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Rocking Horses That Rock And Roll!

I have loved rocking horses and swan rocking chairs since I can remember.

Dapple grey is by far the most popular colour and most old rocking horses are painted to the same basic design. The dapples form a hexagonal pattern of white centres surrounded by black which fades out at the edges. The head, legs, and some other points also have black markings in specific areas. However each maker had their own particular and distinctive styles and their own base colours. For restorations, the original pattern should be copied if possible. Dappling is quite easy but it is

Restoring rocking horses - painting

A carved wood and polychrome decorated carousel horse early 20th century. Height 153 cm

A 19th century American carved walnut carousel horse, possibly by C W Parker of Fort Leavenworth, modelled in full stride with front legs bent and back legs out stretched, with carved saddle and decoration, lacking tail, with attachment holes. Width 126 cm. Depth 32 cm . Height 139 cm

This extra fine carved Ayres horse has always been called Trigger - his owner was given him new in 1931 and she had been inspired by seeing a western show in London featuring Roy Rogers and his famous horse Trigger ( the original Trigger was a palomino.) This horse was dapple grey originally but he and the stand have been overpainted and I haven't looked yet to see if there is any lettering under the paint on the stand. We think he was from bought from Harrods

A carved wood and polychrome decorated carousel horse early 20th century. Height 153 cm

A charming hide covered German platform / bow rocking horse. The skin is worn but with a replacement saddle and saddle cloth and a new mane and tail this will be less obvious. He needs new hide ears, the current leather ones are replacements. His lovely old bridle and bit are original. The platform and bows are worn but the original pin striping is clear. All the wheels are original and this must have been a top of the range horse as the platform edges are nicely moulded.

An Ayres horse from between 1900 to 1920 with most of his original paint and tack (including one pommel) surviving. The paint work on this horse has not been touched up in any way. One ear has been broken and glued on, the other had a damaged tip. There are a few cracks in the gesso and some small patches of worn surface but he is in fine condition for his age.

A carved wood and polychrome decorated carousel horse early 20th century. Height 153 cm

Restoration of an old Ayres rocking horse

Restoring antique rocking horses - original paint - If you are thinking of restoring an old horse, one of the most important things is to know what it looked like when new. Old horses have usually been repainted so unless you are lucky enough to have an old photo of the horse, this can be a puzzle. Clues can be found on many horses by finding the original paint.

A lively horse with a very unusual tucked in, turned and twisted head, together with an Arab-like tail. This horse gives a feeling of great movement. Dappled in a natural style on a green bow (which was very popular in the Georgian and Victorian era), he has havana leather tack with a cream fleece and numnah. Also available in traditional styles of dappling and natural wood finishes.