“ Brand: Hasbro / Type: Doll House „
As you might have guessed from previous reviews, my 7 year old girl is My Little Pony mad. Last year, thanks to Freecycle, we were given a job lot of MLP play sets and ponies from the 1980's by a woman and her sister clearing their mum's loft. They had wanted the toys played with so that they would give more children as much joy as they had had, and not a collector, so we felt quite blessed that she chose us out of the all the requests. This was actually more unselfish than you may realise, as a complete vintage play set and pristine Ponies, which many of these were, can fetch pretty good money. The Show Stable, for example, complete and with box, can fetch upwards of £90-£100, while just the stable with or without the accompanying pony and missing most of the other accessories can be bought for as low as £10 second hand via eBay.
One of the items given to my daughter was the Show Stable, and it was nearly 100% complete, having the box (though now getting slightly tatty), some of the fences, the jump, the saddle and reins, the award cup, the pet dog Brandy who fits the saddle, window boxes, ribbons, etc. Likewise it came with the original Pony lemon Drop with it, so with her existing Ponies and those others also in a bag, she was able to sit down and have fun straight off. It's basically a sort of 1980's version of the 70's Fisher Price Little People dollhouse in type of construction, with hard plastic shell that opens up via the doors to reveal an interior to store the bits in. Inside there, we found the heart comb and a MLP hair brush, so its also possible to groom your Pony before putting her to stable.
It's a nice little addition to any child's (or collector's) MLP menagerie, and has a lot of potential for imaginary play. My daughter has made this the scene of many a Pony competition as well as a sort of venue for Pony picnics and parties, rather like having it as the Ponies' community centre. Likewise, they show up there from time to time to be trained, especially the smaller baby ponies, and many other such games of pretend. When she is finished, the interior is quite spacious enough to store the bits and pieces that go to this particular play set, so they do not get lost. This makes it easy for her to find the bits when she is playing a game with this, so a child who is taught to put things away properly will have no problem knowing where their stuff is. If your child is a lost cause in this regard, you might want to supervise helping them put the small parts away, as they are fragile enough to snap if trod on, and some small enough to get under rugs, beds, etc.
It says on the original box that this is for ages 3 and up, and while that is about right, I would not let a child under the age of 5 or 6 play with unsupervised, as unsuspecting carelessness can damage this toy. Pulling too quickly or too hard can damage the opening doors, as we found out after a visiting child snapped a hinge, necessitating buying a wrecked version of this for spare parts. Likewise the little flags and weather vane at the top come off, and be used for poking, or lost. Also, plastics often become brittle with age, so a child not understanding this can accidentally crack or damage parts that seem sturdy at first glance. Basically this is what caused the damage to the door hinge, too eager to open and age caused brittleness made for a quick snap into uselessness for one stable door. Because of this, my daughter is not allowed to take this down when visitors are about, as too often other children do not have the same respect for her vintage toys as she does, and likewise their little brothers or sisters find it irresistible and also handle it roughly. But, a careful child who is respectful of her toys will not find this a hindrance, and currently if a mishap does occur, you can buy one of the cheaper and less complete or ill used Show Stables to source replacement bits.
It's a lovely toy, and one of her favourites, having a place of honour when she sets up Ponyville in her room for a game of pretend, so as long as you keep the cautions in mind, a worthy addition for the MLP fan.