10 Best Horse Toys in 2020

best overall rating
  • Recommended for ages 3 to 7 years
  • Kid-Powered, no batteries required
  • Dimensions - 13 x 5 x 5 inches, shoebox size
premium choice rating
  • 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
great value rating
  • Recommended for ages 4 to 12 years
  • ‘Whinny’ sound effects powered by 2 LR44 batteries (included)
  • Dimensions - 9 x 3 x 9 inches

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.

Related: Best Unicorn Toys Review

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.

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.

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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.

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Collector Status

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.

Expert Tip

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.