I Want to Buy an Antique Rocking Horse.
As a child I remember the thrill of visiting the local toy shop and being mesmerised by the sight of all those brightly coloured toys just begging to come home with me, but what I really looked forward to was going to the lower floor of the toyshop "Maison Trio" here in Guernsey, because this was where all the beautiful rocking horses were for sale.
From a very young age I wanted a rocking horse more than any other toy. I was horse mad, and this was the closest I would probably ever get to owning the real thing. So with big eyes I would look longingly at the beautifully carved wooden rocking horses with their genuine horsehair flowing manes and tails, and would pester the life out of my Mother to buy me one.
Unfortunately these antique style rocking horses were quite expensive, and due to my Father's ill health he was somewhat out of touch with what things cost, so would never have agreed to spending this amount of money on a toy when he figured that a perfectly good Christmas present could be bought for a pittance.
In fact the closest I ever came to getting a rocking horse was when I was handed down a toy that belonged to my Sister, and consisted of a metal frame with a metal horse suspended on it from four springs, (one at each corner). A similar system to a trampoline you were meant to sit on the horse and rock backwards and forwards, difference being it was the springs that caused the rocking movement (accompanied by noisy squeaking from the springs themselves). Much later my Mother had a hobby horse made for me that consisted of a long pole of wood with a pair of wheels at the back and a wooden 2 dimensional cut out of a horses head at the front, a handle each side of the head to hold on to. The idea here being I could run down the garden astride this wooden pole and pretend it was a real horse, (not quite the same really, although it was a nice idea).
Years went by, "Maison Trio" the toy shop closed down, I grew up, and when I was 16 I ultimately saved up enough money to buy a real flesh and blood horse, (although that is another story in itself). I never forgot my longing for a wooden rocking horse though, and to this day I really want to have one in my home, even though I am now of course too big to ride one, and have no children to ride on it either. I would be happy just to have one as an antique style piece of furniture that I could keep for my lifetime purely to admire and for nostalgia purposes.
One of the problems we now have is that there simply isn't anywhere in our current home to put a vintage style rocking horse, so I will still have to wait until we can afford a house of our own in the future. In the meantime I still look longingly at these beautifully made rocking horses and wish I had one to admire in our current surroundings.
Ironically a friend of ours here in Guernsey has a shop called "Toko", and he brings all sorts of amazing handmade furniture over from Bali. Some of the loveliest pieces are the carved wooden rocking horses, although they are of a kind where they are on a frame rather than on rockers (fortunately no squeaky springs though). I very nearly purchased one of these when he offered a good deal to us as his friends, but eventually rationality won through as I tried to work out exactly where in the house we would display it, quickly realising at best it would end up in our attic bedroom and rarely be seen by anyone at all. I also considered that the kind of rocking horses I like best of all are the ones on actual rockers, as these remind me of Victorian Christmases and children in Victorian clothes giggling and laughing as they rock the horse backwards and forwards as fast as they can.
I hope that one day I will realise my dream of owning one of these works of art, ideally in a dapple grey colour with a long silky horsehair mane and tail, and with a leather saddle and bridle adorning it. Until that day I shall continue to stare longingly at antique rocking horses with the same big eyes I did as a young child.
The following images have been kindly supplied by Philip Brooks. He makes rocking horses and can no doubt help you out with your requirements if you are interested in having one custom made to order. He can be emailed on firstname.lastname@example.org
The Merry Morgan Mare featured below will ultimately have tack added, at which time I shall add the photos of her wearing it.