The traditional wooden rocking horse has long been an object
of fascination for adults and children alike. Much more than mere toys, they
are treasured beyond childhood and handed down from generation to generation as
<< This old Ayers horse came to Australia on a sailing ship, entertained 5 generation and was restored in 2012 by Michel Mason of Woodcarver's Haven.
Do you have an old horse you would like to tell us about?
Toy horses have been made in various forms for
perhaps 3000 years. Rocking horses as we know them date from about 1750 for bow
rockers and from around 1880 for horses on swing stands. Bow rockers are still
made but they became less popular after the introduction of the swing or safety
stand: they take up a lot of space and can run over toes which is painful.
Rocking horses were made in hundreds of thousands from about 1870 to 1920.
There were hundreds of makers but sadly few were documented and so little is
known about them. This is why it can be so difficult to identify an old horse
because most have no labels or logos. They were entirely hand made and as these
mostly small businesses developed and changed their products, variations
appeared in the house style - making it even harder to put a name to some
Rockers declined in popularity almost in parallel
with the decline of horse drawn transport and few were made after 1940. Now
both antique and new rocking horses are again in demand and there is a good
choice of horse available.