Discover  the WORLD of The Fine Art of Equine Figurines CHEVAL HORSES and PONIES
IN THE BEGINNING It all began back in 1990 when Johnny deBeer was asked to participate in a College fund raising  event near his home in South Africa.  Johnny has always had a great talent for sculpture, and with this and his love of horses, he fashioned an amusing comical Shetland Pony which he named Junior.  He made several Juniors for the fund raiser and presented them to the visitors. Very soon they were all gone. Sold out.  Not only that, but a number of people wanted to know if they could place an order for one in the future. Diane, Johnny’s wife, particularly enjoyed the event and decided that she would like to start a small business selling ponies to some of the Tack and Gift shops as well as attend craft shows in the area.  Johnny came up with another five designs and so “The Cheval Collection” was born. At that time, ponies only had a letter to identify them. J for Junior, G for Grinning, C for Collapsed, L for laying etc.  THE START OF A COTTAGE INDUSTRY. Quite a number of people were hired and trained in the finer points of making figurines.  (It takes about five weeks to produce a figure). The work has to be re fired a number of times and polished before hand painting,  The fettling and polishing  procedures enables the artist who will work on the figure next to have a beautiful primed surface for their artistry. Painters are highly skilled, not only in techniques but also in capturing the character and spirit of the figurine. One of our most gifted artists is  Sue Reece  shown here. Sue studied art at the Michaelis School of Fine Art in Cape Town from 1975 to 1978. Water color painting was always her favorite medium, specifically children’s' book illustrations and portraits of children and pets.  Johnny first approached Sue to paint for him in 1989. The skill of airbrushing was a new and exciting technique for her and she  loved the challenge from the beginning. The Collection of ponies was introduced into North America and UK in the early 90s and became an immediate hit. They were  particularly successful in Tack Shops and Saddleries  as well as high end gift shops. Eventually the Pony Collection numbered 14. Each Pony was given a name and sold with a “Certificate of Authenticity”. Quite a number of customers began asking if we could introduce a Collection of whimsical  Draft Horses  and very soon after, Gentle Jim was created....Later, Naughty Nancy and Sleepy Sally. Eventually the Draft Horse Collection numbered five. A Second smaller Draft Horse Collection was developed, but was never available commercially. Later, Donkeys, Cattle and Highland Cattle were introduced as well as a small collection of the ponies in miniature. Even a moose came along but was quickly retired. In hindsight, although the whimsical Shetland Ponies and Draft Horses were very successful, unfortunately, they did restrict the amount of time that was available to develop the more accurate and realistic collection of Classic Horse figurines. The creation of a portfolio of realistic Classic Model Horses had always been one of Johnny’s ultimate goals.  A couple of years ago, it was decided that after we were able to accumulate a reasonable number of ponies and draft horses for future sales, they would all be retired. At this time, we still have a good supply of Ponies and Draft Horses, but no more are being made. THE CLASSIC COLLECTION The Classic Collection  came along a few years after the Pony Collection and comprises of many popular breeds of horses and ponies. At this time, the collection comprises  Arabian, Appaloosa, Clydesdale, Freisian, Gypsey Vanner, Morgan, Percheron, Quarterhorse, Saddlebred, Tennessee Walking Horse, and Thoroughbred. Each one fashioned with great attention to detail and acknowledged to be among the most accurate Horse figurines ever produced.
Gentle Jim Agnes Dlamini and Margarate Zuma who do the slip casting and fettling work Cheval artist Home Ponies Drafters Minis Classics Donkeys Resins Bronze Contact - us
Click on image to enlarge