Welcome to

Rocking Horse Ireland

Poles, Dublin Road, Cavan, Ireland
phone 00353494361873 - 00353863752779. e-mail bradpatrick@eircom.net

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Large Oak with finish

with mane and bridle added

Large Oak complete

Rocking horses are more than a great toy for a child; they are a distinguished piece of history! In fact private
collectors and museums currently display some dating back to the 17th century, including one once owned by
King Charles the First of England when he was a child.

Although rocking horses became prominent during the Georgian and Victorian periods of England (where it subsequently became popular in America), it is believed that crude toy horses placed upon wheels were made
for children as far back as ancient Greece and Egypt.

The first known incarnations of a true rocking horse with a semi-circular base were created in the seventeenth century. While they introduced rocking to the world of toy horses, it wasn't until the eighteenth century that the horses became grand affairs created by the hands of master craftsmen. It was during the eighteenth century
that rocking horses started taking significant root in America, and in fact in 1880 an American company
based in Cincinnati, Ohio (P.J. Marqua) was the next to release a significant advance in rocking horses: their patented swinger base.

The swinger rocker held an advantage over the traditional bow rocker because it needed far less space to use. Bow rockers steadily move forward as the child rocks, whereas the swinger rocker stands in place.
Not only did it require less space, it was safer to use.

It wasn't until the industrial revolution that the popularity of these horses exploded. Although part of this can
be attributed to cheaper production costs. This growth was stopped short during World War I due to the lack
of men available to build them, and the Great Depression, due to the poor economic conditions.
The rocking horse never did return to its hey-days of old, and in fact were almost completely extinct around
the 1960's. But there is an increasing quantity of craftsmen returning to the rocking horse art, restoring the
old pieces and creating new works of art that will be valued for decades to come.

At Rocking Horse Ireland we carry on the tradition of old, but add new details such as muscle definition and realism to our carvings.

© Patrick Bradley 2012