From the simple stick pony and rocking horse to the intricately detailed figures found in hobby collections, toys based on the horse have been around for hundreds of years. In some ways, they never seem to change but in today’s toy industry, there are some interestingly unique selections. Soft plush versions provide comfort for the young horse fan while other options offer interactive play for youth.
Technology has helped design toys that have sounds and responses similar to the animal itself. Horse toy sets have expanded into career-based experiences and toy sets often include educational materials explaining the many breeds and characteristics of different types of horses. The simple toy of a hundred years ago now embraces a learning and interactive environment that adds to the creative play experience.
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Horses and their riders can be a diverse group. Western riding is different from dressage and workhorses provide another perspective. This list of toys offers diversity as well to better meet the age and interest level of young horse lovers.
View The Best Horse Toys Below.
- Melissa & Doug Horse Stable Set
- Sunny Days Entertainment Champions Deluxe Horse
- Schleich Horse Club Riding Center
- Aurora Giddy Up Stick Horse
- Schleich Horse Club Mobile Vet
- Animal House Stable Carrier
- Barbie Dreamhorse Doll Playset
- Schleich Pick Up with Horse Trailer Playset
- HollyHOME Horse Pretty Plush Toy
Melissa & Doug Horse Stable Set
- Recommended for ages 3 to 7 years
- Kid-Powered, no batteries required
- Dimensions - 13 x 5 x 5 inches, shoebox size
- Wooden stable with eight individual stalls
- Take-along handle
- Eight horse figures of different breeds
In its mission to “Take Back Childhood”, Melissa & Doug toys have put together this quality horse collection and stable that is reminiscent of products from the 1950s. The take-along stable is made of wood and has room for the eight horse figures that are included.
Two stable doors are hinged to the back and individual stall openings are placed so that horses can face either direction. The model is painted with features that resembles typical stable construction.
This is the type of toy had can easily make memories for a lifetime and be sturdy enough to survive childhood. In addition to the toy itself, the set comes with information about the different horse breeds and how to use the kits to create hours of inventive playtime. Suitable for any horse lover, regardless of age.
- Medium size, recommended for ages 4 to 9 years
- Powered by kinetics, no batteries or electricity needed
- Dimensions - 31 x 13 x 36 inches, weighs 24 pounds
- Realistic walking movement
- Safety tested
- Quick assembly
Not really a cycle as such, this first ever walking horse simulator takes the user into a world of riding that is not matched by other rocking, scooter or push toys. This horse runs on kinetic power and works on any indoor or outdoor surface that is flat. With a maximum weight capacity of 88 pounds, it seems well capable of keeping up with young children who have a strong desire to learn to ride.
Definitely an upgrade from the horse on wheels versions, this first walking simulator uses actual riding techniques to make the horse move. Interestingly, the manufacturer reports that as the skills of the rider improve, the abilities of the toy also improves to higher levels of equestrian feats such as turning and faster speeds.
The “animal” is soft to the touch and comes with a Western saddle and metal stirrups. While not available in all markets, the toy is produced in two sizes and in a few different looks, one of which is a unicorn.
Sunny Days Entertainment Champions Deluxe Horse
- Recommended for ages 4 to 12 years
- ‘Whinny’ sound effects powered by 2 LR44 batteries (included)
- Dimensions - 9 x 3 x 9 inches
- Includes one horse figure with removable saddle
- Comes with feed bucket, grooming brush, apple, blue ribbon, etc.
- Combable mane and tail
This highly detailed 9 inch horse set comes will all the equipment needed to feed and groom it the way a true rider would. Set is available in four different breeds: Quarter, Morgan, Palomino, and Appaloosa. Press the horse’s head down and it whinnies to the owner. A well detailed figure for any collection or fan.
In their own way, horses seem to demand quality and this set is a quality product with an intricately detailed figure that includes a combable mane and tail. Other accessories include feed bucket, blue ribbon, apple, trophy cup, and removable saddle and tack. A bit of daydreaming and imagination and any horse lover would be able to create realistic play situations.
Schleich Horse Club Riding Center
- Recommended for 3 to 15 years
- Kid powered, no batteries required
- Size - 22.4 x 5.5 x 15 inches
- Flexible design, assembly instruction included
- Include Arabian mare and foal set, one rider, saddle and tack
- Hay racks, feed supplies and watering trough
A large, hand painted, plastic model, the Schleich Horse Club Riding Center offers flexibility and detail in one. The riding center comes with a three section barn, fencing and paddocks that can be configured in multiple ways and accessories that provide all the equipment needed to run this major operation.
LIkely to appeal more to older youth than children, this set is detailed enough to give the avid horse fan the materials needed to create a virtual horse show or stable operation. The set is compatible with the pickup and trailer set also produced by this company.
Stickers and flexibility offer truly unique options for pretend and play. Setup can handle multiple horse figures (sold separately.
Aurora Giddy Up Stick Horse
- Recommended for ages 3 and up
- Imagination and built-in technology powered, no batteries required
- Size - 9 x 4.5 x 37 inches
- Two different sound effects happen when ears are touched
While it may be one of the simplest toys on this list, the Giddy Up Stick Horse may be one of the most endearing for active young children. Its plush head and fabric ears and mane create a stylized horse head. Button type eyes and attached bridle complete the illusion. The model is available in three different colors. Product is 37” long.
In reality, riding is an activity that takes energy and stamina. This stick pony offers a way to burn off that extra energy and feel the wind as horse and rider pretend to gallop the hills and open fields.
This soft and cuddly version has enough technology built-in to add a few sounds to the adventure while being soft enough to use as a headrest for a quick nap.
Schleich Horse Club Mobile Vet
- Recommended for ages 5 to 12
- Powered by imagination, no batteries required
- Approximate size - 11.4 x 9.1 x 6.5 inches
- Includes one mobile clinic vehicle, one vet figure with moveable arms and legs
- Accessories include medical equipment, office furnishings and more.
A manufacturer of authentic horse sets, Schleich has designed a mobile veterinarian unit for the serious horse figure collector. The clinic opens up to reveal the working interior of a mobile office and includes a small patient in the form of a Hanoverian foal.
For all their beauty, horses take a great deal of care. Schleich provides this realistic set that addresses the complexity of horse ownership as well as the enjoyment. With its removable roof and doors that open and close, it enhances creative playtime for the avid horse enthusiast.
The model is well equipped with detailed supplies and furnishings. Also an option for the older child who may be dreaming of someday attending vet school.
Animal House Stable Carrier
- Meets safety standards for all ages
- Imagination and built-in technology powered, no batteries to purchase
- Dimensions: Carrier: 7.5"x 7.4"x 5.7" Horses: 4"x 3.5"
- Soft sewned in handle makes this a grab and go set
This soft-sided variation is stable and carrier in one. Designed to store the four cute plush horses that are included with this set in a take-along package, the roof lifts up when it is time to pick up and put away until next time. The stable door opens to give a more realistic play action. Give the little ponies a squeeze and they will whinny in response.
If the little horse lover is not quite mature enough for detailed hobby collectibles, this set will delight and provide a take-along option like more expensive sets. Four different ponies are included in the set and the stable has markings that resemble the real thing.
Each pony will make a horsey sound when squeezed. The set meets all safety standards for children’s toys so is an excellent choice for the small tots who love horses too.
Barbie Dreamhorse Doll Playset
- Recommended for ages 3 to 7 years
- Action requires 4 AA batteries (included)
- Set size - 6.2 x 22 x 12.8 inches, doll stands11 ½ inches tall
- Horse walks and turns with rider and responds to touch and speech
This new Barbie Dreamhorse promises to be the most interactive in the stable with over 30 sounds and actions. The beautiful white creature comes with a Barbie that is dressed ready for an afternoon of riding in pink boots and helmet. When done with the ride, Barbie rewards the animal with a bunch of carrots and in turn receives a light nuzzle as a thank you.
Technology helps inspire imagination with this interactive model. Barbie comfortably sits in the saddle while the horse walks forward and turns in a circle. Ask a question of this intelligent animal and it will nod its head in response. Thirty different actions keep any young rider entertained and engaged in a realistic way.
Schleich Pick Up with Horse Trailer Playset
- Recommended for ages 5 to 15
- Powered by imagination, no batteries required
- Box set size - 6.5 x 15.4 x 9.1 inches
- Includes pickup, horse trailer with removable roof and one Frisian mare figure
- Accessories include driver, groom, feed and grooming equipment, bale of hay, etc.
- Room in trailer for a second horse (sold separately)
It is time to load up on the way to the horse show with this hand painted and detail set that includes pickup truck, trailer, horse, driver and multiple accessories. Schliech, known for the quality and detail in its figures, has created this set to provide real-life experiences to the young horse fan.
This set speaks to the practical side of horse ownership. While it is fun to imagine winning the blue ribbon or galloping across the hills, horses often spend a fair amount of time in trailers being transported to and from events.
This set comes complete with driver and groom and includes the equipment that would normally travel with an animal. A high quality set that can be appreciated by older ages.
HollyHOME Horse Pretty Plush Toy
- Recommended for ages 3 to 8 years
- Powered by imagination, no batteries required
- Size - 15.3"L x 5.5"W x 11"H
- Beautifully handcrafted and detailed
- Stands on its own
This handcrafted 11 inch tall horse is made of premium quality plush materials. Its soft brown coat and golden mane and tail are matched by the leather saddle. Comb and braid the mane and tail and wipe down with the cotton cloth included in the set.
Typically when one thinks of plush toys, a detailed stand up version does not come to mind. This toy is realistic enough to interest older children and still soft and cuddly for the younger set. Owners can comb and braid the mane and tail and decorate them as if ready to enter the ring.
A leather saddle is part of the package and enhances the imagination for want-to-be riders. The craftsmanship is complemented by the use of premium materials. A good choice for play and collecting.
Horse Toys Buyer’s Guide
Warning – Choking Hazards
As wonderful as these detailed models and figures are, the price of such ingenuity is the use of small parts that pose a choking hazard to children under three years of age (or any child who likes to hold things in their mouth). When not in use, care should be taken to secure these small accessories and features so that they are not a temptation for little ones.
Age and Interest Level
Manufacturers often provide general guidelines to consumers that narrow the age range in which a child might play with their product. These guidelines are often more based on safety concerns than on the ability of a child to have the manual dexterity or maturity to effectively use a play set. Unlike clothing, it may not be wise to purchase a set and expect the child to grow into it. By the time the child’s interest catches up to the complexity of the set, the product may be replaced by a newer version or the small pieces that provide so much interest have been lost.
Materials and Allergies
In looking at the materials of which most toys are made, there are three factors – hard surfaces, fibrous materials, and paint. In large part, most of these toys are made of high density, hard plastic. The material is easy to clean and holds up well over the years. A few items do have a fiber component that shows up as fur, hair or soft fabric. Typically made from acrylic or polyester, these fibers are generally considered hypoallergenic and will not cause harm to children.
One factor that is not often considered though is the paint with which toys are detailed. Products produced in some foreign countries do not have the quality control systems of the USA and can use paint which contains lead or other toxic chemicals. Beside reminding children to never put hand painted items in their mouth, it is best to read the package and note the country of origin and any safety statements that might be printed on the label.
Transitioning from Play to Real Life
Many, many children quickly lose interest in horses once they realize that the sheer size of the animal is as much as 128 times that of the toy animal with which they have become so attached. Yet, there will be a few who continue to show interest in these beautiful animals even as they grow into their preteens (see some gifts for teens here). Riding can be an expensive hobby but if the child is still spending more than a few moments imagining a life that includes them, it may be a sign to transition to a real life relationship.
While not always available in all areas, there are some creative programs that offer riding lessons, grooming time, camps and team competitions for those who wish to make the commitment. A bit of search time on the computer could connect a child with an opportunity to ride as a lifelong passion.
Manufacturer’s Websites and Resources
More often than not, manufacturers of children’s toys have websites or customer service numbers that are open to consumers who need help with anything from assembly tips to how best to utilize creative ideas to get the most out of their purchase. Website addresses are often published on the package or the included product information leaflet.
So many toys these days are gobbled up by collectors that it can be hard to find a specific toy. If the local store or online retailer doesn’t seem to have what you are looking for, first try the manufacturer’s website/online store and the go-to trading and auction sites. More and more toys are being sold in slightly used condition and can be more affordable. And if this purchase does not seem to suit the child’s interest, these sites can also be used to sell or swap unwanted toys.
In the US, mass production of the scaled model horse started in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Made of hard plastic, the first models were standing next to or over a clock. Today, there are five different sizes (scales) of these model horses which continue to be a popular collector’s item.
Did You Know?
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest rocking horse stands 7 feet 8 inches tall and weighs 1200 pounds. Another interesting version is found in Winchendon, MA where there is a public statue of a rocking horse.