Oldest Dala Horse
This is the oldest Dala horse in Gammelgarden’s collection. This Dala horse – carved by a father, grandfather, or uncle for a child – shows evidence of much use.
The image of a horse goes back thousands of years. The mystique and magic surrounding horses inspired people to recreate their image in rock and cave paintings. Since horses were highly valued, they became a symbol of strength and courage. Horses arrived in Sweden over 4,000 years ago and were tamed and domesticated around that time.
In the 17th century, little wooden horses were sold at markets in small villages and towns and villages in the province of Dalarna, in central Sweden. About 100 years later, men working in the forests carved wooden horses during long winter evenings and brought them back to the village so children could play with them.
The dream of owning a horse would allow the owner to travel farther, adventure more, and have a work partner. Yet, a horse was often out of reach for ordinary folks.
Many folklore heroes had wonderful horses because these horses ignited dreams. Today, the Ford Motor Company continues that dream in the naming of their cars such as the Mustang and Bronco.