Each horse is made to order and painstakingly carved and completed by myself to ensure the customer receives a horse to their specification. I hand select all the wood which comes from suppliers that follow clear environmental policies for the purchase of domestic and tropical wood.
The horse is constructed in the traditional manner, from multiple blocks of wood leaving a hollow body cavity. This cavity acts as a perfect time capsule to put family mementos, a baby’s lock of hair etc. to be discovered at a later date. The head is usually carved first before it is fixed to the body as it needs frequent turning to complete and is easier achieved without the weight of the body. The body blocks and legs are then jointed and glued together and a small memento sealed within the horse before enclosing the hollow body with the top block. The head is then fixed to the horse so that the remainder of the carving can begin All the carving is completed by hand using various gouges/mallet, spoke shaves and rasps.
For the dappled horse I use North American Tulip Poplar, it is a very stable wood and is a plantation grown renewable resource. Once the carving is complete the horse is given several coats of hot gesso (a mixture of hot glue and guilders whiting) used for centuries by artists and gilders to give a hard smooth surface. The horse is left to dry for up to a week before it is given a complete sanding prior to the application of the grey base coat followed by hand detailing and dappling. The horse is then given a minimum of three coats of satin varnish to give the horse a final luster and protect the paint work.
Polished Wood Horse
These are usually made from Honduras Mahogany which has a wonderful brown/red color when finished . Once the carving is completed the horse is given a final sanding prior to the application of a minimum of four coats of a hand rubbed oil based satin finish. This not only protects the wood but brings out the natural grain and color. I do not stain my horses preferring the natural color of the wood to show through.
Once the finishing is complete a real horse hair mane and tail is fitted and the horse is tacked up with either a real leather saddle and removable leather bridle and stirrups or an Arabian style saddle and bridle.
I make the stands from hardwood, either North American White Oak, Ash or Mahogany and offer either the safety stand or bow rockers.
Safety stand - It was developed well over a hundred years ago and is very compact stand with the horse being in a slightly more upright stance. This stand has a very unique rocking action and the arrangement of the swing irons ensures there is a limit to the extent of the movement. This is an ideal stand where space is at a premium and you have an enthusiastic rider. It takes up less room than the same size horse mounted on bow rockers and is unlikely to ‘travel’ across the floor.
Bow rockers - These are the traditional rocker, they are very attractive and have an excellent rocking action but take up more space than the equivalent size horse on a safety stand. It will also ‘travel’, especially when rocked hard and needs plenty of room and supervision to ensure it does not hit your favorite piece of furniture/pet or run over some ones toes. The horse is mounted with its legs out stretched in more of a galloping stance.
The horse is finally completed with an engraved brass plaque mounted on the stand with a small message to the customers requirements.