It is believed that children as far back as ancient Greece and Egypt enjoyed crude toy horses mounted on wheels. Interestingly, knights and warriors practiced jousting and swordsmanship on wheeled horses back in the Middle Ages. I wonder who made their horses?
In medieval times hobby horses or broomstick horses became popular children’s toys.These were fake horse heads placed at the end of a long stick.The child placed the stick between his legs and “rode” the horse.
The stick horses gave way to barrel horses made of a circular log supported by four legs with a fake head on one end of the log. This was an improvement on the stick horse.But it was in the 17th century that the horse on a rocking base began.And then in the 18th century they started to become the beautiful creations at the hands of craftsmen.
In Britain the Industrial Revolution brought about an aspiring upper middle class of people who sought after the rocking horses and commercial rocking horse making began. The dapple grey became very popular in England because it was Queen Victoria’s choice. London’s rocking horse makers led the world at that time thus spreading its popularity.
It is an interesting fact that the alternative to the “rocking” horse was patented by an American named P.J. Marqua of Cincinnati, Ohio in 1877.It was called a safety stand or swinger stand, a fixed static frame on which the horse swings.I call it a glider horse.
The growth of rocking horse popularity stopped during World War I due to a lack of men to build them and the Depression due to such poor economic conditions.Now there is an increase in craftsmen returning to the rocking horse art.
Below some of Jackie's mantel horse beauties