|The revived horse of Penzance - the Penglaz Obby Oss|
"A form of amusement popular in Devon and Cornwall is that of the Hobby Horse. This practice of assuming the forms of animals and counterfeiting their actions is of ancient date and probably formed part of the Roman Saturnalia.
The hobby horse consists of a compound figure. The head and tail of a horse, with a light wooden frame for the body (generally a couple of very slender hurdles joined at the top bars) is attached to the shoulders of a couple of strong youths, one in front with his head covered with a horse-faced mask, and another at the back who cleverly conceals his head under the frame.
The frame covered with trappings reaching to the ground hides the feet of the actors and prevents the discovery that the supposed horse has none. Thus equipped the men prance about, imitating the curvettings and motions of a horse.
As the hobby horse perambulates the streets and capers about, the village band preceding it, the children strike at it with whips and sticks ; uproarious shouts of laughter rend the air, and a great deal of rough play is indulged in."
[This sounds quite different to the surviving horses at Minehead and Padstow, which only take a single person to operate them - this sounds more like a pantomime horse. Perhaps Hewett was writing more authoratativly than she could actually justify. Or perhaps she knew of a Hobby Horse or Obby Oss that had survived undetected... I doubt it.]
Map - Penzance
Map - Padstow
Map - Minehead