Pros: Fun, sturdy, sound effects, almost impossible to destroy
Cons: Hard to put together, takes up a lot of room, motion activated??
The love for a carousel was started by my parents. When we went to Busch Gardens, Zackary was to young for most of the rides. He loves to watch the carousel go around, the music and the lights, so we decided to try to get him to ride it. The first time was a nightmare. He didn't want me to put him on the horse, and fought tooth and nail until the ride started. Then he decided this horse thing was pretty cool! After 5-6 rides, we decided we were done. Our son, on the other hand, decided he didn't WANT to go, so the fight started again, this time because we were leaving the ride.
That Christmas my mother was unsure what to do for Zack again. She had purchased the Hedstrom Shadow 44" Spring Horse With Sound Effects for our nephew the year before, and he loved it. She decided that since he loved his, and Zacky loved the carousel horses, maybe he would like one, too. She ordered one online and had it delivered to us.
"Adult Assembly Required". If that isn't an understatement, I don't know what is. It took my husband, myself and two other people well over an hour to get this horse put together. It requires flat head and Phillips head screwdrivers, and a adjustable wrench or adjustable pliers. You will also need 3 AA batteries for the sound box.
The instructions are clear as mud. There are three pictures total showing where the parts all go, along with some written instructions. After some trial and error, and a whole lot of cussing by all four of us, we finally got the Hedstrom Shadow 44" Spring Horse With Sound Effects together.
When Zackary got up the next morning, his Hedstrom Shadow 44" Spring Horse With Sound Effects was waiting for him in the living room. We would have put it in his bedroom, but the horse takes up quite a bit of room. The horse, stand and all, is 44" tall at the top of the horse's head. The base is roughly 24" wide and 40" long. The horse is well within the area of he plastic base.
The Hedstrom Shadow 44" Spring Horse With Sound Effects is made of black molded plastic. He has white socks and a white muzzle. There is a red, molded, saddle blanket under the black saddle. At the top of his neck are the two red, plastic coated handles. The base is red and there are black plastic tubes hiding the springs from fingers that could easily be pinched.
Zack is afraid to get on the Hedstrom Shadow 44" Spring Horse With Sound Effects alone, so he comes to either myself or my husband to lift him up and into the saddle. The black "stirrups" are a little high and hard for him to use to climb up. He won't stand on the red brace and use it as a step. Once he gets a little taller, I think he will figure out how to use the stirrup himself.
Once he is on the Hedstrom Shadow 44" Spring Horse With Sound Effects, he grabs the handles and rocks back and forth. He hasn't bounced up and down, but prefers to rock back and forth while watching TV. He likes to bounce, but we generally have to help him. The springs are still kind of stiff, so he needs some help. He will, however, slide down from Shadow by kicking a leg over and sliding off.
Besides the massive pain in the backside that it is to put together, my only other real complaint about the Hedstrom Shadow 44" Spring Horse With Sound Effects is that it is motion activated. The sound box is mounted on the underside of the horse. The off position is in the middle. On one side there is a music note, which plays carousel music, and the other side is a cowboy hat. When you choose the cowboy hat, the horse will gallop while a cowboy yells out:
~Giddie up, Partner! Let's go!
~Yahooo! Ride 'em, Cowboy!
~Hey! Watch out! It's a stampede!
~You're a great rider!
~Let's set up camp for the night.
Sounds great, right? Well, Zack can't make enough movement to make the motion activated sound effects come on. Matt and I even have trouble. We have to almost bounce it hard enough to make the entire thing jump to get it to play. This is without Zack being on it, I might add. When he is on it, we can't bounce it hard enough to make it come on, so we just leave it turned off. Since he usually rides when he is watching TV, he doesn't care.
Our son has had his Hedstrom Shadow 44" Spring Horse With Sound Effects and he still enjoys it. Even our nephew, who received his the year before, loves his. He is almost to big for his now, however. He has gotten to where he will really get it going, so my sister has to watch that he doesn't fly off or flip it over.
It's rated for children ages 2-6 years, or up to 60 lbs. There is no WAY I would allow a 2-3 year old to play on Shadow without some serious parental supervision, though. A child could easily fall and crack their head on the floor or even the metal and plastic frame.
If your child has a love of horses, and you have some spare room to fill, I highly recommend the Hedstrom Shadow 44" Spring Horse With Sound Effects. If you're in a small apartment, like we are, it is a space hog. Be prepared to get rid of some stuff to make some room!