hobby horse



  • A traditional figure in various English folk ceremonies. The performer is disguised in a wooden or wicker framework shaped like a horse and dances through the streets accompanied by a retinue of musicians. The hobby horse can still beseen in May Day ceremonies held at Padstow, Cornwall and Minehead, Somerset; it also appears in the morris dance and certain of the Mummers' Plays. The origins of the custom are unknown; claims that it derives from pagan animal worship are now dismissed by most scholars.