Making the Horse–The Body



See the next step in the process here: Making the horse—the details, mane, and tail


Here, Rebecca is making a bay, a brown horse with black points. Rebecca uses another horse as a sizer, since the new horse will be used on a diorama, and all the horses need to be generally the same size. We have learned to use just one horse or cat as a sizer for a given diorama, so all are based off of a universal standard. Otherwise, they will gradually get bigger and bigger or smaller and smaller.

A key to making a horse look right is getting the proportions right. Seen from the side, a horse’s body and legs can fit in a square. In the video, you can see Rebecca constantly measuring the length of the legs against the length of the body. Another rule of thumb is that two heads reach from chest to about halfway through the haunch. In other words, the body is a little bit longer than twice the length of the horse’s head. You can also see Rebecca measuring the head to the body a couple of times.

It’s hard to see in the video, but Rebecca also measures the wire for the legs to the horse’s body. It ends up being two heads long (chest to halfway through the haunch). This way, the wire will not poke through the horse’s shoulder or back, but it will be long enough to go deep into the horse’s body.

We use telephone wire inside the legs to prevent them from drooping in the oven. It’s easy to bend, so it’s easy on our fingers. Since the horse will be baked, we don’t need the wire to be strong enough to support the horse’s weight, as a clay horse would need (hence using toothpicks as supports for them). The wire gives the added advantage that if a leg is broken, it won’t actually fall off. This is also why we put wire in the base of the tail. Rebecca uses a second wire in the tail so it’s less likely to bend and break off while baking.