My son loves cars. If it ain’t got wheels, he just isn’t interested. Mom and dad drive cars, and so does he. Much was the same for children of former times, but instead of driving cars, they imitated their parents by riding hobby horses.
Woodcrafter.net has provided a nice set of vintage plans with instructions to make your own hobby horse. Unfortunately, the horse’s head graphic is not full scale. So, I recommend saving the JPG file and enlarging it with a graphics program until the grid measures 1 inch. You could also use a photocopier to enlarge the pattern. Then all you have to do is glue the pattern to the wood and cut out!
When finished, paint it with some non-toxic acrylic paints or leave it the natural wood color. Maybe break out your wood burning kit to add the details. Perhaps add some reigns, or some string for the mane. Intarsia artists, I think there’s certainly a great project waiting to be born. There’s so many possibilities with such a simple concept. Get creative. Have fun!