The horses in the Lakeshore Collection are made from a fine bisque porcelain, painstakingly decorated and fired many times over. The result of this "trial by fire" is an extraordinarily durable model horse -- Lakeshore founder Cindy Neuhaus is apparently well known for demonstrating the strength of her Lakeshores by attempting to scratch them or snap them to no avail. I haven't seen such a demonstration in person, but I understand that it's heart-stopping.
Lakeshore is an incredible little company. Founded in 2002, according to the Model Horse Gallery, its foundation horses are an Arabian (Status Symbol) and a Saddlebred (Miz Charisma) sculpted by Ed Gonzales, a hunter (Marshall) sculpted by Ann Harris, a stock horse (Touch of the Sky) sculpted by Laurie Jo Jensen, and a pony (Houdini) sculpted by D'arry Jone Frank.
My Houdini a.k.a. "Hoodoo McFiggin"
It was my purchase of this Houdini, though, that led me to seek out the Lakeshore Collection website and sign up for their newsletter, and it was the newsletter that brought me to my second Lakeshore, a custom-glazed bay sabino Touch of the Sky.
My Touch of the Sky a.k.a. "Highlights"
The wonder of the Lakeshore Collection is that they offer these horses directly to collectors at very affordable prices compared to most other clinkies. Heck, they're even cheaper than most plastic Stone horses and some plastic Breyers.
More amazing still, it's a one-woman business, obviously a labour of love for Cindy Neuhaus. I've only been following the fortunes of the company for a couple of years, and still I've been amazed at the number of limited editions they've managed to produce during that time. Even their "regular run" horses are limited editions, but with a limit of 1,000 pieces the regulars tend to hang around for a while. The more limited limited editions (also called special runs or special editions) go very quickly -- I've learned from experience that you only have a tiny bit of time to dither before they are sold out from under you, which is why, when I saw the sabino Touch of the Sky I jumped on the offer.
Both of my Lakeshores have names that hearken back to my childhood. The Houdini is named Hoodoo McFiggin after the hero of a Stephen Leacock story my father used to read to us when I was young, and Touch of the Sky is named Highlights after the 70+ year-old children's magazine. I also seem to be starting a kind of "H" theme here as well, so my next Lakeshore will probably get a moniker beginning with that letter.
And I have confidence that there will be another Lakeshore, somewhere along the road. At this time when clinky collectors are beginning to fret about losing small studios due to an aging population of craftspersons, Lakeshore just keeps chugging along. It's the little clinky company that could -- long may she run!