The Dalahorse (otherwise known as Dala horse or Dalecarlian horse) originates from Sweden in the 1600s. The original wooden Dalahorse was born in the log cabins in forests, by workers who would carve them for their children out of leftover wood from furniture they would make. In the past the wooden Dalahorse was largely used as a toy by children, yet they have over time evolved into more of a decorative item. They now come in various different sizes, patterns and are not solely limited to wooden material.
Why a horse?
The horse has long been seen as a symbol of loyalty and worth. In the earlier days of the Dalahorse, the horse was seen as a trusty companion as they would help to pull timber as well as help out on the farms.
How did they become popular?
It was in the 19th century, during a period of economic hardship, that the trading of Dalahorses grew into an industry. It was also during this time that the Dalahorse evolved into something decorative and they were beginning to be produced in red and white.
The 21st century Dalahorse
In modern times, the Dalahorse has become a symbol of Sweden across the world. The traditional wooden Dalahorses are still handcrafted in Sweden in the exact same way they were during the 19th century. However, the Dalahorse’s popularity has spread and it can be seen as a motif on various different types of products, including print, jewellery and clothing.