How I started making rocking horses

I have always wanted to make a large wooden rocking horse. The beautiful timber finish is just lovely. This is how I got started making rocking horses.

Of course to carve a horse you would need to study the anatomy of a horse. The body needs to be in proportion for it to look right.

Hold on! Rocking horses have been made for many years. In fact the rocking horse dates back to the 17th century. Someone has already done the study. This was a very exciting revelation for me. I could get going on making my horse. So in 2011 I started.

The plans I had called for specific sizes of timber so I sourced the sizes as required and Dobbin began to be formed. My long suffering family had to put up with regular reports of his progress. His head emerged, his body grew and his legs were shaped. This all went together and formed my beautiful horse. I had bought the timber in the required sizes so some was treated and some was untreated. This meant that Dobbin had a green tinge to some of areas while others were the beautiful untreated wood grain. Not a good look for a horse. I needed to cover this so Dobbin needed to be stained a lovely dark brown. I found a mane and tail for him. He was becoming a beautiful creature. He needed rockers, so rockers he got and after being fitted with a lovely leather bridle and a pair of glass eyes he was complete.

I stood back to look at what was my first formed. Wouldn’t it be good if he was just plain wood grain? No treated timber. He would look good if he had a muscle here and here, a tummy here, a rump here, more shaping here.

Oh dear, the need to make a rocking horse had not been fulfilled. I now needed to make a better rocking horse.

So I started to make Neddy. Having made Dobbin I now knew how the horse was assembled so I understood how it could be put together out of the different sizes of untreated timbers I found easily available. This was a hobby so I was sourcing timber from the retailers. So Neddy emerged and yes he was better.

It was during this period of time that I came across a tutor. Someone who could help me develop my skills and teach me new skills in working with timber. I learnt to use a lathe. This meant I could now turn poles to put Neddy on to a stand rather than on rockers. I am going through a wonderful adventure of learning which has meant the rocking horses have become a passion. It is very trendy to be passionate about something at the moment but I have to admit that I have a passion. Rocking Horses!!!

As one horse became two horses they then became three horses and then four. My family who had been watching this progress had now become a little concerned. How many rocking horses can the average family home contain? These are big horses. They do take up a bit of room although by this stage there were now different sizes. What are you doing?

Making rocking horses is a passion!

Wouldn’t one made out of different timber be great?

Macrocarpa, a beautiful golden colour. Old oak furniture? Interesting. Yes a lovely grain. “Oaken” made from recycled oak looks great.

Recycled Rimu looks great. I live in Northland in New Zealand so the ultimate would be a beautiful Kauri horse. My house is becoming over run. Luckily my long suffering husband is also developing a liking for rocking horses.

Then towards the end of 2012 the Palomino Rocking Horses were looking for a home. Is this where I am headed? Yes I want to do this but should I? This required much consulting. My tutor said yes, it would be a natural progression for me. Family? I think they were pleased at the thought there would be some direction to Shona’s Rocking Horse Stables.

So the Palomino Rocking Horses have joined Timberhorse Rocking Horses in Shona’s Rocking horse Stables. This is both a very exciting time and a very challenging time but mostly it has been fun as I have seen my rocking horses develop. I am very excited about the horses that I have made and those I have yet to make. Each one is special. The adventure is great and we will see where the horses take us.