Sunday, July 24, 2022

Backstory: Hagen-Renaker Mini Clydesdale Foal

We know that Maureen Love, who designed so many wonderful horses and other animals for Hagen-Renaker, Inc. often sketched horses from life before creating her three-dimensional sculptures. But sometimes she worked from photos.  I believe the H-R mini Clydesdale foal is an example of this.

During the 1990s, I struck up a correspondence through the mail with Susan Renaker Nikas, who ran family-owned Hagen-Renaker for so many years before closing the Southern California company in December 2021. We had connected not just through my appreciation of H-R horses and animal figurines, but also through our mutual enjoyment of bluegrass music and public radio. An accomplished singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist, Susan played at the time in a band appropriately called Clay County.

In October 1992, Susan wrote to me that she was thinking of issuing a new miniature draft horse, perhaps a Clydesdale or a Percheron. She eventually decided on a new Clydesdale design by Maureen Love.  Here's a photo of versions of the adult Clydesdale, which debuted in 1993, and the foal, which debuted in 1994, from Ed Alcorn's Hagen-Renaker Online Museum website:

In August 1993, my husband and I traveled to England, where a friend I'd met through the model horse hobby took me to an agricultural fair near her home in the West Midlands. There, I photographed all sorts of animals. When I got home, I sent some prints to Susan.

Welsh Cob stallion; he came from Wishaw Welsh Cobs.

Some of the photographs were of Clydesdale horses. 

Clydesdales at a rural fair, West Midlands, England, August 1993.

Apparently the Clydesdale foal below caught Susan's eye. There was another photo of the foal trotting after its mother in the show ring, which Susan kept. In November 1993, she wrote to me that, after seeing my photo, she was going to ask Maureen about designing a foal to go with the adult horse.

The Hagen-Renaker Clydesdale foal was issued from 1994 to 2000. Susan very kindly gave me this one, which Maureen Love had signed.

That's the residue from dots of "Quake-Hold" on the bottom of the base and around the foal's hooves. I lost most of my collection of ceramic model horses during the January 1994 Northridge Earthquake, so I wanted to try to secure this foal on its shelf. Back then I didn't have access to Museum Wax. At least the signature is still visible!


You can find more information on Hagen-Renaker Tennessee, and the HR Collectors Club, here:

And here's a link to the Hagen-Renaker Online Museum:

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