Restored rocking horse spotting dobbin

Spotty Dobbin-Back the favourite

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful summer and are easing into Autumn, whilst enjoying this wonderful blast of heat we’re having. I know I’m not ready start wearing jumpers just yet.

For my 1st blog of the season after a Summer blogging break, I thought it would be a good time to catch up with an old friend. Remember Spotty Dobbin, Caroline’s childhood rocking horse? So many of you were invested when I shared him at the beginning of his restoration.

Photo pf Spotty Dobbin rocking horse before restoration began

Spotty Dobbin Before


When she was a child, Caroline was horse-mad, but she couldn’t have a real one. Instead, she was given Spotty Dobbin for her birthday. Spotty was bought from Harrods in 1970 for £90 – a huge investment for her parents (around £2,000 in today’s money by my estimations).

53 years later, it’s fair to say that Spotty was due a spruce up. The foam inside had turned to dust and the fur had started to perish, on sections where the fur rubbed on the inner wooden frame. BUT all that aside, our mission was to put some life back into Spotty Dobbin to preserve him for Caroline and her grandchildren.

Threadbare he may be, but I knew there was a still a thoroughbred in there.

Unsurprisingly, Caroline was very emotional leaving Spotty behind, but I assured her he was in good hands…

THEN… Just before she leaves, Caroline pulls out an extra surprise from her bag. “I do have something else. Am I being cheeky or can you repair this?” she asks.

Enter another of Caroline’s childhood toys – Monkey. With an eye and eyebrow missing and a little hole in his foot, this poor little fella was almost in a worse state than Spotty. But OF COURSE, I’m going to fix him for her.

Photo of leg of rocking horse being restored

The Process..

We took the decision to work section by section as the fur was so brittle in places. Caroline was really sure that she didn’t want the fur replaced as that would take away the essence of Spotty Dobbin. That made perfect sense to me, but we had found a pretty good match if needed on certain sections.

Gabby started with the hind legs. She gently opened up the stitching and cleaned out the old foam dust. She cleaned the fur and replaced the perished padding with new foam and polyester.

As luck would have it, in Spotty’s belly Gabby uncovered lots of excess fur which she could use to patch in the holes along the legs.

Working along the body of the horse disintegrated foam was removed, frame and fur was cleaned.  New foam was attached and the old fur was painstakingly reattached and hand stitched. Also new faux leather hoofs were attached.

Spotty left my workshop looking much fitter and much less skinny, he came in like a rescue horse and left as the thoroughbred that he truly is.


Image of restored rocking horse

The leather work..

Then it was over to Peter Smith from PS Leather Craft to make a new saddle, bridle and reins for Spotty.

I think you’ll agree he’s done a magnificent job, Spotty now looks like the stallion he once was.

With a new tail and mane the restoration was complete.

Photo of restored rocking horse Spotty Dobbin back on his stand

Best of all Caroline has not only preserved a precious piece of her childhood history, but her family can now go on to enjoy Spotty Dobbin. Spotty Dobbin can be ridden and take on those jumps again without fear of falling at the first hurdle.


But wait…what about monkey? How could we leave monkey eyeless and with a broken foot and ear, we couldn’t, so here he is all repaired and looking like he hasn’t been up to any monkey business.

Before and after photos of a toy monkey

If you have a childhood friend or piece of furniture that you want to restore or reupholster then get in touch.

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