Ride A Toy Horse - The Nursery Rhyme Collections

The Nursery Rhymes Collections 1-4 contain a total of 277 children's songs. Each double CD album showcases the highest quality children's music ever recorded with a total playing time in excess of 10 hours!

Ride A Toy Horse (Full Audio and Lyrics)

Ride a toy horse
To Banbury Cross
To see a fine lady
Upon a white horse.
Rings on her fingers
And bells on her toes,
She shall have music
Wherever she goes.

Words & Music: Traditional
Arrangement: Mike Wilbury

Origin and background

For obvious reason we decided to change the original words for our version of the traditional rhyme. The original version is:

Ride a cock horse
to Banbury Cross
to see a finer lady
on a white horse

We have to admit that the original words make it easier to understand the historical background. Are toddlers interested in the historical background of nursery rhymes? Propably not. But maybe some parents are? So this is what it's all about: A cock horse is a rocking horse of course but it was also the name for an additional horse that was used for a carriage or coach when the load was too heavy or the circumstances made it necessary to use an additional horse (up the hill, through the mud, etc.). The city of Banbury really exists, about 40 miles northwest of London. It is located on top of a small rise, so the use of an additional horse was necessary every now and then. Banbury Cross also exists, an iron cross in the middle of the crossing. The original cross was destoyed in the 17th century.

The legend says that Elisabeth I (1533-1603) intended to visit that cross when the axis of the carriage broke. So she used the cock horse in order to ride into the city, which was decorated by the residents with ribbons and bells.

Rings on her fingers
and bells on her toes

The "rings on her fingers" are not very surprising - she was the Queen of England. The "bells on her toes" might refer to a fashion of that time to wear shoes with a little bell on their top.