Business

Collecting turns into rocking horse business

HORSE LOVERS: Round Yard Rocking Horses owners Debbie and David Sainsbury make and restore rocking horses.
HORSE LOVERS: Round Yard Rocking Horses owners Debbie and David Sainsbury make and restore rocking horses.

COLLECTING is more than a hobby for Debbie and David Sainsbury, it's now a profession.

Their shed is filled with carving, sanding and grinding equipment.

But the tools are not used to build coffee tables, bookshelves or any other practical household item.

The two are the hands behind the business Round Yard Rocking Horses, which creates custom-made rocking horses.

What started out as an interesting hobby quickly grew to a popular business, with the pair making 13 horses in their first year.

As well as creating the childhood keepsakes from scratch, they have also restored horses more than 50 years old, and they have many customers just as passionate about rocking horses as they are.

Most of the rockers are made to a standard size suitable for a toddler or a bit bigger, but they have also created some particularly large horses to order.

"We had to deliver one in a horse float, it was that big," Debbie said.

"That was a task and a half. It was bigger than our miniature horse."

They enjoy displaying and selling their horses at market days and shows - delighting especially in seeing people's reactions to the traditional toy.

"You watch people walk past that might be having an average day. They spot the horses and the change in expression on their faces is unreal.

"Everyone has a story about a rocking horse," Debbie said.

They acquire their timber from Brisbane, the wood type dependent on what is available at the time.

But they were delighted to receive a fallen Norfolk pine tree from Benaraby with its own significant history.

When soldiers from the district returned from serving during the Second World War, they were commissioned to plant trees from Bundaberg to Rockhampton to beautify the highway.

"Inside each horse is a keepsake capsule - with the Northfolk horses we will insert information about the story of the trees," Debbie said.

Each horse can take between four and six weeks to make, which includes carving, sanding, staining and the finishing decorative touches.

They are highly detailed, with everything from a mane in a colour of the owner's choice, to eyelashes and a saddle, which make them really individual collector's items.

The couple hopes to host four-day workshops this year on how to make a rocking horse, so those with an interest can try making their own collectable keepsake.

For more information, see their website or phone 4975 0489.

Rock on

 Predecessors of the rocking horse may be seen in the rocking cradle, the tilting seats used during the Middle Ages for jousting practice as well as the wheeled hobby horse.

 From the 19th century onward rocking horses became more commonly considered as child's toy.

 In 2006, the Guinness Book of World Records certified Katlinel and Les Hartness of California as having the largest hand-carved wooden rocking horse on record at 2.3m tall and weighing 544kg.

Topics:  business, collecting




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