This is what you get in the stores today if you are looking for a hobby horse. They have “improved” on the design with all sorts of additions like real hooves and bridles and a nice false leather saddle. Gone are the old wooden horses, although not completely. You can still buy them at an exorbitant price as you would only find them in the special stores with handmade items and the real wood and handmade results are definitely more expensive than the plastic artificial machine made horses.
I was never into such toys as a kid and I must admit that my taste went more in the direction of metal objects such as guns and railway sets. In my childhood in the fifties plastic was not so wide spread. I do not even remember any of the kids in my street that actually had a hobby horse. We had dolls of course, although that was also not really my sort of thing. I found it strange treating a dead object as it if was alive and taking it to bed with me never entered my head. I do remember having a golliwog, but today I must almost excuse myself for mentioning this racial object, although mum and dad were never into child psychology and bought what they could afford. However I had a blue teddy bear. All these childhood memories of toys are long ago and none seemed to survive to the present day.
The only hobby horses I remember at home were the horses my dad would place a bet on, after studying the newspaper lists. My childhood holidays always seemed to be spent in a resort where they had a race course. I was lucky really, I saw the real hobby horses racing on the track against each other as a child, and got the complete atmosphere of the betting stands of the “bookies” and even collected the colourful tickets they issued when someone placed a bet. The disappointed customers would discard them after the race had been run and we kids would take them home afterwards as our trophies. Not that my dad was a betting addict, he just liked to have a little flutter now and again on a horse he fancied and I must add that he really understood the ways of the bet and often picked a winner.
Today I am lucky to live in the neighbourhood of some stables, so who needs a hobby horse when we have the real thing living just across the road.