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).
Dungeons & Dragons, in the "5e SRD" (Systems Reference Document), contains a description of a "medium undead, lawful evil" creature called Hooden Horse. It's allegedly "topped by a horse’s skull" so there's a bit of confusion with Mari Lwyd, perhaps, although "a drunken procession staggers toward the tavern" is on the mark!
A Swedish heavy-metal tabletop RPG called Mörk Borg includes a "weaponised fölk custom called (and inspired by) hoodening. The hunching and jockey are authentic, but the skull is again more Mari (let alone the "lance of the Mari Lwyd").
At the opposite extreme, an online "Easter Egg Hunt" played inside Facebook called Hatchlings includes a "North Pole" series called Hoodening, with numerous cute eggs such as a mollie, a jockey and a violin player.
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.
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.
Animation: Quarantine includes a quasi-hooden horse clearly based on Barnett Field's East Kent Morris beast.
Film: as part of the 2023 exhibition, Sonia Overall created a 12-minute film "Poor Old Horse":
Film: as a prelude to the 2023 exhibition, Ben Edge (see also below) created a 16-minute film "Hooden Horse":
Immersive experience: whether this really counts as 'art' is debatable, but Scare Kingdom (north of Manchester) used to have a section called 'The Hoodening', described as "the mysterious hoodeners and the Mollie Queen invite you into their pre-Christian ancient folk ritual" (basically, actors tell you to wear a hood — sensory deprivation — then follow a rope through a dark maze towards your 'sacrifice').
Woodwork: a collecting box made for the East Kent morris side.
Woodwork: mini-horses can sometimes be found at Broadstairs Folk Week, Strange Cargo and elsewhere.
Collage/Craft: the mudlarkers "Kit & Caboodlers" created a metal Mudmas 'hoodening horse' from something found in the mud: see their full 10-minute video.