As collectors, fans and lovers of Breyer horse models, I am sure that you have noticed by now that over time that once beautiful white horse may just be looking a little bit dull, maybe even yellow.  Some of us may have horses whose manes and tails were sparkling white, but now they just look dirty.  Years in storage can cause our precious ponies to lose their luster so, what’s a person to do to breathe new life back into our filthy ponies that we love so much?

Well, you are going to be glad to know that there is a simple procedure you can do to brighten up those whites on the model horses we cherish.  Let’s look at what Taylor Belle did when she was lucky enough to find two Running Foals at an estate sale in Seattle, Washington. 

Taylor said, “The fun story about these guys is that they were found in a marketplace lot with several other of the era Breyers (charcoal fighter, FAS, FAM, FAF appy, FAS palomino, western pony).  They had been given to the owner of the estate as a gift in 1965!” 

As any good Breyer “mom” would do, Taylor decided to wash the alabaster foals and then she sat them in a sunny window in her barn for one week.  Look at the amazing before and after pictures below!  That was a great idea, Taylor, and the results are nothing short of stunning!  I thank you for sharing those pictures with us.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and they weren’t kidding. If you feel that you’ve tried everything to whiten up the whites on your ponies, try giving them a sun bath for a week or two and see if your ponies look as good as they did on the first day you brought them home. This is also a good practice if you are preparing to show a model that you just felt wasn’t looking his or her best. 

Some tips on washing your models:

  1. Use warm or room temperature water, not hot, as some finishes can be damaged.
  2. Use mild soap.
  3. Do not submerge your model.  We like to say “keep his head up” because that is where the air hole is usually located in the nostril or corner of the mouth and if water gets inside, you may not get it all back out, which can cause mold to grow.
  4. Gently rub with soft cloth.  Don’t use scrubbies or anything abrasive because it can remove the paint.
  5. And never use alcohol on your ponies to remove any type of rubs or marks!  I learned this the hard way and now I have an unusual white spot on my horse… whoops!

Here are a few precautions to remember if you are giving your ponies a sunbath:

  1. Make sure they are in a protected area where no animals, thieves or damage can come to them.
  2. Don’t forget to “bake” both sides! 
  3. If your model has pink in its ears or on the muzzle, you can expose it for a week or so, but if it needs longer to bathe, use painter’s masking tape on these pink areas to keep the sun from completely bleaching them away. 
  4. Keep in mind that some older models do not have an air hole, therefore they cannot withstand long periods of high temperature.  These models may split at the seams as a result.

Now, you no longer must hide that ugly, yellowed, discolored model on the back shelf.  You can buy with confidence when you see a model that needs rescuing and some TLC knowing that you can clean and brighten it up.  Let your white models step out into the light and shine. 

Please leave me comments and photos of restorations you have done with your model horses.  I would be happy to feature you here on my blog.  If you would like to keep up with what Taylor is doing, feel free to follow her here! Have fun brightening up your ponies and be sure to share your before and after photos with us!