Why Own A Rocking Horse?
Owning a rocking horse is more than just owning a toy. They are beautiful, handcrafted, traditional gifts which can become much loved family heirlooms, passed from generation to generation, becoming a part of your family history.
As displayed at Stewarts Garden Centre, Holt, Wimborne.
Room designed by Tamatha Fiander.
History of the Rocking Horse
Rocking horses have a long and rich history. Initially, they were no more than crude toy horses on wheels, which date back as far as the Ancient Egyptians and Greeks at around 400BC. The earliest English toys were round barrels mounted on wheels and it was not until the Seventeenth Century that the traditional bow rocking horse was created. The oldest known horse still in existence, (Circa 1610) is housed in the Victoria and Albert museum in London and belonged to King Charles I. After this, horses became more sophisticated with more ornate carving and decoration.
King Charles I was not the only royal to show favour to the rocking horse. Both Queen Victoria and King George IV also loved the creatures and gave them to their children.
In the Eighteenth Century only wealthy families could afford rocking horses. Many were bought to develop balance in young children prior to riding real horses. With the advent of the Industrial Revolution however trends changed as the richer Middle Classes began to buy them too. Sadly, during World War One the rocking horse went into decline as a result of a shortage of both raw materials and craftsmen. In recent years however there has been a great renewal in popularity for this children’s favourite.