Guide to Customizing Breyer Model Horse Mohair Manes

Owning a Breyer model horse is fun, but what’s even more rewarding is creating your own customized versions! You can achieve some stunningly realistic and beautiful results by adding a mohair mane and tail, for instance.

To start with, you will need to collect some materials. First, you will need a painted model horse (wooden or plastic) and a shank of mohair in coordinating color, at least a foot long, perhaps two feet. It does not have to be a Breyer horse because these same steps will work with just about any brand of model horse. A glue that works well is Aleene’s Tacky Glue. You will want both a pair of embroidery scissors and another small pair of scissors with pointed blades (a set designed for children is usually small enough). You will use round toothpicks to poke the hair into place.

At the end, the really fun part is the styling – you get to comb and mousse the hair into place. For this, you will want to use alcohol-free mouse or spray gel (the kind with “extra hold”). Small brushes that work well for styling are a toothbrush, eyebrow brush, or a gun cleaning brush.

To prepare the model horse, you will need to drill a narrow trench down the neck (with some Breyer models, you will need to trim off the hard mane which is sticking out) and trim down the hard tail to the proportionate size of a horse’s tailbone.

Next, you will begin gluing in his mane. You will want to start at the withers and start with shortest pieces of mane. You’ll want to cut each piece one inch wide. (This is where the embroidery scissors come into play.)

Try to mash glue thoroughly into the ends of the piece of mohair. Then trim straight across and hold this straight cut carefully (use the regular children’s scissors, to keep from getting glue on your embroidery scissors). Dab glue along the edge and insert into the trench on the neck (remember, you’re starting with this short piece at the withers end). Use toothpicks to help push the hair in.

Cut a little bit longer piece of mohair, still keeping it about one inch wide. Repeat the process of trimming and gluing and pushing it into the trench a little further up. Keep going until you get to the top of his neck, where his bridle path would be.

Now you are ready to create his forelock. This will use three separate pieces of mohair. Cut them longer than you will want his forelock to be, using the embroidery scissors. Mash glue into one of the pieces, and trim it off square with the regular scissors. Dab on a bit more glue on the end of the cut. Stick this piece onto the forehead just in front of the ears.

Mash glue, trim, and dab on extra for the next two pieces, adding them just behind the ears so the ends hang down and blend with the first piece.

Now, you will create the bridle path, adding realism that transforms a model horse into a real horse, well not quite real but a lot closer anyway.

Take the embroidery scissors and cut a small amount of mohair into very fine pieces. Apply a thin layer of glue across the area you want the bridle path to be – think about the shape you want it to be and how far you want it to extend. Trace this shape with the glue.

Carefully apply the tiny, finely cut pieces to the glue and press them into the glue in a realistic way.

Allow the mane to dry for at least an hour. You can work on the tail while you are waiting.

You’ll start gluing at the end of the tail and work your way up toward the horse’s body. Measure the length needed from the end of the tailbone to the ground (or to the height you want the tail to end). Use the embroidery scissors to cut a piece of mohair slightly longer than this.

Work glue into the cut end until saturated. Trim straight with regular scissors and apply more glue. Stick the mohair around the end of the tailbone, so you make a layer of hair all the way around (not just gluing some hair to the top or the side of the tailbone).

Repeat this process just a little higher up. Keep repeating with slightly shorter pieces until you reach the base of the tail.

At the base of the tail, you will use three separate pieces. Measure and saturate with glue as before. Trim the middle piece into a V shape with the regular scissors. Dab on more glue and apply it to the top of the base of the tail.

Trim the other two pieces at a matching angle and apply one to each side of the tailbone. The tail should now be completely covered in hair. Press all the hair on securely with the fingers one last time. Let dry for at least an hour, perhaps overnight.

Once the glue is dry, you can carefully brush out the mane and tail (be gentle about this, so as not to dislodge your hard work). Trim any bits that are significantly too long. Wet mane and forelock with mouse and enjoy styling your new customized Breyer horse! Follow up with the tail. Once the mousse has dried completely, trim any remaining excess hair and use a damp cloth or a tissue to carefully clean up any excess mousse.

The results are stunning! This will take some practice, so start with some used or broken models and just have some fun playing around. Once you have gained some familiarity with the process, you’ll be ready to work from a brand-new Breyer horse. I’m sure you will want to try this again and again to craft unique collectible pieces admired by model horse lovers. Soon your friends will be asking you to teach them how to customize their model horses!