Hobby Horse

pattern for a miniature hobby horse
© F H Powell 2010

The toy hobby horse was at it’s most popular during the Victorian era. However, the history of the hobby horse goes back much further. Reference is made to the hobby horse in books and art works of the mid 1500’s. The word itself derives from the 14th century word ‘hobyn’ and was generally used to describe a slow paced or cart horse. This has also mutated to Dobbin, being a common name for a horse in stories and nursery rhymes.

The common design of the hobby horse was based on a stick for the body with a carved wooden or stuffed material head. Occasionally wheels were added to the end of the stick to allow for easier riding. Hobby horses have become popular across northern Europe and not only with children. In Britain the hobby horse is often used as part of a Morris dancing display. The term eventually became known as a favourite pastime or hobby.

Hobby horse festivals became popular where craftsmen could display the quality of their work. Padstow in Cornwall has the ‘Obby ‘Oss festival each May Day with its origins in the 16th century. The Banbury hobby horse festival taking place this weekend, demonstrates that the interest in this pastime is alive and well.

If you would like to make a traditional hobby horse for your dolls house we can offer a pattern here.