This Woman's House Is Chock-Full of Horse Memorabilia

Posted by Allie Layos
horse home
Times Republican

This Iowa home may contain the largest collection of horse memorabilia assembled. 

Mary Jefferson's home in Marshalltown, Iowa, is the end result of a lifetime of collecting horse memorabilia.

"When I was about 10 or 11 years old, I stopped playing with toy horses and started collecting them," Jefferson said in an interview with the Times Republican.

The horse that started it all is a toy named Trigger, named after Roy Rogers's horse.

"When I was growing up here, Osco Drug carried everything," Jefferson said. "I would go with my dad, and he knew where to find me - in front of the horse shelf. One day he asked if I would like one. It's an early Breyer horse, and cost $3.98."

She now displays over 3,000 pieces of memorabilia in almost every room of her house. This memorabilia includes scale model horses, figurines, sculptures, plush toys, Christmas ornaments, clocks, bookends, paintings, tables, lamps, plates, yard decorations, rocking horses, five full-size carousel horses and more.

vintage rocking horse

When she married her late husband, Dale, in 1961 she only had about 25 horses, and kept them in storage, but when she moved into her current residence in 1992, the built-in book shelves were too enticing. Her collection came out of storage, and continued to grow.

"I don't call it a collection anymore - I call it an addiction, but I have too many to stop now," she said.

Through the years, she has developed a bit of a system. Each item in her collection is grouped according to brand, theme or type, and each has its own special place in her home. Her horse-related ornaments, which used to overwhelm her tree at Christmastime, now find a home on two smaller trees that remain up year-round.

Though she is still adding to her collection today, she is quite particular about what she buys. She doesn't purchase horses with carriages, because they take up too much space, and prefers to shop in person rather than online, so she can hold and touch the items.

"If there's a horse in there, I'll spot it," she said. "It has to talk to me, it has to catch my eye. I might buy one horse item out shopping or 12-15."

Jefferson wrote to the Guinness World Records about her collection, but has yet to hear back.

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This Woman's House Is Chock-Full of Horse Memorabilia