The 10 Best Rocking Horses

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This wiki has been updated 23 times since it was first published in August of 2015. There's a reason why rocking horses have been a staple in children's nurseries for hundreds of years -- kids absolutely love them. Today's models still have that timeless charm, but also come with additional features, like lights, music and galloping sounds, along with safe and nontoxic constructions that will keep mom and dad happy, too. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best rocking horse on Amazon.

10. Hape Rock and Ride

9. Labebe Brown Knight

8. Qaba Kids Pony

7. Little Tikes Blue

6. Best Choice Educational

5. Happy Trails Plush

4. KidKraft Derby

3. Melissa & Doug Plush

2. Rockin' Rider Candy

1. Radio Flyer Champion

Plastic Vs. Wood: The Great Debate Wages On

By and large, this decision boils down to a simple choice between plastic and wood.

A rocking horse is one of the few classic toys that a child will outgrow before he has learned to differentiate one model from another. As such, it is up to a parent (or a grandparent) to choose a rocking horse for any toddler. By and large, this decision boils down to a simple choice between plastic and wood.

Wooden rocking horses are more traditional than their plastic counterparts, appearing more formal in a living room or an upscale apartment setting. Wooden horses also look more authentic and rustic, and they generally match any type of ranch-style decor.

Plastic horses are more colorful, and they look more appropriate amidst the stimulating palette of a child's nursery or a rec-room area. Plastic horses weigh less (i.e., 8-12 lbs.), and they are more durable and compact. The combination of these benefits makes a plastic horse more appropriate to take along on a vacation, or to drop off at any babysitter's house.

The majority of wooden horses are crafted in such a way that parents can tighten, or reattach, several loosened parts. Plastic horses, on the other hand, are extremely difficult to repair. This may not be an issue, however, given a plastic horse will never warp, rot, or splinter apart.

Wooden horses may periodically need to be sanded down, sharpened, or given a new coat of gloss. Once the paint job on a plastic horse begins to fade or peel, the owner may be out of luck. However, a plastic horse does perform better than a wooden horse on any outdoor surface. Wooden horses are predominately resigned to being ridden indoors, away from nature's elements.

Several Safety Tips For Owning a Rocking Horse

For centuries, small children have gravitated toward rocking horses. A rocking horse spurs the imagination, while also encouraging kids to develop coordination and balance. And yet, a rocking horse could present a minor hazard in the event that a parent doesn't take a few precautions.

This way, if a child gets thrown, or even trips while disembarking, there won't be any broken bones or brush burns.

First and foremost, it helps to place a cushioned mat around the rocking horse. This way, if a child gets thrown, or even trips while disembarking, there won't be any broken bones or brush burns. Make sure that the area surrounding any mat stays clear. Discarded toys can get crushed beneath the weight of a rocking horse, and certain toys can stop a rocking horse abruptly, increasing the chance that your child could get hurt.

Every standard rocking horse comes with a set of handles or reins. Teach your child to keep both hands on these handles at all times, and make it clear to your child never to place a rocking horse's reins around - or behind - his neck.

Children should not be riding on a rocking horse two at a time. More often than not, this leads to either the rear child getting thrown off, or the front child getting knocked forward. It's much safer to train your kids to ride one at a time, and to take turns in the event that they are enjoying the horse along with a sibling or a friend.

When you initially purchase or assemble a rocking horse, be sure to check that all the screws, stirrups, and reins are adjusted tight. It's worth going over the same exercise again in the event that a rocking horse begins to squeak or make any other out-of-the-ordinary noises. If a wooden horse begins to splinter, sand it down, and then add a new layer of gloss. One splinter can - and probably will - lead to more unless the worn wood is provided with a new protective coat.

An Early and Inspirational Account of The Rocking Horse

Charles I, son of King James VI of Scotland, remained unable to walk throughout his early childhood. While the reasons for Charles' immobility have never been uncovered, every historical account agrees that, as a boy, Charles was confined to a wheelchair.

At the age of five, Charles was named Duke of York by his father.

At the age of five, Charles was named Duke of York by his father. There was increased pressure at this point for Charles to mature, and grow into the demands of that title. The royal family enlisted personal caregivers to help Charles with his education and physical development. These caregivers implemented a complete regimen of physical therapy, which included - rather curiously - a wooden rocking horse for Charles to ride on.

This rocking horse, commissioned while Charles was between the ages of 7 and 10, had been handcrafted by using a single piece of elm. The horse featured a rail-thin saddle and an equally small head (with no apparent handles), and it stood upon a pair of extremely wide, half-crescent blades, both of which ran parallel so that Charles could "rock" back and forth.

Charles spent time on the rocking horse every day. And while it remains unclear how much the exercise directly contributed to alleviating Charles' condition, historical data confirms that Charles was completely mobile, even excelling at equestrian activities, by his early adolescence.

At the age of 25, Charles I became King of Great Britain. The two most famous portraits of Charles feature him as a middle-aged sire on horseback. Charles' original rocking horse has been preserved, and it is on display at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, where it is a part of the permanent collection.

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Gabrielle Taylor
Last updated on October 22, 2018 by Gabrielle Taylor

Originally from a tiny town in Virginia, Gabrielle moved to Los Angeles for a marketing internship at a well-known Hollywood public relations firm and was shocked to find that she loves the West Coast. She spent two years as a writer and editor for a large DIY/tutorial startup, where she wrote extensively about technology, security, lifestyle, and home improvement. A self-professed skincare nerd, she’s well-versed in numerous ingredients and methods, including both Western and Asian products. She is an avid home cook who has whiled away thousands of hours cooking and obsessively researching all things related to food and food science. Her time in the kitchen has also had the curious side effect of making her an expert at fending off attempted food thievery by her lazy boxer dog.

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