Sunday, July 15, 2018

My First Hagen-Renaker: Small "Amir" Arabian stallion

Today is National I Love Horses Day, so I thought it would be appropriate to share my first Hagen-Renaker ceramic horse figurine.

When I was a young teenager, my penpal in Vermont first told me about the ceramic model horses made by Hagen-Renaker, Inc.  "I've never heard of them, "I wrote back.  She told me what she knew about them -- what they looked like, how large they were, what horse breeds were represented.  I set off on my bicycle one Saturday morning, to scour the gift shops in our town to try to find one.

The numerous tourist-oriented gift and souvenir stores carried Made In Japan (MIJ) horse figurines.  The tack shops and Western wear stores carried Breyer plastic horses. But none of the sales clerks and cashiers had heard of a company called Hagen-Renaker.  Disappointed, I peered in the window of the florist shop as a last resort. 

And my search was rewarded.  The brown and rust eyes of a white Arabian stallion looked back at me.  It was the Hagen-Renaker Designers' Workshop "Amir" standing Arabian stallion, usually called the "small Amir" because HR made a larger Arabian stallion with the same name.  He cost me every cent I'd saved from my allowance.  The shopkeeper wrapped him in tissue paper and put him in a paper bag, which I carried carefully as I rode home on my bike.  I seem to recall walking the bike most of the way, so as not to further endanger my prize.

My parents were aghast -- I'd spent four whole dollars on a toy horse?  I patiently tried to explain to them that this was "NotToy!" but rather an investment, and the expansion of my model horse collection past plastic and inexpensive MIJ horses.  This breakable creature was obviously a work of art.  

And indeed he is.  

The small "Amir" is still here, all these years later -- the first in a long line of wonderful "clinky" horse figurines designed by Maureen Love and issued in ceramic by Hagen-Renaker.  


  1. The small Amir was my first HR, too! Back in the mid 1970s a Purdue student was selling a mixed collection of MIJs, Hartlands, and the Amir. I had never seen one before, but I had heard of it, so I snapped it up. And, I still have it to this day.

  2. My first HR is the thoroughbred mare that I named "Little Bird". I love those horses and Amir truly is a work of art!

  3. Wonderful story of your first HR!