Happy Trails- page 7 | History | Smithsonian
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Happy Trails

As freshly carved toys or treasured heirlooms, well-bred rocking horses ride high in the affections of kids and collectors alike

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Over a pint of ale at a half-timbered pub near his shop, Dew echoed Marc Stevenson. “A child develops a more intimate relationship with a rocking horse than with a large, impersonal toy like a playground swing or a seesaw,” he said. “It’s not something you put in a cupboard at the end of the day, especially once you’ve given it a name and whispered your dreams and secrets in its ear.”


Dew’s daughter Lynn, 19, remembers that feeling. Although she and her sister Kate, now 22 and a university student, served as testers of their father’s horses, when the younger girl was 8, he asked her what she wanted for Christmas. “I didn’t need to think about my answer,” Lynn, also a student, recalls. “I had to have a rocking horse of my own.” To this day, Mathilda, as Lynn named the dapple-gray made of poplar and beech, still holds pride of place in the front hallway of the family’s 1840s Victorian farmhouse. And says Lynn, “I still ride her now and then.”


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