I bought two horses yesterday. As the weather is forecasted to be miserable today, they are currently stabled. At the back of the hall . . . Needless to say, these are not ones which need passports, worming or shoeing, but rocking horses from another age. Here is the Arab, Cobweb. Isn't he proud? He was apparently a top quality horse in his day, as he has extra muscles carved in, which made him a top of the range. He is possibly made by F H Ayres. Particularly as he has lost his lower jaw - this is apparently common in the Ayres horses, which had finely-chiselled heads. HERE is a facinating link to a rocking horse restorer. She seems such a nice lady AND she loves Arabs!!
He has seen better days, and lost his rocker - whether it was a bow or a safety style rocker I'm not sure. Probably the latter. As you can see, he is in a distressed state . . . he needs total restoration, and I don't think we shall be doing it, as it's a very labour-intensive business, as all the joints need to be secured, missing parts restored, coats and coats of Gesso applied and sanded down, a good paint job (dapple grey for him of course) and then there is the mane and tail and tack and of course the stand . . . I want him to be restored and loved by a new generation.
Here is his friend Tommy, who is earlier (probably mid-Victorian) on a narrow bow rocker and whilst he has lost his bridle, he still has his original saddle and one stirrup. He has not got anything like the quality of Cobweb, who is SO well bred!, but he has character by the bucketful . . . His conformation leaves much to be desired, as he has no length of rein whatsoever, but I expect he was a very comfortable sensible ride. (I am sure the high-couraged Cobweb bucked . . .)
Tommy, bless him, must have been in the starvation paddock with Laminitis as he has lost his crest . . . Any similarity to the Surgeon's photo of the Loch Ness Monster is purely coincidental . . .
Nor was Tommy best-placed in the looks stakes . . . He looks to be a home-made chappy, perhaps made by the carpenter on an estate for the children of the house? Looks apart, I know he has been SO loved. Just to look at him I feel plump little arms clasped around his neck, giving him a BIG hug. He has given hours and hours of pleasure. At some point, he has been reinvented in "grey" - perhaps in the 1960s when anything was considered old-fashioned if it was brown (furniture this is) and perhaps he looked a little shabby so he had a makeover. He has the remains of dark grey stockings and there are trails of brown paint from his joints too. His string tail has been nibbled away to a stump . . .
They cost me an arm and a leg yesterday - in fact I got home before the gut feeling BUY THEM nagged me so much that I had to turn around and go back for them. Now I need to find new homes for them, so a few phone calls will be made today. The real money is in Cobweb (I hope!) and I think Tommy may end up coming to the Fleamarket with us . . . I shall keep you posted.
Meanwhile, I am being eaten to death in here by some midges which came in through the open window yesterday (I know, windows still open in mid-October, amazing) so I am going to go and do some work downstairs, and pat the horses on my way past.