|On my new rocking horse, "Billy" |
- note mother hiding on the left holding me on!
|Cowgirl Cassandra on Billy at age 3.|
|Billy ridden by a young friend...|
Rocking horses first appeared in Europe, notably in Germany, in the seventeenth century and were especially popular in England during the Georgian and Victorian eras, when only the wealthiest of parents could afford such a luxury. These elaborately handcrafted masterpieces, featured leather saddles and bridles, glass eyes and real horsehair manes and tails and were believed to help develop children's' balance for riding real horses.
Rocking horses were also produced in the United States, as well as in Europe, during the Victorian & Edwardian eras, as the Industrial Revolution introduced a larger and more affluent middle class as well as less expensive productions costs. In 1880 a Cincinnatian invented and patented the “Safety Stand” or swinger base, which largely replaced the curved “bow” rocker of early years. Many antique tin-types, cabinet cards, and early black and white photographs of children and their rocking horses can be found in both the U.S. and in Europe.