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Rocking Horses

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Rocking Horses

One of the oldest types of toy still around today, rocking horses are renowned for their intricate detail, grand designs and playful terms of use. Something we often see sitting in children’s bedrooms at museums and in images in history books, rocking horses actually first appeared in Europe in the 17th century and have since gone from strength to strength – influencing both indoor and outdoor toys designed for modern day children.

The basis of a rocking horse is simple – a carved horse, traditionally crafted from wood, sits atop a rocking frame which allows the user to side astride the horse’s saddle and rock backwards and forwards to replicate a form of galloping motion. There have been limited adaptations made to the original designs over the decades, but the foundational design of the rocking horse remains the same.

How have rocking horses been adapted for the modern market?

One thing our members should note if they are looking at true antique rocking horses is that the frame and structure tend to be very heavy and strong – ideal for durability and aesthetics, but not great in terms of providing a safe play experience for children. In fact, we tend to find the most ancient designs in museums and on show in homes rather than in toy rooms – as a lot of buyers view than as an antique decorative accessory rather than a toy.

As time has progressed, more and more rocking horses are being made from softer fabrics with strong frames covered with padding, making them the ideal solution for when your children engage in rougher play, or if they become a little overexcited and rock so hard that the horse falls over.

Another way to combat the horse toppling links to a second adaptation made to more modern designs; taking away the spindly curved frame which provides the rock, and opting instead for a more mechanical design which sits atop a sturdy multi-structure frame and rocks along a straight line. Buyers should note that these generally come in solid wood, just like the traditional rocking horses. The design does however provide a far more stable base for the rocking which, in turn, is safer – and a far better option for those looking for an aesthetically pleasing rocking horse which is also safe to use.

What to consider before buying a rocking horse

As well as the inevitable safety features, it is also worth considering where your rocking horse will live and how the desired environment could impact the ideal aesthetic design you choose. For example some of the most popular wooden rocking horse designs encompass dark wood and realistic details – some even boasting real horsehair, though these are very premium designs which come with a high price tag – which could look out of place in a very neutral and minimalist home. Having said that, members should note that sometimes a minimalist and modern home can benefit from decorative touches, and when suitable located a rocking horse can provide a really interesting focal point for a living space or hallway.

Other considerations include size, the strength of the horse and whether sitting on it might break it (a fact which should be enough to keep it out of the way of children) and any small parts which children could accidentally break off and/or swallow. For the best selection of rocking chairs, first determine what it is you want from the chair – for example is it for children to play on, in which case you need a modern softer design from a high street retailer – or is it for decorative purposes, in which case we recommend heading for antique and second hand retailer stores for more traditional designs.

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