As a child I remember the thrill of visiting the local toy shop and being mesmerised by the sight of all those brightly coloured toys just begging to come home with me, but what I really looked forward to was going to the lower floor of the toyshop "Maison Trio" here in Guernsey, because this was where all the beautiful rocking horses were for sale.
From a very young age I wanted a rocking horse more than any other toy. I was horse mad, and this was the closest I would probably ever get to owning the real thing. So with big eyes I would look longingly at the beautifully carved wooden rocking horses with their genuine horsehair flowing manes and tails, and would pester the life out of my Mother to buy me one.
Unfortunately these antique style rocking horses were quite expensive, and due to my Father's ill health he was somewhat out of touch with what things cost, so would never have agreed to spending this amount of money on a toy when he figured that a perfectly good Christmas present could be bought for a pittance.
In fact the closest I ever came to getting a rocking horse was when I was handed down a toy that belonged to my Sister, and consisted of a metal frame with a metal horse suspended on it from four springs, (one at each corner). A similar system to a trampoline you were meant to sit on the horse and rock backwards and forwards, difference being it was the springs that caused the rocking movement (accompanied by noisy squeaking from the springs themselves). Much later my Mother had a hobby horse made for me that consisted of a long pole of wood with a pair of wheels at the back and a wooden 2 dimensional cut out of a horses head at the front, a handle each side of the head to hold on to. The idea here being I could run down the garden astride this wooden pole and pretend it was a real horse, (not quite the same really, although it was a nice idea).
Years went by, "Maison Trio" the toy shop closed down, I grew up, and when I was 16 I ultimately saved up enough money to buy a real flesh and blood horse, (although that is another story in itself). I never forgot my longing for a wooden rocking horse though, and to this day I really want to have one in my home, even though I am now of course too big to ride one, and have no children to ride on it either. I would be happy just to have one as an antique style piece of furniture that I could keep for my lifetime purely to admire and for nostalgia purposes.
One of the problems we now have is that there simply isn't anywhere in our current home to put a vintage style rocking horse, so I will still have to wait until we can afford a house of our own in the future. In the meantime I still look longingly at these beautifully made rocking horses and wish I had one to admire in our current surroundings.
Ironically a friend of ours here in Guernsey has a shop called "Toko", and he brings all sorts of amazing handmade furniture over from Bali. Some of the loveliest pieces are the carved wooden rocking horses, although they are of a kind where they are on a frame rather than on rockers (fortunately no squeaky springs though). I very nearly purchased one of these when he offered a good deal to us as his friends, but eventually rationality won through as I tried to work out exactly where in the house we would display it, quickly realising at best it would end up in our attic bedroom and rarely be seen by anyone at all. I also considered that the kind of rocking horses I like best of all are the ones on actual rockers, as these remind me of Victorian Christmases and children in Victorian clothes giggling and laughing as they rock the horse backwards and forwards as fast as they can.
I hope that one day I will realise my dream of owning one of these works of art, ideally in a dapple grey colour with a long silky horsehair mane and tail, and with a leather saddle and bridle adorning it. Until that day I shall continue to stare longingly at antique rocking horses with the same big eyes I did as a young child.
The following images have been kindly supplied by Philip Brooks. He makes rocking horses and can no doubt help you out with your requirements if you are interested in having one custom made to order. He can be emailed on firstname.lastname@example.org
The Merry Morgan Mare featured below will ultimately have tack added, at which time I shall add the photos of her wearing it.
The Merry Morgan Mare
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 30, 2018:
Funny you should mention the plastic rocking horses with springs. When I was a child I had one of these, a dappled grey horse on a red metal frame with springs at each corner. Wish I had kept it now as it could have been worth money, although it isn’t the kind of rocking horse I obviously crave today.
Tom Cornett from Ohio on March 29, 2018:
Hi Cindy. Cool stories and pictures. I've seen a few rocking horses over the years at auctions and the almost always sell for a good amount of cash. Even the old plastic horses with springs can sell in the hundreds of dollars if they are in great shape. The antique ones are amazing artworks. Imagine the stories behind them.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 29, 2018:
If you have good pictures I can add them to the article Rcoking Horse Jazz
Rocking Horse Jazz on March 29, 2018:
Wish I could add photos of my horse here.Beautiful page.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on May 12, 2014:
I sold Diablo on sadly as he wasn't what I really wanted. Still hoping one day to get a rocking horse like I dreamed of, but prices are expensive (as you said) and money short right now :(
Rocking horseless as a child on May 12, 2014:
How are things going with your house/rocking horse situation? The prices on rocking horses now, unless exceptional in some way, are falling again as the Australian dollar is falling against the £. Having said that, the very lovely ones will still sell for several thousands of the large bow rocker type, but you may get lucky, and find one in an out of the way place. The internet means that very few bargains are out there now, as there are many people who spend all day looking for rocking horses on line. Good deals do come along, however, but I haven't had a really good buy in a long time-the ones I like are always expensive! Hope you are ok, is Diabolo still with you?
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on August 26, 2013:
Sorry Russia-Style , I don't allow spam on my articles.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 21, 2013:
I may be able to post a pic in a couple of weeks, but right now I am in Tenerife so it could be difficult lol. I believe Diablo would look better if his painted on 'wild' eyes, were chiselled out and replaced with soft brown glass eyes, although this could be expensive. I think you will see what I mean when I post the pictures. Anyway, leave it with me and check in again in a couple of weeks :)
rocking horseless as a child on March 20, 2013:
Poor old diablo-is there no way he can be made less ''diablo''-like? The Balinese really don't understand rocking horses at all. If you could change the eyes, maybe the horse would change his appearance-enough to find a buyer. Wish you could post a pic, so I may be able to suggest ways of making him calmer. The best British rocking horses have a ferocity, but it is very stylised. Sadly, an awful lot have poor [in my opinion]restorations, where they look so new, that they could be new! Mellow old paint is the ideal, not shiny! I was desperate for a rocking horse as a child, but had the good fortune of being able to buy them as an adult before they got ''popular''.Prices really took off since a book was written, and then the internet. Insane prices are asked now. One horse sold unrestored for £3k was given an unsympathetic restoration-a bit white and bright and plasticky-and was up at £6.5k. SayWHAT?!!!
Don't give up hope.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 10, 2013:
Thanks so much 'Rocking horseless as a child', sounds like you totally understand. My horse was made in 'Bali' and whilst the guy (sadly now dead) did a good job, my horse still looks evil lol. In case you are wondering, the shop could not get a buyer for this horse the second time, and whilst it was trying to be sold the shop changed hands. The new owner agreed to try and sell it until January, but after then he wanted the shop floor space back again. Whilst people did look at it, no-one offered to buy it, so in the end 'Diablo' came home again, and is now back in our living room. Guess I will have to hope that in the future we can find a 'good home' for Diablo and then we might have the space to buy a beautiful dappled grey horse with real rockers on it.
Rocking horseless as a child on March 10, 2013:
Oh Misty, poor you-I know exactly what you mean about wanting ''the right one''.
It sounded like your dear husband bought you one made in the far east?
Trad English ones on bow rockers are almost impossible to find at a reasonable price. Antique ones anyway, and often they have ''new'' bows-or are taken off ''swing stands'' and put on bows.
Swing stand horses can be fiery and dashing, it all depends on the make, but I do agree, one cannot beat bow rockers for elegance.
As prices stand, expect to pay about £2,ooo for even a small bow horse-and often these have been restored in an unsympathetic way.
For new horses in the old style, ''Legends'' do a good copy, and I saw one of their bow horses on ebay for under £2k, and it was a good size. Silly prices though. I really hope things will work out for you.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on September 26, 2012:
Sadly I have had to let my Rocking Horse go back to the shop to be re-sold. To be honest I realised our place really wasn't big enough for it and that although my Husband meant well, the rocking horse he bought me wasn't quite what I had in mind anyway. What I really wanted was a traditional dappled grey horse with a long flowing mane and tail, and on proper rockers as opposed to the ones on a wooden frame. The one he got me was beautiful, but it was red with ornate scroll type markings painted on it. The eyes were quite evil looking, with lots of white showing and were again painted on, as opposed to real glass eyes. The mane and tail were real horse hair, but were much too short, and of course the horse was not on rockers, but on a wooden frame. Over time I reluctantly decided it needed to be sold because of both the lack of space and the fact it was not the kind I truly love. I also need a new laptop computer urgently, and the only way to get the money together was to sell 'Diablo' (as I called him). Technically he is still mine, but only until a buyer comes into the shop who wants him. Perhaps in the future I will get one. It doesn't have to antique, just have the appearance of a traditional antique rocking horse.
Rocking horseless as a kid on September 26, 2012:
ah, so you did get your horse after all, and I too started out with a new one [made by Collinson]. My son that I wrote about [having trouble getting on the property ladder] has now got on the ladder....I had some ''rocking horse savings'' put aside in case a really wonderful horse came along [I collect them when I can] but son saw a ''First time buyers' scheme'' newbuild just a mile up the road.....so I gave my savings just so he could leap onto the ladder. House is so tiny that there is no room for his rocking horse, but it at least is his house with no landlord.
The situation with what I call genuine antique horses is getting ridiculous...the greed of the sellers knows no bounds and they want vast profits. I would say that I now only see maybe two or three [if that ] good rocking horses a year come up for sale, and those are of eyewatering prices I wouldn't pay on principle.
It is the Australian buyers who are forcing up the prices..they tend to have more money than sense, and buy without question, driving up the prices, creating a circle of greed in the dealers. The more the Aussies pay, the more the dealers ask....and it goes on and up, but there is surely a time when this insane bubble will burst. Hope so.
All the best!
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on December 25, 2011:
Sorry Julie, apart from the fact I live in Guernsey in the British Channel Islands (so it would cost more than it was probably worth to ship it here), my Husband has just bought me a lovely modern replica of an antique Rocking Horse for Christmas. I will post pictures on here soon :) Thanks for the offer though.
Julie on December 25, 2011: