Rocking Horses Gallop the Globe

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Once upon a time the Rocking Horses of the world were but few and all ridden by the children of the affluent and wealthy. The sons and daughters of dukes and earls rocked in preparation for their horse-riding days to come much as the young children of today’s world move about in toy cars and trucks. The nineteenth century, positioned after the industrial revolution and before the invention of the automobile, was the golden age of the rocking horse. While no longer as wildly popular as in days gone by, there is still a huge demand for this toy. Rocking horses are now produced all over the globe and are rode upon by children of many social ranks. They are produced in many shapes, sizes, and colours and from various varieties of wood and other materials.

A Rocking horse should technically be distinguished from a “gliding horse.” The former sits on bow rockers; the latter is suspended from a safety stand. The rocking horse market is divided into the cheaper plastic and metal mass-produced models and the upper tier hand-crafted wooden horses. It is also divided into newly-made and restored antique sections. There are small decorative-only rocking horses as well as the “kid-sized” for-use rocking horses. Some are incredibly realistic-looking while others are was basic or abstract in design.

One historic and famous rocking horses is the English traditional dappled grey. It was very popular in the Victorian era and one was purchased by Queen Victoria herself. Another of note is that currently most popular in Europe- a beech wood rocking horse that is well-made though not realistic-looking. It has mop-like strands for its mane and tail. Yet another rocking horse variety of note is the group of Indian War Pony rocking horses manufactured in Texas.

Australian-made wooden rocking horses are commonly made from the Camphor Laurel tree. This tree of Asian origin emits a pleasant aroma and creates beautiful wood-swirls on the horse. It is a strong and durable wood made more durable by the polyurethane protective coating provided. The wood is also resistant to insects and bacteria. High quality leather saddles for the rocking horses are made by professional leather-workers. To top it off, genuine horse hair composes the mane and tail. Australians have become world-renown for their highly skilled wood-working expertise, and those expertise are put on full display with these rocking horses.

Every kind of horse and even burro it seems has its rocking horse look-alike. The details of the spots, colours, muscle-tone, saddle-design, etc. of real life horses are all mimicked by their wooden counterparts. Rocking horses bear the peculiar designs of many lands and cultures: English, German, Russian, French, Spanish, and many more. The rocking horse is truly both a fun toy for children and a nostalgic collector’s item for adults.

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Children’s Rocking Horses Unleash the Power of Imagination

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The graceful speed and agility, courageous power, the intelligent cooperative spirit, and protective devotion of the horse have always captivated the imagination of mankind. Indeed, this beautiful creature has enchanting qualities that have inspired the dreams of even the most practically tempered humans. Even the most pragmatic people have enjoyed imagining the horse with wings, a horn, magical powers, and performing the most fantastic of feats in historical dramas and legendary stories. This intangible quality of inspiration may be the most magical power that this exquisite creature does indeed possess.

Toy horses have been unearthed that date back through the millenniums, and are found in all cultures that have been graced to interact with these wonderful creatures. Rocking horses are the pinnacle horse toy, as the rocking horse can be both admired visually and ridden.

It is believed that the rocking horse was created to acclimate and prepare children to ride real horses in an era of time that saw horses as the primary means for transportation. Thus, the practice of hand-crafting rocking horses from fine wood is a noble tradition with very practical roots in the necessities of a social structure that is still relevant today. For, while the horse is no longer the primary means of transportation in most modern societies, this lovely and majestic creature remains a treasured member in the households of many families.

The Wooden Rocking Horses of Australia Company produces fine hand-crafted rocking horses from the heartwood of the fragrant, antibacterial, and pest repellant camphor laurel tree. These finely crafted hardwood pieces are not only durable, but extremely beautiful. The grain textures of camphor laurel are crafted into exquisite swirling patterns that grace these one-of-a-kind rocking horses with traits and personalities as individual and unique as their flesh and blood counterparts.

These beautiful rocking horses are then finished with durable polyurethane that pulls forth the details of the grain and maintains the natural luster of the wood. This polyurethane coating will not chip, peel, crack, cloud, or change color with time, and protects the wood from warping due to exposure to extreme weather conditions.

The flowing manes and tails of the rocking horses produced by Wooden Rocking Horses of Australia Company are crafted from real horse hair, and the saddles, bridles, and stirrups are hand-crafted from fine quality leather by a professional saddler making these rocking horses examples of fine art as well as sturdy and practical toys. In fact, these substantial and finely crafted pieces can be passed from one generation of delighted youths to the next, and make awesome family heirlooms.

There are few things in life more rewarding than watching a child’s delight as their imagination soars while riding a wooden rocking horse. These precious moments tend to also unleash the imagination of the observer, and resurrect memories of their own youthful wild-romping-rides of fanciful imagination. The rocking horse taps into the inner-child of both young and older people, and that truly is magic.

Thus, the purchase of these one-of-a-kind hand crafted rocking horses is an investment that rewards the purchaser with dividends of joy, enchantment, and flights of imagination for generations to come. Such is the power of this finely crafted rocking horse.

Why not purchase two horses and share the ride with the youthful adventurer? One may discover the seeds of an author or an artist as each new adventurous story unfolds, one day after another. By sharing the adventure, one can nurture the story, and thus encourage the child’s creativity. Who knows, one may even find oneself inspired to write an adventurous story or two.

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Rockin’ Old Horses

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For over 3,000 years, kids have been riding rocking horses. Though the sale and demand for toy rocking horses has declined due to the shifts in children’s interests, there are plenty of enthusiasts around the world who value rocking horses – contemporary and antique. Along with being a safe investment, rocking horses provide a link to the past.

Antique Rocking Horses

Antique rocking horses can be found in the U.K., Europe, the U.S. and Australia. Collectors value different things about the horses. Some collectors seek out the quirky and unusual, opting for minimal restoration of the piece. Other collectors look for a solid form that can be fully restored and used by their own children. Both types of collectors agree on the importance of a few qualities when examining a rocking horse:

  • Identification
  • If the horse can be identified as having been made by a well-known rocking horse maker, the value increases. Some important names in the world of rocking horses include: F.H. Fyres, Lines/Triang and the Collinson family.
  • Bow
  • The familiar, gently-curved wood on the bottom of many rocking horses is called a bow. Antique collectors seek sturdy, flaw-free bows.
  • Swing Stand
  • The more modern, swing stand base of antique rocking horses is also sought after both for its design and its functionality.
  • Size
  • Size is a factor for collectors. Those with large spaces can make a statement with a giant horse, some nearly 1.5 meters tall! Collectors with more modest spaces might stick to toy-sized rocking horses or horses designed for very young children.
  • Head and Face
  • The horse’s head shape and facial expression are key in investors’ buying decisions whether they plan to restore the rocking horse or not. The most valuable horses have an elegant, lifelike quality.

Before you start your collection there are additional considerations. Are you looking to acquire a holiday decoration? Make a design statement? Make an interesting investment? These are all solid reasons to begin a collection. While not rare, antique rocking horses are not abundant, nor are they cheap. Deal with a reputable restoration artist/dealer when considering a purchase.

Do your tastes run more to the modern? Seek out a rare Trevor Wiffen rocking horse from the 1970/80‘s or a 1950‘s American rocking horse manufactured to feed a generation’s love of all-things-cowboy.

If you are looking to make a child-friendly statement in your home or, if you want children to actively play on the horse, an antique horse, even a “modern antique” might not be the right choice. For one thing, they’re old! The paint may not be child-safe. Other flaws that come with age might be exaggerated by rough play. If this is your situation, consider one of the modern artists making rocking horses for today and the future. These handcrafted, modern horses are a safe, beautiful addition to your family.

Dainty or funky, restored or proudly original, antique or new, starting a rocking horse collection will provide you and your family with a nostalgic connection to the past and a link to future generations. Happy Trails!

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Why Australians Soar in Wood Craftsmanship

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Timber is big business in Australia. Not only are there various soft woods and hard woods grown in different regions of the continent, but timber is prevalent in design and innovation. A certain amount of pride resonates from Australia on being technically advanced and skilled on this subject, respecting the qualities of nature’s finest sustainable resource.

Education for Serious Woodcrafting

From the time Australian children begin school, learning to sustain our planet becomes an important way of life. Utilizing renewable resources, such as reusing different types of wood, introduces students on how natural products can continue to enhance enhance daily living. Education centres and classes, sponsored by various schools and organizations, make the art of working with wood, even more prevalent. When natural resources, the right knowledge, and correct tools are readily available, a comfortable bond is easily made with what the earth has to offer.

Types of Wood for Projects

There are dozens of softwoods and hardwoods to select from in Australia, and many more that are imported from around the world. As the knowledge of timber grows, each species becomes an individual beauty in what it can deliver. Cedar and pine are softwoods that make good choices for handcrafting small items, while hardwoods, like oak, mahogany and camphor laurel, make long-lasting furniture. This is a crossroad where many artisans begin to prefer certain types of wood for individual crafts. Whatever the choice, a career in appreciating the properties of timber, is deeply ingrained in many amazing wood craftsmen.

Sustainable and Renewable Timber

One of the newest innovations of wood in Australia, comes from the camphor laurel tree that floods many residential communities. With big, strong roots, it takes little time for damage to occur in sewage and water lines. While thinning out these giant Evergreens is a necessity, pitching useful wood would be a sin to most environmentally-friendly artists. By studying the different cuts, durability and properties of this ancient tree, a new revelation has emerged.

Wood Craftsmanship with Camphor Laurel

It didn’t take long for artisans of wood to begin molding and creating this hardwood into beautiful works of art. One example, is the Wooden Rocking Horse. With well-established talents of tenderly shaping shoulders, realistic muscles and facial expressions, these beauties have caught the attention of the entire world. Other exhibits of tables and crafts are also in high demand, with the mesmerizing swirls of natural color that is found only in the camphor laurel species.

Far better than the loveliness of natural timber, are the skillful traits that are instilled in Australian artisans, choosing wood as their median in art. It is not difficult to tell the difference in a uniquely designed piece of furniture, made by a passionate wood-lover, and that of someone who considers this craft, nothing more than a job. Visit the work of the wood craftsmen of Australia, then compare to manufactured pieces that lack the intimate look and feel of furniture that is often passed down for generations.

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The Retrievable Qualities of Camphor Laurel

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If you are familiar with the story of the Ugly Duckling, you know that with time, and the right circumstances, near-impossible changes can occur. Such is the case with the Camphor Laurel tree. While standing alone, the majestic Evergreen adds tranquility and shade. However, this fast-growing tree creates havoc for fertile farmland, drinking up profits through powerful, thirsty roots. Suited for native mountain ranges, these massive 20 to 30 meter tall trees have become a parasite of massive proportion, in many populated areas.

How a Beautiful Species Turned Ugly

A natural product of Asia, the Camphor Laurel tree, or Cinnamomum camphora, was introduced to Australia in 1822, as an oriental beauty for parks and river ways. Unfortunately, this species does not share well and before long, other trees and plants were being starved to death from lack of water and nutrients. Thus, this stately tree, that was perfectly happy on the open mountains of Taiwan and Japan, became viewed as a common weed, needing to be plucked and destroyed.

Retrievable Hope for the Misunderstood

Camphor comes from the Camphor Laurel tree leaves and has many unique qualities. Manufactured as a spice, an incense additive and an ingredient in certain medicines, this species is far from useless. The wood also has a natural anti-flea killing substance and repels insects. One of the main ingredients of Eucalyptus oil, cineole, is attributed to Camphor Laurel. If all of these assets are not enough to deem this tree worthy, the quality of the hardwood is undeniably stately and sustainable.

The Swan Finally Awakens

Just like the Ugly Duckling that never asked to be black and awkward, the Camphor Laurel has finally been transformed into the great legacy that it deserves. By utilizing the qualities of this tree, while young and vibrant, for medicinal purposes and naturally removing pesky insects, the older species can also be put to good use. Instead of stripping forests and homes for wildlife, the Camphor Laurel is a perfect choice for hardwoods that make boards for building and artistic furniture. Sustainable, tough, insect repellent and naturally beautiful, Camphor Laurel is beginning to emerge as the leader in excellence, that it has always merited.

Many different types of furniture, today, are gaining praise over swirling colors of brown, rose and yellow that dance in the light of this quality hardwood grain. This timber is especially appealing when used by artisans, in crafting Wooden Rocking Horses. The aesthetic look adds texture and presence, along with the subtle scent of a crisp, forest morning. The Camphor Laurel was never meant to be taken from its natural setting, but has not changed in form or character. We are the ones that have begun to appreciate the retrievable qualities of an ancient master and what it has to offer.

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Welcome to!

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Stay tuned for our complete online webshop for the most beautiful wooden rocking horse in Australia! Australian made, from the native Australian timber Camphor Laurel, this rocking horse makes the perfect gift for any Ozzie kid boy or girl!

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