Wednesday, 1 January 2014

2014 - The Year of the Horse Bench

Happy New Year! It's good-bye, and in some cases good riddance, to the year of twerking, latté selfies, schmeat, cronuts, crookies, and bitcoins. 

And speaking of bits, yes, it's 2014, the Year of the Horse.

In the Chinese calendar The Year of the Horse comes around every twelve years and if you are a Horse, you're very lucky. 

For a start, you're not one to stand still.

You're not one to sit still either. Though just occasionally you might see a horse on a bench.

Horses have boundless energy. They're born to race.

They're fiesty. Every horse will make a run for it if they get the chance.

Horses are athletic. They can vault over fences and horse benches.

If you want to stop a horse bench giddy-up and going, you have to bring it indoors. Even then, you'll need bells on it.

I bought a horse from a blacksmith; he made a bolt for the door. It's no good bolting the barn door after the rocking horse bench has fled.

Horse people are hard workers. 

You don't call them workhorse benches for nothing.,

They're brave.

And they're intelligent. A good Horse woodworker can make a combined play horse, table and seating unit with no problem at all.

Most of the horse benches I've seen are wild and powerfully rebellious.

They're cunning and clever, like these wild wood carved horses.

When they harness their energy, they're ambitious and talented. 

For example, dressage horse benches like to show off.

Conklin Forge at

And horse people like to show off too. They like to rock up looking fabulous.

They spend a fortune on shoes.

And boots.

They buy all the best brands.

A horse will stand guard over a good pair of shoes.

No way does a horse want his shoes turned into a bench.

seen on ebay

Horses are justifiably proud. Even the plainest horses hold their head high.

Look how handsome this fellow is in black and gold.

To be or not to be a horse rider? That is the equestrian.

Horse people are fiercely independent and notoriously difficult to tame.

I'm not sure that's true of horse benches though: this horse bench seems to be saddled up and ready to ride.

And this guy seems to be riding his horse bench with no problem.

Maybe these are just horse benches of a different colour though.

Horses are herd animals. Like my little ponies, they like to stick together.

Horse animals and Horse people are miserable alone.

Why the long face?

Because Horse people are suckers for romance. Like bench ends, they like to be in pairs.

In the barn or in the open fields, they stay near each other.

They'll canter great distances looking for love.

They hitch up their wagon benches and off they go.

They will climb mountains, no matter how high.

They'll brave any weather.

It sounds like Horse people are amazing. And they are. But they have one major fault.  Horse people are soooo impatient. 

They tend to put the cart bench before the horse bench. 

Here's the cart bench . . .

. . . and here's the horse bench.

Instead of coming out with all saddles blazing, they need to change tack. 

Whoa there, Horse Folk!  

Stop horsing around. 

Relax and have a seat on the horse bench.

There's plenty of room for all of us.

my photo, Engen, West Germany

If horse people could just reign in their energy, they'd find peace and contentment close to home.

Home, by the way, is where you hang up your cowboy hat.

And your cowboy boots.

It might seem that a cowboy is a horse person's best friend. Yes, it's true that horses get on very well with people.

But in fact, according to Chinese astrology, if you're a Horse, your perfect partner is a Dog. In which case, you'll have to wait til the next Year of the Dog in 2018.

Of course, Chinese astrology isn't set in stone.

But if you were born in the Year of the Horse, 2014 is your year.

Live it wisely and you'll never look back.


The following years are Horse years: 1906, 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014. If you were born in one of these years, you're probably a Horse. In 2014 The Year of the Horse begins on 31 January (the Chinese new year) and ends on 18 February 2015.

Chinese New Year is an annual event here on Benchsite. 2020 is the Year of the Rat. In 2019 it's The Pig. 2018 got a bit mixed up with Unicorns and Dogs. 2017 is The Year of the Rooster, with quite a lot of Chinese beer thrown in. 2015 is The Year of the Monkey Bench. And 2013? That's Goat Benches, or possibly Sheep. 

There are plenty of horse benches in the wild west and you'll find some cowboys too. See the Wildest West Benches of the USA at

Stickersforlife have a great deal of stickers in their shop at They have some very big decals and they have them on a huge variety of themes including animals, flowers, music, trees, dragons, hearts, cars, kids and lots and lots of Others. The 2014 horse caught my eye as it is photographed above the startlingly green sofa. OK, not a bench, but close enough to welcome in the new year. 

The pony and the park bench are from Jakob Lehr, otherwise known as myhd. This is the only bench photo in myhd's photostream but there are lots of other interesting subjects, including close-ups of food, signs, and mousepaths. Most of them have one word titles. None of them are explained, which is quite nice. You can make your own story as to why a pony is standing by a park bench.

Bronwen Hyde, aka bellybuttongirl, is a fine art photographer originally from Australia, currently based in London. Her work varies from staged portraiture and self-portraiture inspired by light, colour, locations, characters, props and costumes, through to images recording her fascination with natural and urban landscapes and details, creatures, and death. She has had two solo exhibitions in Melbourne,  and considerable success in various art competitions. She recently undertook a one month artist residency at Hospitalfield in Arbroath, Scotland, to create images to complete her series interior / exterior, and to find new directions with her self-portraiture and photography in general. Now she is gone he sits alone is from her photostream at

Tiburon Effects is in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. It's the newest face of Lebanon Machine and Manufacturing, which was originally founded in 1969. Building on this 50 year heritage, Tiburon Effects produces highly creative, intriguing, functional metal art like the bench with the jockey and horse.

Downtempo is a global explorer currently based in San Francisco. He took the photo of the slightly scary horse bench whilst travelling in Thailand back in 2006. His sets contain photos of just about every country you can think of. There are also a lot of photos from the Burning Man festival, which is always a good subject for photos.

Aloha Stickers in Hawaii makes all kinds of decals; animals, sci-fi, fantasy, religious, place names, etc. There are lots of sports decals and the gymnastics guy vaulting over the horse just had to be in this story.

The two-headed horse bench with bells is described as Very Odd by gemjunkie, who contributed it to Collectors Weekly Show and Tell at

Karin Sohlgren is a librarian from Stockholm. Her photostream is My Little Camera2005 at She describes herself as a hyper-creative, curious, intensive photo-freak (and a typical Sagitarius too). Her Little Camera is a Sony cybershot with 7.2 megapix.  Running away on a rocking horse has always seemed like a good idea to me. It's one of the many fascinating photos of art, exhibitions, travel and events in Karin's photostream.  

The Shave Horse is a workbench on which the woodworker sits to, um, shave wood. You can see the shavings on the ground. This bench was photographed by Simon Speed in 2011 at the Living History event in Priory Country Park in Bedfordshire. The photo is in the public domain at

The US Patent for a combined play horse, table and seating unit is from Lisa Genius, whose photostream contains lots of peculiar patents from the past    The patent is dated November 1965; I wonder how many have been sold? I notice there are storage drawers under it, which would come in handy for storing all those horseshoes. 

War Horse is the children’s novel, award-winning play, and film by Michael Morpurgo. The story recounts the experiences of Joey, a horse purchased by the Army for service in France during World War I and the attempts of young Albert, his previous owner, to bring him safely home. The War Horse book bench is one of 50 London-connected book benches scattered around London in the summer of 2014. The artist is Rae Smiht and it was created by Gerard Strong. It was photographed by Martin Pettitt  and appears in his comprehensive book bench album at

The black metal horse bench is one of a range of themed benches from  They sell a wide range of garden furniture and decorative items which are manufactured by British craftsmen using a high grade steel.  The horse bench comes in five different horse of a different colours

The carved wooden horse bench is by Kris, who has been making large scale wood carvings since 2004 at  From insects to elephants, he uses a chainsaw to carve wildlife and figurative sculptures, furniture, functional crafts, 3D signs and more. In addition to wood, he also sculpts in bronze, clay and epoxy resin. 

Is it just me or does dressage seem a bit odd to you? I can't see who benefits by making horses walk backwards. Or sideways for that matter. The metal dressage horse bench is lovely though. It's from Conklin Forge at  Dragonfly Corral is a family business run by Stan and Rebecca Macchione in Draper, Utah. They are inspired by Southwestern art, especially animals and the vibrant colours of mountains and deserts. The painted treasure chest box with horses is an example of their work, which is sold through their etsy shop at

The white log cedar rocking bench is just one from many benches made by NC Rustic at  Deer, elk, moose, birds, and of course horses -  they make furnishings from reclaimed American barnwood, dead standing aspen and other sustainable, long lasting cedar and pine woods. For those who don't care for too much rustic, they also have hand-forged iron designs and mildly distressed oak, pine and walnut furniture with just a hint of rustic flair. NC Rustic is in the USA and does not ship to the UK. 

The horseshoe bench is in the Tucson Arizona Botanical Garden, photographed by adobepillow  in 2012. Originally from Maryland, abodepillow and his wife moved to New Mexico in 2006 and are having the time of their lives in the Land of Enchantment.  adobepillow's photostream at has some great benches from the Wild West, and also a lot of pictures of dogs. Two beautiful dogs, Chloe and Sasja, seem to find their way into lots of pictures. Come 2018 I'll be asking to use them in my Year of the Dog story.

The metal cowboy boots bench is from Modern Iron Works in Bonners Ferry, Idaho. They are a small family-owned business selling ornamental iron garden gates, elevated dog feeders, pot racks, custom metal art and more. If you like dogs, you should check out their Great Dane themed items.

The branded bench is not a brand like JC Penneys or Marks and Spencer. Oh no, these brands are the real deal. Much as I hate the idea of branding animals, I quite like the brands themselves, and they look great on this bench. The brand bench was photographed by tennie2 in Texas. Tennie2 lives in Florida and takes stunning photos of landscapes and people in natural settings, including Florida Cracker Days and Florida state parks.  I love her art from stock photos set.

The little blue rocking horse with a stick head is called the Minnen horse and was sold by Ikea back in December 2007. I'm not sure it's still available but if you have a lot of time, you could spend a few days looking through the latest Ikea catalogue.  I saw it on     

The handsome black and gold fellow is by 3D Rivers, whose mission is to help the internet community meet the growing need for a wide range of well-designed, high quality 3D models and consumer goods products in a constantly changing environment. They offer a huge range of 3D products including things like buildings, transport, everyday objects, characters, model packs, animals, and yes, of course, benches. This Indian-style horse is one of the many different kinds of benches available via their online site at He has already appeared on Benchsite as one of the animals on Noah's Ark

The bucking bronco horse bench is from LaFuente Imports, which imports home decor items from Mexico and around the world. They have a wide range of rustic furniture, made from natural aspen, cedar and pine. Their Southwest collection includes styles of accessories and folk art and there is pottery, weavings, carvings and masks.

The little horse standing guard over the pair of shoes is from The Winfield Collection. They sell exclusive wood patterns, supplies, and unique items for making your own designs. The little horse bench pattern is available for $7.95 at   

The Noble Steed which appears to be saddled with a colourful red rug is by toastforbrekkie, aka George Hatcher from Merritt Island, USA. He has more than 19,000 photos on his photostream which were taken with a cellphone. There are people, places, food, and lots of vintage cars. Noble Steed was photographed in 2004.

To be or not to be a horse rider? That is the equestrian. And sadly, it's not my joke. It's from comedian Mark Simmons.

The man riding a horse bench is Bimble, who lives in Swansea. On this occasion he is bimbling along in the North Yorkshire Moors where maybe such things are common. Judging from his photostream, Bimble is keen on archery and he seems to have attended rather a lot of London's Olympic and Paralympic events.

Babysitterdesign in Tel Aviv sell handmade soft things for children, including the colourful horse couch. They also do baby textiles, cushions, pillows, clocks, and soft toys - all cheerful things to make kids happy.

A lot of little girls love My Little Ponies (theirs, not mine). In Susan Frikken's picture there are quite a few Little Ponies on the one bench. Susan lives in Wisconsin and loves taking and sharing photographs. Her photostream is full of friends and family, local events, pets, and stuff that goes on in her 'hood. Swimmer that I am, I was particularly interested in the Polar Bear Plunge that took place last winter.

Patty Pickett lives in Idaho Falls where she photographed the pretty little horse with its head down. This, I think, is one of the many benches along the Snake River Greenbelt trail in Idaho Falls. Patty travels widely in Idaho and Montana and she loves photographing mountains and ghost towns. The Wild West is alive and well in Patty's photos. She captures landscapes, barns, abandoned farms and, of course, horses. 

Security Horse (in Denver, 2004)  is one of those brilliant serendipitous photos I find from time to time in Creative Commons. No explanation is given. Perhaps none is needed. Why the long face? Who needs to know? The photo is by .nednas. who has an interesting profile and takes pictures with a camera that's not a phone. Equipment Used: bottle opener, laptop, GPS, one carefully folded single napkin, Corel Photo Paint, three euros, some Adobe paraphernalia, passport, a gift certificate good for one pound of cheese, two pairs of shoes, lens cleaner, Second Aid Kit, a camera bag secretly disguised as a truck and Canon cameras of various shapes.

The Other Dan lives in Canada. He is not so much a photographer as someone who just takes a lots of photos and hopes some of them will look ok. That's his description, by the way, not mine. I think the two horse-heads bench looks great, which is why I've used it here.

Lorin Chen from New York is a prolific photographer of benches. She has captured the Parade of Benches in Rochester, New York, and these horses in Greece, New York. They were sponsored by American's Fiberglass Animals. The artist is Ross Lampshire.

The brown metal horse bench is from Phoenix Creative Metal Artistry, a family run business in Salvisa, Kentucky. After many years in the military, Scot and Laura Kellersberger settled down with their children on a small farm and using the medium of metal, they strive to create snapshots in time of the world around them. Drawing on their combined life experiences and the beauty of nature around them, they craft long-lasting heirlooms of art and shape a two dimensional picture into a 3D image brimming with life.

The horse drawn carriage bench in a countryside background is by Christopher Meredith, who lives in Jackson, Mississippi. Among other subjects, his photostream has sets of a Mississippi tea party and a snow storm in Mississippi in 2010.

The horse in snow is in Havlicek's Gardens in Revnice, Prague. It was photographed in December 2010 by ŠJů (cs:ŠJů) and appears on WikiCommons at

Amy C says photography is her life. She sells matt prints, canvas prints, prints on wood or slate, and prints on gift items such as phone cases, mugs, card, notepads and other items. Amy lives in Virginia and photographs local sites. That means gorgeous autumn landscapes, the Potomac river, Arlington cemetery, and, of course, The White House. But she also travels and photographs what she finds. The wagon wheel bench is something she saw in Old Town, San Diego.

Ironcraftinaz specialize in custom hand crafted steel products. They have been in business over 20 years in Tucson, Arizona. They design and build furniture, home accessories, gates, fencing and numerous other exterior projects. This includes lots of benches which, like the Western Hall Tree, evoke the colours and landscapes of the SouthWest.

The life-size horse bench is from Jolly Roger Ltd. Lifesize Models are in the UK.  They have thousands of quality resin and fibre-glass 3D life-size models, figures, signs, statues, props, furnishings, etc. Their showroom has over 2000 themed models, which include animals, people, and everything from counter-top coffee beans to fullsize elephants. Their Facebook page shows some of the models in amazing situations  You will also find them talked about on Twitter  Their zebra bench is on Noah's Ark.

The pretty little grey crocheted horse pillow makes a great bench from which to watch TV. You can order the pattern and make the horse yourself in any colour you like. It's from Pearl Shore Cat, which sells vintage patterns for crochet, knitting and tatting at

Andrew Carpenean's photography blog is at  and as far as I can tell. he lives in Colorado. He takes portraits and other photographs for his blog, going back to 2004. There are lots of bands and events from lots of different states, so Andrew gets around. I could not find a way to contact him but I hope he won't mind me using his cowboy hat bench photo, properly credited, of course. 

The PlusZ Ranch in Redmond, Oregon is just a little bit western. Inspired by the nature and history of the Wild West, the creative people at the PlusZ Ranch use old stuff like cowboy ropes, worn horseshoes, barnwood, and antique barbed wire to make lovely, rustic things. One of them is the Cowboy boots bench, which reminds me of a gas station we used to go to in Seattle when I was a child. The gas pumps were under the cowboy hat and the cashier lived in the boots. Boy howdy, we loved going there! Sorry, I digress. The PlusZ Ranch shop is at

The horse person is Betty and the man with her on the bench is Davey, otherwise known as Scarycrow. Scarycrow likes to photograph assemblages, birthday parties on benches, and vintage stuff, including old cars. Animal heads are a theme as well; see his brilliant trio on a bench waiting to board Noah's Ark. Scarycrow's photostream is at   

Jeremy's entheos_fog photostream shows Vancouver at its best. There are beaches and parks and cityscapes and glorious mountain views. The horse and dog bench recognises the service of dogs and horses within the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. It was photographed outside the RCMP station in North Vancouver in 2010. at entheos_fog

Ben Sutherland lives in London. His photostream has a massive 55,000+ photos documenting most of his life.  The St Leger 1776 stone horse bench is in Doncaster, which is the oldest classic horse race course in the world dating from, you guessed it, 1776.

Wonderlane is a Photographer Libre from Seattle who travels widely in Northern India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim and Tibet. Wonderlane has thousands of photographs, many with a Buddhist influence. The photographs are given freely to share, so I am happy to show the horse bench with two metal horses looking backwards.   Many thanks to you, Wonderlane, and to all the generous spirits who make their work available through a Creative Commons license.

Here is Tonks the horse with Lord Brassica and Root. They were photographed at Innocent's gold party on new year's eve. Lord Brassica's gold lame trousers were described by Frank Fashion Weekly as Gary Glitterish whilst Root's gold tunic was said to be an improvement on his usual look. Tonks was praised for his regal look and his homage to Cleopatra. 

There are several animal editors on Benchsite. Eddie is my Inner Editor, who just happens to be a primate. See what monkey business he gets up to on St. George's Day. If you've had enough horse benches, why not try some other animals. How about dogs? Or cats, edited by Meredith from Animal Editors dot com? Or sunny bunnies for Easter. We've got plenty of farm animals too, including some Baaaaad Sheep Benches. Let Lord Brassica show you the cream of his bovine benches. And if that's not enough, see all the animal benches that Noah saved on the ark.  

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