When I went to visit my grandparents in a small city in Calabria I used to play with it near the fireplace.
My rocking horse, Fulmine (Thunderbolt in English), was red and had yellow handles positioned at ear level while the base was green.
I dreamed of riding my horse in the boundless grasslands or along the seashore. My cousin and I, each of us on our own horse, acted like we were cowboys in the far west, imagined we were running away from a scary zombie or dreamed of being the champions of justice. Sometimes we even fought bloody battles to conquer the television’s remote control.
In 2000 in Grandate, near Como, Lombardy, the first Toy Horse Museum opened.
On display are 535 horses produced from 1700 until today. Chicco, the leading Italian company for children’s products, collected them all.
Some are real works of art, toys that have become cult objects for older “children”.
But the origins of the rocking horse dates back to Ancient Greece. Do you remember the ingenious trick devised by Odysseus to conquer the city of Troy as told in Virgil’s Aeneid? It was a horse on wheels.
The rocking horse was introduced in the seventeenth century in the United States, in the nineteenth century in England and then spread throughout Europe.
It quickly became one of the most popular gifts for children.
Wooden, plastic or cardboard, with wheels, spring or rocking. Which horse did you have?