Newest Review: ... poles of 4 different sizes around the same number of 3 different types of connectors. Trial and error looked like it could drive me round... more
Neigh very good quality!
Strawberry Stable Pony and Stable Set
Member Name: CheshireJ
Strawberry Stable Pony and Stable Set
Advantages: Nice toy horse to sit and play on
Disadvantages: Very poor quality stables
My youngest daughter received this as a joint present from a few relatives for her second birthday earlier this year. It came in a large box, with the poles in plastic bags inside, and the horse in his own plastic bag.
I decided to tackle the assembly myself rather than waiting for my husband to come home as it looked relatively easy at first glance, that was until I started to read the instructions. Well, I say read, but there wasn't really anything to read, just a very basic diagram. There were twenty poles made up of four different sizes, with some having an extra connector piece attached. Then 3 different types of connectors, with 8 in total. The first job was to sort out the poles, which didn't have any number stickers on, so it was pure guess work as to which was which, and a case of measuring the largest to the smallest to figure it out.
The instruction diagram simply showed the poles as numbers, with coloured arrows to show which connector to use where. There were no words at all, and even though I consider myself quite adept at putting things together it was a challenge to make sure I got the pieces in the right place, and I felt like I was in an episode of the Krypton Factor at one point. The poles themselves simply slotted into each other which was the easy part. You were required to leave the two bottom poles unconnected in order to get the cover on, which I didn't realise at first and had to take them apart again. It was only when the frame was assembled that I realised what poor quality the poles were, being very bendy, and looked liable to snap at the slightest bit of pressure - not good for a toy aimed at young children.
The cover itself was tricky to get one, and I could have done with an extra pair of hands to pull it over the frame. The cover has a front, sides, roof, base, but no back which is left completely open. It doesn't seem like terribly strong material/plastic which is a worry for the base which gets stood on a lot. The cover is made of a plastic type fabric, and is printed to look like stables, with brickwork, a roof, rosettes stuck on, and wellies & a bucket under the mesh window.
There was just one other small diagram which was even worse than the main one. It showed where to put the flat lengths of plastic - on the roof apex and down the edge of the door frame - to connect the poles after the cover is on, and where to tie the cover to the poles. Again, this wasn't very clear and I had to work most bits out myself using trial and error. The ties to tie the cover to the pole aren't very long and need re-tying regularly.
The door to the stable is just a half door, so the horse can stick its head out. It opens and closes easily enough, and fastens by way of a magnet. However, because the actual stable frame is so poor quality, when the door isn't shut, the frame and cover on that side has a tendency to gape outwards a bit, so you need to pull it back in to secure the door shut.
The finished stable measures 95cm x 95cm x 49cm, and can fit two small children inside, although there's more room to move if there's just one, and only little kids would be able to stand up inside.
I get the feeling that the main thing you're paying for here is the horse, called Fudge, which itself it fairly good quality. It feels like it's got a wooden frame inside, covered with wadding, then fur. It stands 57cm tall (I should really measure it in hands shouldn't I?!), and measures 62cm nose to tail. It's soft to touch and sturdy enough for children to sit on. My two year old can sit on it, but her feet just touch the floor so she can't move on it. Whereas my four year old sits on and can walk around dragging it underneath her, as if she's riding a horse.
Fudge comes complete with a fabric saddle, with fur trim, bridle and reins, which also fasten with velcro. I find it hard to work out how to get the saddle back on once it's off, so you can imagine the trouble small children have! I'm sure if you're familiar with horses and know how to saddle up it would be a doddle, but for the uninitiated a diagram would be helpful. A brush, hair scrunchie, 2 hair bobbles, four hair clips, a strawberry clip with 2 lengths of plaited hair attached, are also supplied. The brush isn't the best quality and the plastic handle looks as if it might break. My daughter enjoys grooming Fudge with the brush and doing her mane up with the bobbles and clips.
The RRP is £99.99, and amazon.co.uk currently have it for sale at £89.99, but I have seen it on there for less than £60 which is still very overpriced in my opinion. Whilst the idea is nice, and any child who likes horses would be thrilled to have this toy, the quality of the stables is very poor. We bought her a play café/shop tent from Tesco at the same time she got this. It only cost around £20 yet is much better quality.
Officially it's not suitable for under 3s, which I guess is due to the small accessories, which can be taken away if need be.
It's made by Worlds Apart who do lots of role play toys, including a Strawberry Stable Care Set. This consists of an apple and carrot to feed Fudge, a blanket, blow-up bale of hay, nosebag and broom. My girls just use a plastic carrot that they already had. There's also a Gymkhana dress up set outfit available.
Summary: Wouldn't recommend unless you've got a horse-mad child and money to throw away!
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