Restoration -    and its various guises! The horses sold by Elite can can vary greatly in terms of how much restoration  {if any} has been undertaken. We recognise that there are many, rocking horse enthusiasts and collectors who appreciate these wonderful toys in varying states of finish which harbour different tastes in terms of restoration. Over the years we have restored a incredible variety of rocking horses and other antique horse related toys. From Skin covered ponies pulling Opera Carriages to Tricycle horses, the metal headed French Velocipedes and hessian stuffed Stred horses and even a rare plush covered Steiff donkey {which looked remarkably like a fox terrier}! So I would say that we can be trusted to good a good job! In regard to our stock horses its generally dependant on the initial condition of a rocking horse when it first comes into our care as to the amount of restoration {if any} is undertaken. We specialise in authentic restoration using traditional methods and materials where possible or practical. All restoration work is undertaken by ourselves and is not farmed out to outside agencies so that way we can vouch for the consistent and predictable quality of work produced. Nor do we restore for other dealers although we do undertake private restoration { J & R Rusling rocking horses}. To restore or not restore - that is the question. F.A.Q.’s Q. Should I get a horse restored? It really does depend on what you intend to do with the horse. { see ‘buyers guide’ page}. Rule of thumb is the more its left in original condition the more intrinsic value it will retain - to a point! Sometimes if they are original but very fragile then you just have to do something but the extent of the something is the question. Best to seek advice from a reputable restorer or two {not a pure dealer}, they will generally advise you on your options. Q. Does restoration devalue an antique horse? It really does depend on the quality of the restoration. A bad restoration can render a good horse practically worthless. If you are considering having a horse restored, on approaching a restorer ALWAYS ask to look at  examples of past work and ideally make sure restoration is carried out by the people you commission to do it,  that way you can be sure of the quality. Q. If I buy an unrestored horse do I have to have the restoration undertaken at the same place?  On buying an unrestored horse don’t be coerced into having the restoration undertaken at the place of purchase if you would rather not. A reputable dealer will appreciate that you may have a favoured restorer {most enthusiasts do}, to undertake the work to your taste. If it is implied that if you don’t have them restore it they won’t sell you the horse - walk away, they aren’t the people to deal with in any trade! Q. Do old horses conform to current toy safely standards? Unrestored no, due to old lead paint mainly, but other factors can also come into play too. Fully restored, mainly yes, but does depend on the design of horse. There was no such thing as Health and Safety in Victorian times!    Here are two examples of sympathetic restoration. Left - a large section of the face and bottom jaw was missing so the face had a a new section fitted to the face and a new jaw carved. Right - Another beautiful horse in original condition but again, missing its original bottom jaw. A new jaw of authentic design was carved with patina {and tack}, matched to existing. After repair, the old paint, varnish patina and leather was carefully replicated on the restored areas. We also can carefully strip an over-painted horse and restore what we find underneath in the way of original paintwork. We can also artificially distress a horse to make him look his years. We NEVER deface or alter an old horse for cosmetic reasons, we will, if required, only distress new if requested. Restoration Gallery A picture paints a thousand words so it is said so please click on the camera icons links to see a few videos of past restorations.      F H Ayres Nursery Rocker     F H Ayres Skin covered Spring Rocker   J & G Lines Extra carved Rocker   F H Ayres Early Bow Rocker