Side view of the lighter of the chestnuts.  Andrea Gurdon of Breyer History Diva has commented on this color phase in her blog,  Chestnut Buffalo.  I think of it as analogous to the cinnamon phase of the black bear.
Side view of my darkest red.  Almost a liver chestnut, with reddish highlights.

I have since come across pictures of Karen Grimm's grey buffalo.  I know these exist, and ID Your Breyer claims they are from the 1970s.  Maybe some day I will have an opportunity.  I'd rather come across a Woodgrain, but I know those are even rarer.  Probably the future of my conga rests with repaints, and whatever weird decorator-inspired ideas Breyer can come up with...
Here's all ten:
It's kind of hard to get a good photo that shows all of them.

And now for the Black Colt story!
We first heard of this guy in my Econlockhatchee post:  http://timarustarii.blogspot.com/2016/01/
To quote:
"I'm not normally a chinahead, but I collected these little Bone Chinas when I was a kid.  I have about two dozen stashed away or standing on the curio shelves in the downstairs bathroom."
"... I already had 2 of the black foal."
There you go.
This next photo shows both of those black foals, plus a number of my Bone Chinas.  Tucked away for decades, these few enjoy a precarious exposure hanging on a downstairs wall.  (My apologies for the dirt.)  The yellowish glue on the standing black foal is 'shoe glue,' hot gun glue, a family standard for broken toys.  The black mare to the left is their mother; there are 2 grey/whites, 3 bays and 1 pinto visible in addition to the 3 black Bone Chinas.  They came in families of Stallion, Mare and Foal.  If you want scale, the appaloosa in the right foreground is a Mini Whinny.
Bet you didn't know pizza-box center-discs were such useful platforms...!

The story of this black foal does begin in childhood.  I played heartily with my little chinas in the back yard.  We're talking roughly 1969 through 1975 here.

In 2005 or thereabouts, my father decided to replace a dying tree in the center of the back yard.  As it happened, his son-in-law, my husband George, was there at the time.  These two men were digging out the stump near where the old sand box used to be.  George was cutting roots with his shovel, piercing down into the sandy earth.  He had cut through them all, he says, when, finally pulling over the main trunk, he came upon the tiny body of a black colt.

"It was right underneath, and I'd just cut all its legs off and never realized it.  It must have been placed there on purpose.  I felt so sorry.  It was as though I'd desecrated a shrine."

My own memory is he told me he heard the 'clink' of a sound that should not have sounded.  Unfortunately no legs (or tail) could be recovered.  Further research reveals the planting date of the old tree in the very early 60s.  Although I have no memory of having placed a colt under a tree, it was entirely in character for me to dig and build horse houses in various landscapes.  I would have been doing it in many places in the back yard and later did it in the fields out back, and also further-out fields.  (Today one of those fields is the Dry Creek Trailhead of Boulder County.)  For the record, I never knowingly left a horse outside; but then, stranger things have happened!

What have those little eyes seen, over the long years sleeping in the earth?
The fuzziness of this photo is unintentional yet appropriate.  He is from another world.

Far from catching up on my blogs, this just opens more of them.  "One of my two greatest model horse stories ever" -- ??  The other is the story of GoldenEar.  Stay tuned, and thanks for your patience.

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