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Find The Best Rocking Horse

Updated on May 1, 2017
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History of the Rocking Horse

It was not so long ago that horses were our main form of transport, and if you wanted to get anywhere you had to ride or travel in some form of horse-drawn carriage. So it is not surprising that children have been playing with toy horses or playing riding games for many hundreds of years.

During the Middle Ages toy wooden horses on wheels were made so that children could play jousting games with them, but the first actual rocking horses did not arrive on the scene until the 17th century. It is thought that these early examples developed from cradles on rockers, and they were very simple affairs with a crudely fashioned head and logs for bodies.

Rocking horses on bow rockers developed over the next couple of centuries and the carving of the wooden body became more elaborate and the painting more accomplished. The Victorian Age and the Industrial Revolution led to the heyday of the rocking horse, and these are the wonderfully carved and painted toys with flowing manes and leather saddles and bridles that we all envision sitting in the corner of a Victorian nursery.

The favoured colour for these toys in Victorian times was dapple grey, and this is supposedly because Queen Victoria herself chose a dapple grey one to ride when she visited the firm of J Collinson in Liverpool in 1851.

These Victorian rocking horses were carved mainly from pine wood, roughly finished and then coated with gesso to create a smooth finish to paint on. One of the major innovations in their design came in 1880 when Philip Marqua introduced a safety-stand for them. These safety stands rapidly became very popular as they helped to create a safer riding experience for the child and did not require so much space.

With the development of new materials in the 20th century, they began to be made from plastics and stuffed fabric as well as the traditional wood. The design of rocking horses also changed and developed, with much simpler and smaller ones for babies and ones on springs rather than on rockers being developed. Colours also changed over time away from the usual colours of a horse’s coat like grey, brown and black, and you can now find them in bright colours such as pink, blue, red and yellow.

Photograph of Child on Rocking Horse
Photograph of Child on Rocking Horse | Source

Where To Find A Great Rocking Horse

If you have set your heart on a Victorian or Edwardian rocking horse, you can still get hold of these gorgeous antique toys at auction or from an antiques dealer.

If you are happy to spend a fair bit of money on a new one, you can still order a beautiful traditionally hand-carved and hand-painted one from companies in both the United Kingdom and the USA.

If you have a more modest budget one of the best places to look for a great rocking horse for your kids is online, and Amazon has a great selection to look through.

Traditional Wooden Rocking Horses

They are still very popular and you can order them for one of the specialist companies that make the, in a quality toy store or online. They are a great investment and you need to have a lot of space to show off these handsome toys off to their best advantage, but they are toys that can be cherished and handed down the family for generations. Choose what colour rocking horse you would like and delight your kids with their very own steed to ride.

Simple Wooden Rocking Horses

There are also much simpler wooden rocking horses that are made from varnished rather than painted wood. These come in a range of different designs from small simple ones that are low to the ground and very stable so that they are suitable for toddlers and very young children, to very modern, futuristic looking rocking horses that are great for older kids. They are easy to wipe down to keep them clean and do not need quite as much space as the more elaborate, traditional ones do.

Rocking Horses for Babies and Toddlers

You can also find some that are specially designed to be safe to be ridden by babies or toddlers. These are typically very low so that a very young child can climb in and get out easily and they have a seat or chair to sit in rather than the child having to balance on a saddle, which makes them much safer for the little ones. There are brightly coloured plastic rocking horses for infants, prettily painted little chair rockers and cute stuffed rocking horses. They provide hours of fun for your baby and really help them with their coordination and balance.

Plush and Character Rocking Horses

Of course, there is no reason why a rocking horse these days cannot also be cuddly and cute as well. There is a great range of stuffed horses on rockers on the market these days, so if you want a soft ride for your child that has a character as well, choose a snugly, plush rocking horse.

So, as you have seen, there is a huge selection of rocking horses available to choose from both in the stores and online. The right toy steed for your child is out there, and there is one that will be right for every age group and to suit every budget.

Before making a final choice though, it is important to assess how much space you have at home to fit a rocking horse in and which one would best suit your child’s needs. They make very special and wonderful gifts, and a top quality, carved wooden rocking horse can be enjoyed by your children and then passed down for following generations to also enjoy.

Copyright 2010 CMHypno on HubPages

Child on Rocking Horse Image Beinecke Library Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 2.0 Generic



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    • CMHypno profile imageAUTHOR

      CMHypno 

      5 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      It would be great if you could find your old rocking horse and do him up for your granddaughter. I love toys that can be passed down the generations, it makes them well worth the investment. Thanks for reading the hub and leaving a great comment

    • profile image

      shallowbrook 

      5 years ago

      I was fortunate enough to have a rocking horse, actually we had 2! The favorite was Spot. He was a running horse, on a metal frame, that had 3 springs in the frame at each end. Two poles from the frame into his belly. He was an exciting ride! I would love to find out more about him, and hoping he is in my dad's basement. I want to get him out and fix him up for my granddaughter. She will make 3 generations of riders! He had a mane and tail, removable bridle, red felt saddle pad, stirrups on leather straps, and a leather and vinyl saddle. I guess he was a little noisy to ride. But we spent many hours riding him or "hitching" the two of them to the upright piano "stagecoach". shallowbrook

    • CMHypno profile imageAUTHOR

      CMHypno 

      6 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      Have a look on Amazon for great rocking horses claire/8 and thanks for reading the hub

    • profile image

      claire/8 

      6 years ago

      i like the big rocking horse up thare. whare did you see it!!!!! $69.99?

    • CMHypno profile imageAUTHOR

      CMHypno 

      7 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      Hi Alison, thanks for leaving such a great comment. It would have been great to have had a traditional rocking horse as a kid, so they will be lucky children who do find a rocking horse waiting for them this Christmas morning

    • Alison Graham profile image

      Alison Graham 

      7 years ago from UK

      I love your picture of the Beamish Museum Rocking Horse. I would have loved one when I was a little girl, what a really lovely hub about all the different sorts of Rocking Horse available online, just in time for Christmas Shopping!

    • CMHypno profile imageAUTHOR

      CMHypno 

      7 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      Thanks for reading the hub about rocking horses dallas93444, and glad that you found the information useful

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 

      7 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      Vote up and useful...

    • CMHypno profile imageAUTHOR

      CMHypno 

      7 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      Hi Hello, hello - I used to love rocking horses when I was a kid, so I have to agree with you. Thanks for the read and the comment

    • CMHypno profile imageAUTHOR

      CMHypno 

      7 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      Thanks for the kind comment prasetio30, I bet that you really enjoyed your porridge when you were on your rocking horse!

    • CMHypno profile imageAUTHOR

      CMHypno 

      7 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      Hi Sandyspider, glad that you liked the selection of rocking horses

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      7 years ago from London, UK

      All children love rocking horses and made a great choice.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 

      7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      This stuff remind me when I was kids. My mom put me in rocking horses while feeding me a bowl of porridge. I love the history of rocking horses. Good work, my friend. Vote Up as always.

      Prasetio

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Great selection of rocking horses. I always loved these toys.

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