Hoodening in popular culture

We never imagined, when we resumed hoodening some 50+ years ago, that hooden horses might become a 'meme' — indeed, the concept didn't even exist. And much of what is called 'hooden' in popular culture has very little to do with our tradition. Nevertheless, some of it is quite creative, or at least it's thought-provoking to see what 'creatives' do with it.


Hoodening has appeared in both video games and role-playing games (RPG).

Hooden lance Hoodening hatchlings

The similar tradition of the Mari Lwyd has also appeared, in more mainstream games:

DIY Models

James Frost runs occasional "build your own hooden horse" workshops, suitable for children too. Beth Hopkins, Stephen Rowley and others have done adult workshops elsewhere — although as you'll see from our definition of Hoodening we're reluctant to apply that word to anything outside East Kent, so these are generally what we'd call morris beasts (Rowley refers to "a real hobby horse for morris/mummers based on the Kentish Hooden Horse"). Many years ago Ron Shuttleworth, former "Keeper of Beasts to the Illustrious Order of United Fools", produced a thorough guide to constructing hobby animals, where he made clear this was mainly aimed at morris dancers; nevertheless, it is useful for anyone thinking of making a beast of any type. One issue highlighted in this making a Mari Lwyd walkthrough is that with all skulls, one has to work out a mechanism to attach (and hinge) the jaw.

Horse template Horse template

All hooden horses are unique, but amongst the various traditions similar to Hoodening, some have created mass-produced (occasionally downloadable) templates to make your own beast. On Alamy there are images of various polygonal or 'origami' horse & unicorn heads that could perhaps be adapted; searching for papercraft reveals some template models. The closest we've got to that is a PDF containing a 3D scan of Coomber's hooden horse, which is probably not high enough quality for 3D printing. If you're looking to make a souling horse or Mari Lwyd, there are numerous technical/legal difficulties with obtaining actual skulls, so it's simpler nowadays to buy a polyurethane model or 3D-print your own.

Papercraft horsehead

Mari Lwyd

The Trac and Twinkl versions below come in both languages.

The Newfoundland Jannie (mummering horse)

Art (paintings, sculptures, film, etc.)

Many artists have been inspired to depict hoodening or the hooden horse — as shown throughout our website. A few more examples are shown below to demonstrate the range of media; we've omitted most live dramatic performances as it's hard to draw a line between these and hoodening variants or similar traditions, and for music, see the page on hoodening songs.

Etsy has dozens of Mari Lwyd Christmas Tree ornaments, badges, stickers, T-shirts, cards, 3D-printed statuettes, keyrings, and the like.