Rocking Horse Restoration

A heirloom in the making

Here at Rocking horse restoration the rocking horse man appreciates the value of a much loved but tired and worn out rocking horse, and realizes that over time your family heirloom needs some TLC to prepare him/her for the next generation.I am happy to collect your rocking horse, then prepare an estimate for the restoration, all free of charge.

I have a high level of experience restoring rocking horses, and can also identify most makes from F. H. Ayers,  G & J Lines, Lines bros, Leeway and Collinsons etc.

When restoring rocking horses they can be returned to their original finish and style, or finished in a more modern style, I offer a sympathetic restoration service ensuring you will have a beautiful, safe, and usable rocking horse for the next generation to enjoy.

The restoration process is as follows

After the removal of all the old tack and hair the horse is stripped back to bare wood removing all the old paint and gesso, then after making any repairs all cracks are filled, after which numerous coats of gesso are applied, (I will explain the technique of gesso later on this page).

The horse then has to rest and dry out for about a week at which time I sand, sand some more, and sand again to a lovely smooth finish, I then apply six or seven coats of a pale grey paint, then follows the tricky technique of dappling giving that lovely light to dark dappling effect, followed by the painting of the ears, nostrils, mouth and hoofs.

Then after two or three thin coats of varnish I am ready to fit the tack, real leather saddle, martingale, girth, saddle flaps, saddle cloths, stirrup irons etc then after fitting the real horse hair mane and tail the crupper and bridle and reigns are fitted (all this tack would be in the style of whichever make of rocking horse I would be working on).

With safety in mind, all paints, varnishes and stains are water based.

I will now explain what gesso is, gesso is a very old method going back to the early days of rocking horse construction, if the paintwork on your old horse is peeling off you will see a white powder substance underneath it, that is gesso, and it is made using a mixture of rabbit skin glue, water and a white powder called whiting, this is heated in a glue pot and several coats are applied to the horse whilst hot, after a few days when it has dried it sands down to a very smooth, slightly flexible finish, ready to take paint.

Now for the safety stand.

Again the safety stand is stripped back to bare wood where appropriate, made safe and secure for the new rider, sanded smooth re stained and varnished, all metal parts are stripped and re painted or replaced with new then re fitted, the horse can then be fitted onto the safety stand and its ready to rock, the horse is then delivered back to the client where it can test the imagination of the new rider.

A brass plaque can be placed on the stand stating who commissioned the restoration and who the horse is for and the date, it is also worth mentioning here that if you like I can place something under the new saddle as a sort of time capsule, something in paper form, say, a family tree or photographs etc.

I hope the above helps, but if you have any questions please ask. Ring me on 07802 669346

Smooth Sailing

I promise you, the whole process from your first phone call,  to me returning your restored rocking horse back to you will go smoothly.


I attend to every detail myself and work out of a small workshop in the beautiful coastal village of Robin Hoods Bay, which is part of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park,       it inspires me to do great work.


Once you make the decision to have your rocking horse restored, the rest is as easy as (well you know the saying).

I will go through every detail with you, keep you informed at every stage, then deliver him back to you in his new livery, ready to rock.

Wow, I cannot believe the transformation from my old battered and well used rocking horse, to the transformed beauty you returned to us.
Such high quality workmanship, you are very talented and I cannot thank you enough.
Our children love him and are getting as much enjoyment as I did as a child, it all brings back fond memories for me.
It also pleases me and my parents that we are passing on the family heirloom to the next generation.
I highly recommend you,
Warmest regards
John Richardson

I can not express enough the pleasure I get when I start to work on a much loved but tired and worn out rocking horse, knowing how much love and happiness it will have given to children in the past, and realizing that when I have lovingly completed the restoration the rocking horse can go on doing just that

The Rocking Horse Man

07802 669346


Ask the question

Everything starts with a phone call or an email,  it does not have to be a full restoration, it might just be new horse hair or a new saddle, so please make the call ,I will do everything I can to help.    Tele: 07802 669346

Top Quality

All materials used in the restoration of your rocking horse will be of the highest quality, real leather, real horse hair and solid brass fittings.

New Rocking Horses

If you would like to commission a new hand carved Victorian style rocking horse or simply view the details, then please contact me and I will go through the details with you. Tel: 07802 669346.

More than a gift

Making a gift of a rocking horse to your child or grandchild whether it be a new one or a refurbished one is more than a gift its a family heirloom, and will last for generations to come.

I literally could not be happier that I chose you to undertake the restoration of my old, but much loved rocking horse, your superb attention to detail was amazing.

The photographic updates as the work progressed was a lovely touch too.
Our grandchildren are enjoying endless fun and will have fond memories of this time as they grow up.

I would highly recommend you to any prospective clients.
Many thanks,

Mickael & Tina Connelly, Northumberland.

David the rocking horse man is a professional, who has an eye for detail, produces quality workmanship and cares deeply about what he does, and is a pleasure to deal with.

We cannot thank him enough for bringing back some happy childhood memories and something to treasure forever.

Clive and Andrea Green, West Yorkshire.

I am writing to say an enormous thank you, you have indeed brought back to life a cherished part of my childhood.

You carefully delivered "Oliver" to our home and since then he has had lots of visitors and he has been well admired by all who have seen him.

Louise, Leeds.

F. H. Ayers

Frederick Henry Ayers was situated at 111,  Aldersgate, London  from 1864, some of the most beautiful and elegant English wooden rocking horses to be found were made by this company up until 1914.


Leeway was the trade mark for the firm of Patterson Edwards, the company started in approx 1890 and the trade mark was registered in 1955, they were made until approx 1975, the makers details are usually marked on the stand in the form of a transfer.

G. & J, Lines

George and Joseph Lines were making Toys and rocking horses from approx 1850, they also made tricycle horses and push horses, even a stool horse on casters, They patented the safety hobby horse in 1887.

J Collinson & Sons

J Collinson & sons were one of the well established companies making rocking horses from the early 1800 in the Liverpool area, and  the saying goes that in 1851 Queen Victoria visited the factory and said she loved the dapple grey style horse, so of course everyone wanted one, it is to this day the most popular of all the finishes, and Collinsons have only made dapple grey horses since then, these horses lend themselves very well to restoration.

Lines Bros ltd

Will, Arthur and Walter Lines formed their own firm, Lines Bros Ltd and began production in a factory in Ormside Street, Old Kent Road in  1919, the company became public in 1933.

The Safety Stand

different types of stands were tried including the popular bow rocker, but these would move around the floor and were a danger to tiny fingers, then in 1880 an American took out a British patent on the safety stand, this slowly replaced the bow rockers and is now the stand of choice, the patent ran out so now anyone can make it, but I have to say a rocking horse on bow rockers whilst impractical is a wonderful sight.

So what are you waiting for

Give us a call and make someones dream come true

07802 669346