Hobby Stick Horse

How to make a hobby horseLast spring I was busy helping Nikki, my daughter-in-law, make birthday party favors for her daughter (my granddaughter) Emery.  The party theme was “My Little Pony” and instead of buying a whole bunch of candy or cheap little trinkets that would be thrown away and forgotten, it was decided to make a stick horse for each child.

How to make a hobby horse

These are all the pieces and parts you will need to cut out. I have already sewn the ears and the gusset together.  All you need for the head is about 1/2 yard of fabric and stuffing!

Nikki found a wonderful tutorial online and it’s called the “strapping stick horse”, click here to see it.  This is where you get the pattern and a full tutorial with instructions and great pictures on how to make a “strapping stick horse”, or hobby horse, as I call it!

I am showing how we modified the horse a bit from the original, as you will see in the pictures, to make it easier to put together.  In our version, the mouth is not open, and we didn’t take the time to embroidery the eyes and nostrils (too much embroidery, too little time, too many hobby horses!), but instead used buttons and googly eyes.  If you are making only one or two of these you will have plenty of time to embroidery!

How to make a hobby horse

First things first – sew together the ears, iron them flat.

After I sewed the first one together, I realized that I could make them faster using an assembly line: all the ears first, then all the gussets, etc..  I also realized that it was easier for me to change around the order (from the original tutorial) each part of the face was sewn together.  I found that if I sewed the ears together first, next sewed the gusset in, next sewed the ears into the slits, then lastly sewing in the mane while closing up the back of the head – this was the easiest way to make sure the ears were even.

DIY hobby horse

This is where the ears are sewn into the slits. I waited until the gusset was sewn in before I cut the slits so that they would be even on the head.

The first one I made in the order of the original tutorial, and I found that it was really hard to get the ears even on the forehead.  Once you have the sewing done, you can follow the tutorial for embroidering the eyes and nose (or using buttons like I did) and then stuffing the head, inserting and securing the stick.  Probably the easiest way to secure the wad of stuffing and fabric on the end of the stick is to  drill a hole (or two) through the stick as well as the groove around the stick,  Use thick quilting thread and once you have secured the fabric in the groove, pass the thread through the hole once or twice also.  I have found that after a short amount of use, unless you drill the hole and pass the thread through it, the stick may come out of the head.

How to make a hobby stick horse

Once the ears are sewn in, you will be making the yarn “mane” and then sewing that in down the back of the head. Pin, pin, pin! That’s all I can say.

You can make the horse’s gusset a different color so it looks like a Palomino, and you can even use a pinkish color for the inside of the ears!  I think the horses “mane” looks best when two or more colors are used.  As far as customizing these, another thought would be to buy fabric and yarn to match your child’s favorite “My Little Pony”!

After having made several of these, I can tell you that it is hard working with very “stretchy” fabric, unless you are a sewing pro.  Also, when you are finished sewing the head together and are stuffing the head, try to stuff with as big a wad as possible at a time.

How to make a Hobby horse

This is the horse all sewn, ready for stuffing. If you are going to embroidery the eyes and nose, you should do that now. If you are using buttons for the eyes and nose, you can either sew them on now or after the head is stuffed.


Little wads make the head look a bit lumpy and bumpy. 😉  When sewing on the halter, again, we went the easy route.  You can see in the pictures below that we did a simplified version of a halter.


Let me tell you – those things were a hit and when all was said and done cost less than most party favors!  They also make great Christmas presents!  You don’t have to buy any batteries for it (your kids are the batteries), it doesn’t make any noise (but your kids certainly will), you don’t have to feed it and you can “park” it behind the door!


  • Caden Caden My grandson, Caden, all smiles with his stick horse. He picked out one with a curly blonde mane and a red halter. Yes, that is a jump house in the background. No, we didn't allow them in the jump house with their horses! 🙂
  • Mia Mia Mia, my wonderful first grandchild, with her yellow haltered stick horse. Each child got to pick out their own horse and I don't think there were any that were exactly the same! Looks like there some ridin' going on in the background
  • Amanda Amanda Amanda, my beautiful grand-niece, enjoying her stick horse. I loved that the horses had different colored halters and manes. Some of the manes were curly and some were straight. Some were only one color of yarn and some had multiple colors.
  • Group shot Group shot Here are some of the kids with their stick horse party favors! That's my little granddaughter, Emery (the birthday girl), in the front wearing pink (what else?)
  • My sister My sister This is my sister, Machell, trying out one of the horses! Sometimes I claim her, sometimes I don't, but I love her anyway!


But here’s the funny part – the whole time I was sewing these horse heads together, I had a song stuck in my head. Don’t they call that an “ear worm”?  Anyway, let me explain.  Any of you who have seen the series of “The Godfather” movies will remember the scene when the guy wakes up in the morning, throws back his bed covers and discovers the head of his very expensive racehorse.  Remember?  (eeewwwww)  Well, as I was making these horse heads the theme song for “The Godfather” was on a continuous loop through my head!  So, if you’ll forgive me, I just HAD to reenact that scene:





For any of you who would like to have a stick horse similar to this one but don’t want to bother making one, I am going to make several and place them in my Etsy store soon, so stay tuned!

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22 thoughts on “Hobby Stick Horse

  1. Those are fantastic!

    And the funny thing is – as I was reading I was thinking “sewing horse heads would make me think about ‘The Godfather’…” And then I scrolled down & laughed when I saw you thought of it, too. (The re-enactment is hilarious…)

    I love making party favors; I’m going to file this idea away for the future when one of mine is inevitably obsessed with horses. (All kids go through that phase, right?) xo

    • Yes, they made great party favors. Give yourself some time to make them, however. They aren’t hard to do, just takes time. Thanks Meghann.

  2. Hi Vicky, my granddaughters love horses. Honey Bunny is saving every cent so she can buy a horse. She is five now. Not sure how old she will be when she gets enough. 🙂

    Wishing you a wonderful week. Darlene

    • Oh, you should make one! They aren’t very hard – even a beginner could make one if time is taken to pin, pin, pin!!! Thank you so much for inviting me to your party – I already slid over to your blog and joined in! Thank you so much Kristina and Millie!

        • Thank you so much Kristina and Millie – that is so cool! I know your grandson will just love the hobby stick horse! Post a picture when you are finished! Better yet – post a picture of your grandson enjoying it! Thanks again!

    • Thanks! This would make a great Christmas Gift! It only takes about 1/2 yard of fabric and a stick (from your backyard tree would be wonderful!) so the cost isn’t much! The whole thing can be made in a few hours, once you have everything ready to go. I added the post to your party – thank you for the invite! Have a great weekend and Thanksgiving!

    • Thank you so much, Lynn! I agree! You can customize them to any color you want, give them button eyes or googly eyes or embroidered eyes, etc. – so much better than the ones you get at the store!

    • You are so right! Kids do love horses! I went to your website and saw the wooden rocking horse with plans – wonderful! Thanks for sharing!

    • All the kids at the party loved them too – from 2-1/2 years old to a 9 year-old! Have fun making these, Jessica! They would be a wonderful addition under the Christmas Tree!

  3. Thanks for linking up to the Creative Home and Garden hop – I’m featuring this post this week, so please do stop by again on Sunday and grab your “featured post” button. Best wishes from England!

    • I had one as a child also! Mine was red. I hope you make one for your granddaughter, I know she would love it! Thank you for being a host at the HomeAcre Hop!

    • Thank you, Alexis, I am honored for the feature! I would love it if you would post a picture of the girls with their ponys after Christmas! I will see you tonight at the link party with my snowman kit!