“ Brand: Mamas & Papas / Age: 3+ / Type: Rocking Horses „
Before I start, let me assure you that this is most definitely not an Outdoor Toy. The phenomenal price of this rocking horse, as well as the absolute gorgeousness of it, means it's strictly a toy for inside the house.
We treated Hollie to this when we moved house a couple of years ago, she was moving into her own bedroom as soon as we moved into the new place and when I spotted Brandy at a very reasonable (in rocking horse terms) price I decided it would look great in her new bedroom. Mark hit the roof when he saw even the reduced price, but he admits now that it was a good buy as it really does look fab and Hollie uses it very regularly.
The quality of this rocking horse is unbelievable. It's the kind of thing you'd leave for your grandchildren, I feel confident that Brandy will outlast the childhoods' of Hollie and David and I definitely hope to see their kids on the horse. Brandy herself has a furry chocolate coat, I worried a bit when I first felt the texture as I thought it would end up looking scraggly but the fur honestly looks as good as when I first bought the horse. I do wash it as and when I notice it starting to look grubby, hot soapy water and a wrung out cloth will bring Brandy's coat up a treat.
The saddle and reins are made of faux leather, a good choice in my opinion as *real* leather can be hard work to keep looking good. There is definitely a case for good quality fake leather! The metal effect stirrups are attached to the saddle with strips of the same leather, these can be adjusted to fit a fairly wide range so I'm sure Brandy will be used by both Hollie and David for quite a few years to come. Actually, Alice did sit on the horse a few months ago and although at (then) eleven she was blatantly too heavy for it, at least the thing didn't collapse under her weight!
The horse doesn't use traditional rockers, instead using a sliding motion. It's taken a while for Hollie to get the knack of swinging herself backwards and forwards but once she got into the rhythm she never lost it and now can gallop away for an hour at a time. It actually looks like a very smooth ride and although you'll never get Brandy to go too fast, the horse does keep a nice steady pace whenever Hollie gets on it.
The horse has a recommended age of three years, but a younger child is fine as long as you (kinda obviously) hold them in the saddle. Hollie was two when I bought Brandy and she loved it from the beginning, I'd support her while she rocked but she was stable enough to sit on it unaided for a few minutes at a time. Perfect photo opportunity! My friends eight month old daughter loves being held on the back of the horse, she's not too sure about the rocking motion but is starting to tolerate it a bit now.
The base and rocking parts are made of solid pine. This makes the horse stable and gives it an extremely sturdy base for when the horse is being made to rock. Another friend has a bizarrely hyperactive six year old son, I tried to keep him off the horse as I was scared he would break it but when I eventually relented Kane showed me just what high quality Brandy is. Over the past six months he has really put the horse through it's paces, but however hard he rocks there's never so much as a wobble from the base. Much to his annoyance I suspect!
One thing worth mentioning is the amount of floorspace the horse takes up. Hollies previous bedroom wasn't really big enough (although we squeezed it in) but now we have a loft conversion so Brandy is up there and can be showed off to her full glory. The rocking horse is 126cm long, but remember you need extra room at each end both for the horse to rock and also to see the gorgeous detail all around the horse. Likewise, the horse needs space around the sides for mounting and dismounting so the official width of 46cm is misleading. I'd recommend you find a local stockist which has one of the horses on display so you can get an idea of the true space needed to house this horse.
The saddle height is 75cm, this is actually quite high but because the stirrups are so freely adjustable the horse (in my opinion) would suit children up to the age of around nine. I'm not sure about other kids, but I know my older daughters' wouldn't have been overjoyed to play on Brandy after that age anyway so I think Mamas and Papas have got the height of the horse spot on.
The major drawback. The cost. Such a beautiful toy (which doesn't feel like the right word) doesn't come cheap. Brandy is currently available on the Mamas and Papas website for £295, I paid £220 and feel I got a good deal - although I fell in love with the horse myself and at the time would probably have paid full price. Still would actually!
Brandy really is worth the money. It was a treat for Hollie and even as I paid for the horse I felt I was being very frivolous. I imagined myself Ebaying it for a loss of a hundred quid or so, but I never imagined how much Hollie would love or play with the horse. It has been used most days for the entire two years and now Hollie can get into the loft (it's a conversion with a real flight of stairs) she'll take herself up there for a quick ride and tidy-up of Brandy's mane and tail.
I haven't told you about the mane and tail, it's lovely and soft and has kept it's sheen despite being played with so regularly. I knew it was going to be good quality but honestly had expected it to end up ratty like Barbie hair, this hasn't happened though and if the silky hair starts looking tatty then I just give it a quick spray with water and smooth it down again. Easy.
I love Brandy and am actually proud to own such a beautiful item. It's the sort of thing that everyone who visits your home will comment in, in fact when we first bought it we had it up in the living room for a few weeks and it definitely didn't make the room look untidy as a lot of kids toys do.
It's not an outdoor toy though, no way. In fact I suggested Brandy a while ago but it was rejected as already being in the catalogue, I couldn't find it and never would have thought to look in the Outdoor section!
MAMAS AND PAPAS BRANDY ROCKING HORSE
COST AND AVAILABILITY - £249.99 From John Lewis. They are readily available from most good toy shops and you can buy them direct from mamasandpapas.com which are selling them for £150.00 just now on a half price special offer.
DIMENSIONS - 701cm x 46cm x 126cm (h x w x d). Seat height is approximately 75cm.
I actually bought this for my daughter when she was three and my daughter used it at our house until she was eight. Due to moving house and having less storage space it is now at my mums house where my daughter still has a much loved go, and she is now nine!
We bought this toy as a special christmas present as it was something my daughter had always wanted, even as a tiny tot. We looked into different makes and prices but in the end opted for the Mamas and Papas Brandy Rocking Horse. Although it was more expensive we looked at it as an investment as we hoped it would be in our family for many years to come. Since this was the case we were looking for a certain quality and look which we believed we found in The Brandy Horse.
First of all the craftsmanship of this horse is outstanding and it is so beautiful it can double as a focal point. It used to always be the first thing pointed out whenever anyone came to visit.
The rocking horse also stands on a heavy wooden frame making it very safe and secure for children when rocking and climbing on it. The horse itself is also beautiful with a soft furry feel. The fur is not long or shaggy however so it does not collect too much dust and so is more suitable for a child with asthma, like our daughter.
The saddle is padded and securley fixed to the horse. This means that the ride is comfier and safer as the saddle cannot fall off. This is also great as your child can put their foot into the stirrups for a leg up and therefore it is safer to get on.
The horse also has sturdy reigns attached which children can hold onto. However when your child is younger I suggest hugging the horese head gently and you keeping a hold of them as it is quite tricky to balance on the horse, especially the faster it goes as the more excited children get.
The horse is actually big enough for two small children to ride together, however I would advise if children are playing un supervised that only one goes on a a time. For younger children I would tend to supervise at all times incase they slip or fall off. Children tend to get excited when rocking and so this can happen easily.
The mane and tail are quite long and children may be able to pull some gairs loose, so again it is best to keep a close watch when they are playing. I pleated the tail on my daughters horse as it kept the hair together making it less tempting for children to try to pull or suck.
In closing I would certainly recommend this horse, as your child is sure to get years of joy from it be it a gorl or a boy/ If it brings your child as much happiness and fun as Brandy has brought my daughter then I would say it was an excellent buy.
Firstly I've no idea why Dooyoo has put this as an 'outdoor' toy because if you kept it outside you'd be certain to ruin it! I'm sure someone in their wisdom will move it to a more suitable category once they've read the review.
The story behind the purchase
We have had Brandy for at least 6, possibly 7 years now. I think I bought her for my daughter's 4th Christmas, but it could have been earlier than that, and my daughter is now 11 years old. So I can certainly say that this rocking horse has longevity. It takes pride of place in our playroom and I consider Brandy to be an heirloom piece. A toy that I expect my grandchildren to enjoy as much as their parents did/do.
My daughter had spotted Brandy in the window a local nursery shop several weeks before Christmas. She instantly fell in love, but as I am an early Christmas shopper I had already bought (and wrapped) the items on her letter to Santa. Brandy was also much too expensive. I think she was about £200, more than I spent on any of my individual children for Christmas and probably close to the total I had to spend on all of them. Daddy took one look and said a very firm 'No'. Mummy looked into daughter's eyes and saw love, but explained that Santa had already filled his sleigh for Christmas that year so she would have to ask again for her birthday.
Needless to say Mummy ignored Daddy and arrived home late on Christmas Eve with Brandy stashed in the boot of the people carrier (I'm so glad I have a Fiat Ulysse). My daughter's face on Christmas morning was a delight, I definitely cried when I saw her astonished expression (I'm welling up now!). It's the best present I have every given any of my children and has been worth the hefty price.
The rocking horse
Brandy has a short copper brown fur coat and a carved wooden nose. Her seat height is 76cm which, given the recommended age for this rocking horse is 3-6 yrs, is quite high and younger children should always be supervised whilst riding. She sits on a wooden swing stand which gives a forwards and backwards glider effect rather than a rocking effect. This feels much safer than a standard bow shaped rocker and I have never had the fear that the horse might tip too far forward or backwards. She does require quite a bit of space, particularly for taller and more eager riders. I would say 1.5-2 metres clearance should be allowed to ensure safety.
When we brought Brandy she came with a burgundy and cream rosette a bridle with reins and a soft paddled saddle with adjustable stirrups. After years of use by my five children and their various friends the saddle is no longer attached. I am told that Mamas and Papas can provide a replacement saddle (at a cost) and I am going to look into this as littlest HonestBob (aged 2.5 years) is keen to ride her on his own and I won't let him ride without an assisting sibling until he can be secured into the saddle (once we have the saddle he will still have close supervision but will be able to ride alone rather than in the arms of an older sibling).
Great things about this rocking horse
Despite some rough handling and lots of use (probably near enough daily for 6 or 7 years) Brandy still looks good:
Her coat has flattened, particularly where the saddle was, and her mane does not look as perky, but there are no bald patches or heavily worn areas on her body. She still glides smoothly (although I really should oil the glider as she has developed a squeak - must be old age).
The wood of the glider polishes up to a beautiful shine, as does her wooden nose.
I expect to get many more years of use out of her:
I'll be keeping her here for my grandchildren to stop my kids fighting over who gets her.
I think that it was getting Brandy that lit my daughter's passion for horses:
She is now a keen rider of the real thing (has been having lessons for the past 5 or 6 years) and she wants to run her own stables AND be a vet.
The 3-6 years age range is deceptive:
My daughter is 11 now and still rides Brandy regularly. Admittedly she is a shorty like me and (unlike me) does not weigh much, but this horse would go beyond 6 years for any child. I would say 3-9 years would be a better age range.
Not so great things about this rocking horse
The initial financial outlay is hefty:
I have had a quick surf and found her priced at £249.99 in Argos. The average price comes in at £250 but prezzybox.com is currently selling her for £219 (plus £3.95 delivery charge). However, she is an investment, my children have had years of fun with her. I doubt I will ever part with her (I have to have something to entice the grandchildren to visit!)
She does require a fair amount of space during use:
Before I donated my dining room to the kids as a playroom she was stored in the corner of my daughter's bedroom and pulled into the the centre of the room whenever anyone wanted to ride her. This wasn't great, but my daughter wanted Brandy close to her so didn't mind the inconvenience of shuffling things around when she wanted a rock.
Comfortable softly padded saddle with reins and stirrups for safety and security. Suitable from 3 years of age.