Special Brazilian horse breed honored in Olympic year by Breyer

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Mangalarga Marchador stallion Imperador das Aguas JM is this year's BreyerFest Carnival Celebration Horse.
Mangalarga Marchador stallion Imperador das Aguas JM is this year’s BreyerFest Carnival Celebration Horse.

It is fitting that in the year of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, a Brazilian gaited breed is the latest horse to be transformed into a Breyer model.

Imperador das Aguas JM, a six-year-old Mangalarga Marchador stallion, has been named this year’s BreyerFest Carnival Celebration Horse.

Imported from Brazil by owner, Claudia Bellandi of C&C Bellandi Horse Racing at Oak Bell Farm in Ocala, Florida, Imperador serves his role as breed ambassador by traveling the country performing demonstrations and meeting fans. Bellandi explains that Imperador is a barn favorite who is very sweet with people. She also describes him as a confident yet docile horse, some common characteristics of the Marchador breed.

Detail of the Breyer Imperador das Aguas JM model.
Detail of the Breyer Imperador das Aguas JM model.

“He has a lot of energy and loves to play in the paddock, but when you ask him to do something he is very serious and easy to work with,” Bellandi said.

The story of our Breyer Mangalarga Marchador began with the selection of Brazil and Carnival as the theme for 2016. “We were inspired by the Olympics, the ‘brio’ of Rio’s Carnival,” said Jaime Potkalesky, Breyer’s Event Manager, “and we wanted a new sculpt that was just as exciting.”

Breyer then turned to sculptor Sarah Minkiewicz-Breunig, whose recent work on the Connemara Pony was her first Breyer sculpt.

An experienced artist of all things equine, Minkiewicz-Breunig knew from the start that the Marchador sculpture would become one of her most challenging yet favorite sculptures.

“I love the Marchador breed! They have a special quality to them that I find especially pleasing. So many people are unfamiliar with the breed, so hopefully this new piece will raise awareness of both the Marchador and other South American breeds.” she said.

One of the qualities that makes the Mangalarga Marchador breed so unique is its famous gaits, the marcha picada (lateral) and the marcha batida (diagonal). Breyer wanted a clearly gaited sculpt with animation. When deciding on a pose for the Marchador sculpture, Minkiewicz-Breunig immediately thought of the marcha picada, which would demonstrate the Mangalarga Marchador’s gaited movement. “I’ve never sculpted a gaited breed before, especially one so exotic! It was a real adventure bringing him to life,” she said.

Imperador das Aguas JM
Imperador das Aguas JM

Imperador is marcha batida gaited, and throughout the sculpting process Minkiewicz-Breunig tackled a handful of challenges that came with such a unique breed.

“Getting the gait right while making the horse look like he was engaging himself was no easy task. His posture needed to be gaiting nicely but not tense, while also appearing soundly built with the look that he could go on for miles and miles,” she said.

Another great challenge was the model’s head and expression. “I studied many of their heads, and I noticed that they tend to be long and rectangular, with big, kind eyes and neat ears. So I came up with a head that featured all their appealing aspects.”

When the model was finally complete, Minkiewicz-Breunig was pleased with the result. “I appreciate the uniqueness of each particular breed, so it was a lot of fun to capture the body type of the Mangalarga Marchador, to really celebrate the breed in all its unique glory,” said Sarah. Her favorite parts include the model’s neck, shoulders, tail and especially his head. “Sculpting his head really pushed my skills, which I appreciate. His eyes are big and soft, with a sweet expression.”

Breyer’s first Mangalarga Marchador, Imperador das Aguas JM, will be available at BreyerFest with each three-day ticket. It will be the only release of this mold in the United States until 2019.

The Imperador das Aguas JM model.
The Imperador das Aguas JM model.
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