The evolution of the horse (order Perissodactyla) includes modification of the foot from four distinct narrow hooves, decreasing to three, as seen here and presently, the single hoof which is the remaining middle toe of this example.
This whimsical example was created in Great Britain in 1857 by Emily David, a protegee' of Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins, one of the early artists of life-sized prehistoric statuary. This piece is believed to have been made for the grandson of Sir Richard Owen, the foremost paleontologist of the period. The rocking horse was kept at the family home in Sussex until 1914 when its history becomes clouded by the storms of the Great War. When, in1933, the grandson passed away in Paris, no mention was made of the piece.
Following World War II, new constuction forced the relocation of cemeteries throughout Europe. The horse was discovered in a private mauseleum near Warsaw. In the chos and secrecy of the Cold War it vanished once more, only to resurface in rural North Carolina where it wes purchased for restoration.