The Cups & Saddles is a popular rider’s meeting place in Hazelwood, and it’s here that the riding friends meet up for cake and gossip. This is a wonderful toy to start or extend children’s collections of Schleich horses. It’s packed full of a huge range of items to enjoy and to make imaginative play great fun. Children will love to unpack this box, and reveal more and more delights. There’s too much to list here (over 60 pieces altogether), but some of the items are the cafe building itself, models of Tom and Emily plus the horse, Pino, a range of cafe essentials such as an oven, menu board, tables and chairs and more, a variety of tasty looking food and drink (cupcakes, drinks and pie, to name a few) and plenty of horse-y accessories. To add to the play value, the Tom figure can sit, stand and grasp objects as well as ride his horse, Pino; the Emily figure can move her arms and ride a horse. Children will love this new addition to the range, which adds a fresh dimension to play, and yet it blends perfectly with the other sets. Schleich figurines are renowned for being modelled in the finest detail and for the attention to accuracy.
They really encourage children to play and learn at the same time, and the more sets and figures they have, so the play value is enhanced. The horse sets are perfect for encouraging cooperative play, as children can put sets together for endless inspiration. If your child is playing with friends, why not take a photo of each child’s collection? It will make a lasting record and avoid any ownership issues; as there are so many pieces in this set, it would also help to identify and keep the set intact. The set is carefully packaged so that every item is safely protected; I just wonder, in these days of plastic awareness, whether the use of plastic wrapping could be reduced? Interestingly, that point was raised by our 6 year old young tester, who is very aware of being eco-friendly. The cafe itself does need assembling – it’s simple to do and there are detailed pictorial instructions, but may be better done before presenting it to the child. Once built, it’s sturdy and well made, as well as being attractively decorated. We love the flowers climbing up the trellis – it’s the little touches that make all the difference. This is a fabulous addition to the range, really extending play value and encouraging imaginative play; cafes are one of the best areas for role play scenarios, making this a superb complement to the Schleich horse range. The Rider Cafe can be purchased from Smyths Toys and retails at £39.00 (July 2019).