Holmebank Rocking Horses of Mirfield West Yorkshire are restorers of fine English rocking horses. Our ethos is to create beautiful pieces of equine art that adults can appreciate but that are robust enough for children to  play with for many years.

 

Our very first rocking horse was made in 1984. He was built for our daughter Kate for Christmas. We started work early in November and he was completed just in time on Christmas Eve! 'Sparky' has a few battle scars today but is still ridden regularly by all our grandchildren. 

Today we mainly restore horses, specialising in realistic finishes. David is an accomplished equestrian artist and treats all the horses as 3D blank canvases.

 We generally have a comprehensive stock of quality horses for sale and are also happy to quote on a full or part restoration of your horse.

Here at Holmebank we can sympathetically preserve antique horses, or can carry out a complete restoration, bringing a tired old horse back to life, ready for children to play on again.

 

This is an F.H.Ayres horse from the 1920s. When she came to us her stand was in remarkable condition but she had been covered in what we think was 'Artex' instead of the usual gesso. We were hoping to remove the Artex carefully to reveal her original paintwork but sadly someone had removed all traces of it in the past. Her saddle was rather tatty but original so that was a big bonus for us.

After removing all the Artex we re gessoed her and then set about giving her the sort of finish that she would have had in the 1920s . Period leather was used for her tack to match the old saddle. We used a lovely steel grey mane and tail to complete her restoration. 


 

This FH.Ayres horse came to us in quite good condition. The client wanted us to retain as much of the originality as possible.


We managed to repair the missing gesso and paint it the same colour. New saddlery from vintage leather and new mane and tail. The client was delighted.

 

We found this little chap in Chorley Lancashire so he is now reffered to as 'CHARLIE'. He is a Whilley brothers horse from the 1930s. Very hard to find, and in basically sound condition under all the layers of gloss paint.

 

We carefully stripped the layers of 'Dulux' off to reveal his original finish. The saddle was made from the original pattern from period leather and we managed to re use all the studs and metalwork. The stand was missing its support pillars so we turned some new ones, there were a few old bore holes in the base of the stand and as with all our horses was treated with Cuprinol woodworm fluid. He is a stunning little horse now and has gone on to join a collection of other antique horses. (we trimmed the extra long mane and tail for the new owner to a more realistic length)

 

This mid 19th century bow rocker needed a complete restoration. The hind legs were loose in their sockets and the head had been nailed back on after a complete break. the sadlery was rotten and not entirely original but he is after all over 150 years old.

We cleaned the rocker and replaced a broken end stop then waxed it which gave it a wonderfull patina. the sadlery was replaced using vintage leather. The gesso was consolodated an then painted in the traditional style of that period.

 

'Mr. Bennet' is an early 1900's G & J Lines horsewho came to us for restoration in a bit of a state. He had many layers of Woolworths gloss paint and we were hoping to reveal his original paintwork but unfortunately this had gone sometime in his past. The saddle was irretrievable but we love a challenge.

'Mr. Bennet' after a full restoration. His saddle and bridle were made from vintage leather in the style of his original tack. The new paint work is finished in an Antique style in keeping with his age. After stripping his stand down it has been re stained, polished and waxed. 

 

'Mr. Garret'  is another G & J Lines horse who had lived most of his 120 years in South Africa. He came to us for restoration in kit form! All four legs had to be removed and re fitted correctly. His head also had to be re attached. Once the constructional work was done we could assess his paintwork, most of which we managed to save. The stand was re built, cleaned, treated for woodworm and waxed.

 

All finished after many hours and looking very smart but still retaining all his history. We get a real buzz bringing a beautiful horse back from the brink ready to be enjoyed for another 100 years.

 

'TITCH' is a little G & J Lines push along horse from about 1900. As you can see his wooden wheels were missing and he had been overpainted in white and black matt.

 

We removed most of his overpaint and consolidated the gesso, then refinished him using reference photographs. we replaced his tack from old leather and fitted him with a replacement mane and tail. We turned new wheels to match the base which waxed up really well.

 

' Adam' is another Whiley brothers horse that has been 'done-up' probably by a well meaning Grandad. Nothing wrong with that if your grandchild just wants a rocking horse but under all that Dulux gloss is a very rare antique horse waiting to be appreciated again.

 

 The over paint was removed to reveal some of his original dapples but we had to re paint over half his body carefully matching up to what we were left with. The saddle and bridle were made from period leather and the finished effect is in keeping with his age. 

 

This little G&J Lines horse was sent to us in a bit of a state but we love a challenge.

 

He was reconstructed then the overpaint was removed. Most of his original paint had gone previously so we had to start all over again. The stand was in lovely condition and still had the patent stencil clearly on its base. The tack was made from old leather to match the lovely patina that we achieved. He turned out a real eyeful and the client was very pleased that we didn't make him look like a 'new horse'