Shaman’s Horse





April 2012
See my current artwork on Etsy

I picked up a rather beat-up old classic scale Arabian mare from a thrift store, stripped away the old, scratched bay coat, and sanded her seams and removed her Breyer logo. I then repainted her as a bright red sorrel chestnut with dapples throughout her coat (they’re more subtle than the pictures show), four stockings, and a stripe down her nose with a bit of a star at the top. Her finish is coated with several layers of acrylic sealer, and her eyes, nostrils and hooves have a bit of extra gloss added.

Inspired by my own spirit horse that I ride when journeying, as well as the tradition of such horse spirits, I created a costume for her–not based on any particular culture, but instead on what I’ve sometimes seen my own horse wearing, as well as others in the spirit realm. She wears a bridle (but no bit) made from hand-braided gold and copper embroidery thread. The saddle is made of suede leather from an old jacket, and is trimmed with red fox fur scrap left over from another project of mine. The girth of the saddle is just a bit loose to make fastening the hook and eye closure easily without scratching the mare’s finish.

On the back of the saddle are two hooks with flaps of fur over them. The hooks carry the shaman’s tools. I made a small drum, 2 1/2″ across, with real horse rawhide scrap left from drum making, a metal hoop salvaged from a vintage purse, and artificial sinew. The beater for the drum is a coyote toe bone wrapped with deerskin and artificial sinew, and the drum has a tight head and is playable (though it has such a little voice!) To balance this out, the other hook carries a deerskin pouch with a coyote claw stitched to it. The pouch carries the beater along with a glass marble and two polished stones, sacred items a shaman may use.

She is 6 7/8″ tall, and like all Classic Breyer models she is 1:12th scale.