im Jacobs considers herself as the “showing half” of the “Tall Timbers Ranch model horse partnership” of Dover, Pennsylvania, and she has a trip to the dentist to thank for her introduction to the model horse hobby! She received her first Breyer horse--a FAM in bay--as a “pal” for her Marx Thunderbolt when she was seven years old. Other models followed as Christmas and birthday presents and as a reward if she behaved at the dentist. Kim had very crooked teeth as a child which meant many visits to the orthodontist, and, strangely, her baby teeth had long roots and didn’t fall out, so that meant many trips to the regular dentist as well to have her baby teeth pulled. Needless to say, her herd of horses grew steadily.
Kim started sewing tack for the various models when she was 12 years old after watching The Black Stallion Returns on television six times in one month, but she had no knowledge that model horse clubs or shows existed. The hardware store where her parents bought Breyer horses removed the models from their boxes for display purposes, so she never saw those neat little brochures that illustrated ALL the wonderful horses the company made, of any references to Just About Horses. It wasn’t until June of 1987 when she was attending York College of Pennsylvania, during another trip to the dentist, that she saw an article on showing models in a Muppets magazine and immediately subscribed to Just About Horses and took the plunge. She entered a few photo shows, and then her soon-partner Lenore--her mother--got involved. One day she was casually looking at pictures in one of the Just About Horses issues and said, “I bet I could make tailored riding clothes for dolls to ride on your models.” Her first creation was a tailored English rider on the Ben Breyer doll. Kim and her mother attended their first live show with a few models in the spring of 1988--The Mid-Atlantic Regionals (MAR) in Maryland--and their eyes were literally opened. Such models; such set-ups; such details!! Kim wanted to try everything!
Kim still had all her Breyers from childhood, but it was going to be a challenge to achieve the necessary level of realism that was required for live showing and for better photo showing. Her tack was well-made, but more fanciful and artistic than accurate. Funds for props or tack made by other people were non-existent, but she had kept up her sewing, and her college training was in art and design. From that first live show until the Atlantic Coast Model Horse Association (ACMHA) Live Show the following summer, she mastered working with leather, wood, paper-mache, beads, and a host of other materials, including broken jewelry and small “found” items. It was a tremendous feeling of satisfaction to be awarded Reserve Other Performance Champion for an Amish buggy and harness she had made on a horse Lenore had painted and wonderfully accented with two of her Amish-dressed people--all in small classic scale--at the 1988 ACMHA Show.
Since 1988, Kim has painted backdrops for photography, built endless props, jumps, and obstacles, made several western saddle and bridle sets and dozens of English saddle and bridle combinations, constructed around 90 horse-drawn vehicles, and made at least that many sets of harness. However, she soon discovered that her love and her forte was costuming and packing sets. In 2012 she celebrated her 25th year showing model horses, and in those 25 years she has sewn and embroidered approximately 150 Arabian costumes, 65 Native American costumes, 10 elephant costumes, over a dozen camel costumes, at least 100 miscellaneous costumes, and around 40 donkey or mule occupationally-themed pack sets. her costumes have encompassed everything from Medieval to Spanish to Asian to African to Ancient and Prehistoric, from micro-mini to one-sixth scale!! “Other Performance” has and always will be her favorite discipline within the model horse hobby. Six semesters of art and world history and Dad’s collection of National Geographic magazines from the 1920s on, have filled Kim with an unquenchable curiosity and admiration for unusual period or cultural costumes. She loves researching each project so she can understand why people of that time period or country dressed or rode a certain way.
Keeping pace with Kim's fascination for cultural and period costumes, her mother, Lenore, proceeded to sew at least 300 rider dolls. She especially enjoyed giving whatever victim she was working on a “personality,” especially poor, beat-up, unclothed, sometimes dirty dolls that are transformed into respectable-looking “little” people. She excelled in creating historical cavalry officers with intricate uniforms and lots of “decorations” and “court figures” such as England’s King Charles II. In recent years, serious health issues forced Lenore to give up much of her sewing, so Kim took over making the rider dolls using many of her mother's techniques and developing a few of her own, including resizing and sewing a doll’s joints back together. Mom continues to offer advice and encouragement. Kim is always working on something; a complete costume set may take anywhere from three weeks to three months to complete.
Kim does not have her own website, blog, Twitter, or Facebook connections nor accept custom orders, but she does periodically sell costume tack sets on the MH$P. Many photos of her work are featured on the IMEHA and MEPSA websites.
Photo credit, above left: Chablis White Neopolitan stallion customized from one-sixth scale Goebel Rearing Horse by Kim Jacobs in 2005. LOUIS XIV, THE SUN KING, CAPARISONED FOR A HORSE BALLET AT VERSAILLES. Tack created and hand-sewn by Kim Jacobs in 2010. King Louis XIV doll customized from a Ken Barbie doll by Kim Jacobs and clothed by Lenore and Kim Jacobs in 2010. All photographed and owned by Kim Jacobs.
Binky packing for a pirate
Gray Donkey Jenny; Country Artists 1/6th scale Standing Donkey. PACKING for Pirate Captain Stede Thomas Bonnet, a real historical figure. Tack, gear, and treasure by Kim Jacobs in 2010. Captain Bonnet customized from a Twilight character doll by Kim Jacobs; clothed by Kim and Lenore Jacobs in 2010. All photographed and owned by Kim Jacobs..
Biscuit packing happy collector home
Dun Ltd. Ed. Mammoth Jack Donkey resin created and painted by Carol Herdon of C.O.W.S. in 1999. PACKING for "The Happy Collector" who is returning home from Breyerfest! Tack, gear, and miniature Breyer boxes by Kim Jacobs in 2010. Brenda Breyer doll dressed by Kim Jacobs in 2010. All photographed and owned by Kim Jacobs.
Dashil in Modern Bedouin Style Arabian Costume
Gray Arabian stallion customized from the Proud Arabian Stallion by Barb Jones in 1990(?); haired by Kim Jacobs. MODERN BEDOUIN STYLE ARABIAN COSTUME. Created and hand-embroidered by Kim Jacobs in 2012. All photographed and owned by Kim Jacobs.
Zahlaad in Modern Bedouin Style Arabian Costume
Black Arabian stallion; SR Peter Stone Arabian "Cass O'Nova" MODERN BEDOUIN STYLE ARABIAN COSTUME. Created and hand-embroidered by Kim Jacobs in 2012. Arab doll customized from a Mego action figure and clothed by Kim Jacobs in 2009. All photographed and owned by Kim Jacobs.
Ayshah in Contemporary Moroccan Native Costume
Gray part-Arabian mare; Ltd. Ed. GSC Imports 1/6th scale Standing Mare CONTEMPORARY MOROCCAN NATIVE COSTUME. Tack created and hand-embroidered by Kim Jacobs in 2012. Native handler doll customized from a Ken Barbie by Kim and Lenore Jacobs; clothed by Kim and Lenore Jacobs in 2012. All photographed and owned by Kim Jacobs.
Olan Kaylah in 20th Century Native North African Tuareg Arabian Costume
Gray Arabian stallion customized from a 1/8th scale Goebel Rearing Arabian by Kim Jacobs in 2007. 20TH CENTURY NATIVE NORTH AFRICAN TUAREG ARABIAN COSTUME. Tack created and hand-sewn by Kim Jacobs in 2006. Tuareg doll customized from a 12" G.I. Joe action figure by Kim Jacobs and clothed by Lenore Jacobs in 2006. All photographed and owned by Kim Jacobs.
Ayshah in Napoleon Bonaparte trying Mameluke
Gray part-Arabian mare; Ltd. Ed. GSC Imports 1/6th scale Standing Mare NAPOLEON BONAPARTE TRYING OUT MAMELUKE TACK. Tack created and hand-sewn by Kim Jacobs in 2006. Napoleon Bonaparte created from a Dragon/Side Show action figure; clothed by Kim and Lenore Jacobs in 2006. All photographed and owned by Kim Jacobs.
Fruknahr in Marwari Wedding Processional tack
Gray Arabian stallion; Hagen-Renaker Monrovia Amir. MARWARI WEDDING PROCESSIONAL TACK. Tack created by Kim Jacobs in 2009. Marwari groom created from a Mego Fonzi action figure by Lenore Jacobs in 1998.
Zalinski in Polish Winged Hussar
Gray Wielkopolski mare; Ltd. Ed. GSC Imports 1/8th scale Walking Mare POLISH WINGED HUSSAR. Tack created and hand-sewn by Kim Jacobs in 2010. Hussar doll customized from 10" Fonzi action figure by Kim Jacobs and clothed by Kim and Lenore Jacobs in 2010. All photographed and owned by Kim Jacobs.
Alyanyah in Ancient Assyrian mounted archer of high rank
Black Ltd. Ed. Arabian Stallion resin created and painted by Elizabeth Bouras in 1998. ANCIENT ASSYRIAN MOUNTED ARCHER OF HIGH RANK. Tack created and hand-sewn by Kim Jacobs in 2011. Assyrian doll customized from Breyer male cowboy doll with Mego-style head by Kim Jacobs and clothed by Kim Jacobs in 2011. Weapons by Kim Jacobs. All photographed and owned by Kim Jacobs.
Fayzahn in Shah Jahan, Grand Mogul hunting with pet tiger
Gray Arabian mare; Hagen-Renaker Monrovia Zara. Beswick tiger with jeweled collar by Kim Jacobs. SHAH JAHAN, THE GRAND MOGUL, HUNTING WITH A PET TIGER, INDIA. Tack created and hand-sewn by Kim Jacobs in 2010. Shah Jahan doll customized from a Mego-style action figure and clothed by Kim Jacobs in 2010. All photographed and owned by Kim Jacobs.
WV Oneonta in Native American Sioux Woman's taqck
Bay Paint gelding customized from Breyer Lady Phase by Karen Gerhardt in 1995. NATIVE AMERICAN SIOUX WOMAN'S TACK. Tack created and hand-sewn by Kim Jacobs in 2011. Sioux woman doll customized from a Mego female action figure by Kim Jacobs and clothed by Kim Jacobs in 2011. Papoose also by Kim Jacobs. All photographed and owned by Kim Jacobs.
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