ROCKING HORSE RANCH in Riverside County is busy "breeding" high-styled mounts for the toddler set. Built to last long enough to grow into heirlooms, they are handcrafted from southern mountain pine.
A custom-order Ranch pony features the child's name and birth date branded beneath the mane (the same spot where a real registered Arabian would be branded). Rather than paint her rocking horses, master builder Marie Crain generally stains them a rich, nut brown, though she is willing to match the hue to other furniture.
All the trimmings are intact--including a flowing acrylic yarn mane and tail, genuine leather reins and a comfortable vinyl saddle. Prices begin at $45 for the 18-inch table-model version. Among the ridable models, a 25-inch rocking horse sells for $115, a 29-incher for $135, and a 38-inch size for $165. For those rocking-horse aficionados who like them more classical, a bit of Victorian painting--flowers and ribbons--can be added ($250 for the 38-inch model).
Recent additions to the Rocking Horse Ranch line include an 18-inch carousel horse ($60) and a 21-inch rocking horse lamp ($65). And ambitious sorts can order a 38-inch rocking horse kit ($115).