Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: May 18, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971935 | Print ISBN: 9781412966702 | Online ISBN: 9781412971935| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Janice Kathleen Jones
A hobby horse is a child's toy composed of a stick with a horse's head at one end. The child straddles the stick horse and “rides.” The hobby horse has links to ancient spring and harvest festivals across Europe. The word hobi in Middle English was a diminuitive of Robin, or Hobbe, and it was used to describe a small horse. It may have been derived from an actual horse called Dobbin or Robin. Hobby was in use as the name of a small falcon at this time, and in 1298 the phrase hobby horse first came into use to describe a small horse. The term was later used to describe the horse-shaped frame used in Morris Dances at May festivals. Eventually it came to describe a wooden stick horse or rocking horse hobby ...