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Back Creek Rocking Horses



Back Creek Rocking Horses

Ed Krane Of Back Creek Rocking Horses Made These Rocking Horses For My GrandChildren As A Christmas Gift This Year. I Have Hopes That Someday These Horses Will Be Passed Down To The Next Generation, and Generations After, In Loving Memory Of My Father.

Ed Kane Branded Them With "In Loving Memory Of Great GrandPop Holden". The Horses ThemSelves Have A Story Of Their Own Too Tell, And The Story Of Another Remarkable Man.

About Back Creek Rocking Horse Co.
In a little Blacksburg workshop, wooden rocking horses are born. They're made by a tall, burly man whose hands have been weathered by three decades of construction work. He makes them for children, because he likes to see them happy.

Roanoke Times Roanoke Times, The (VA) December 26, 2002 HIS HORSES MAKE CHILDREN SMILE AS BUSINESS GROWS, ED KANE KEEPS SIGHT OF HIS FAVORITE PART Author: KATHY LU THE ROANOKE TIMES Edition: METRO Section: VIRGINIA Page: B1 Estimated printed pages: 3 Article Text: In a little Blacksburg workshop, wooden rocking horses are born. They're made by a tall, burly man whose hands have been weathered by three decades of construction work. He makes them for children, because he likes to see them happy. "This is rewarding," said Ed Kane, 49. He owns Blacksburg-based Kane Contracting Co., but the horse shop is called Back Creek Rocking Horse Co. It's located off U.S. 221, just a stone's throw from his house. For the past few weeks, Kane has been covered in sawdust as he furiously completes orders for the horses. More than once, he's started work at 5 a.m. He's sold about 150 horses through eBay this year - twice the total he sold last year. But even as business grows, Kane hasn't lost sight of his favorite part of the work: giving away wooden horses to children in need. "Isn't this great?" Kane says as he flips through a thin binder of digital photograph printouts that show children rocking away on his horses. He's not showing off his handiwork as much as he's showing off the smiling children - none of whom he knows. They're all from Mullens, W.Va., a small town devastated by a flood last year. After reading about their plight, Kane sent 12 rocking horses to the community as gifts to the children. "If you can put a smile on some kid's face, even for an afternoon, you're doing something," Kane said. So far this year, he has already contributed a horse to the annual NBC TV's "Today" show's holiday toy drive, two to U.S. Army families where the fathers were serving in Afghanistan, and one to a boy whose mother died in the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the Pentagon. He's planning to give eight more horses to area shelters and churches that have programs for children, and one to Austin Burrell, a 2-year-old boy who saved his family from a fire that destroyed his McCoy home Dec. 18. "My goal is to give away about 10 percent of what we make," Kane said. That means if he has orders for 150 horses, he'd like to make at least another 15 to give away. The horses are about 2 1 / 2 feet tall and 3 feet long. Customers can choose what stain of horse they'd like, and what eye and mane color. The brown leather halter can even be polished black. Kane's horses are also a feat in efficiency. Almost everything is recycled scrap - the wood is left over from Kane's construction projects; the thread for the mane is from the floor of a South Carolina knitting mill; and the leather pieces for the ears are from a shop in Texas. About the only things that aren't recycled are the eyes, which are large glass marbles, and the two Sacagawea $1 coins that Kane nails in the head as bits. But that's not all. Kane uses the leftover wood from the horses to make doll beds, which he also sells. Then he gives any wood left from the beds to people who heat with wood and the sawdust to a farmer. Kane sells his horses to walk-in customers and through eBay. They start at about $69, but a horse has fetched as much as $120 on eBay, Kane said. If he could sell about 500 horses a year, he said he would retire and make this his full-time venture. This is only his third year of selling on the Internet. Kane said his horses are modeled after the ones he saw in 1988, when he was working in Corolla Light, N.C., on the Outer Banks. "While I was waiting for Food Lion to open at 5 a.m., to my surprise I was surrounded by eight wild ponies," he recalled. "They surrounded my truck and would not leave. I was fascinated by them." After a while, Kane honked his horn and the horses left. About four years later, he started making the horses. Now, Kane said each horse takes about two hours to make. He also has a part-time apprentice, Justin Dowdy, who does a lot of the sanding. Dowdy, 23, delivered the horses to Mullens. "It's just a good job to have and it's fun to do," Dowdy said. Kane's horses have been sent all over the world, including five to Alaska last year and others to France, New Zealand and Barbados. And most likely that means there's a child rocking away somewhere on a Back Creek horse, smiling. Kathy Lu can be reached at 981-3430 or Date: December 9, 2003 Section: VIRGINIA Page: B2 Column: AND NOW THIS By Kathy Lu and Neil Harvey Sending solace via rocking horse Ed Kane, owner of Back Creek Rocking Horse Co. in Roanoke County, has sent eight wooden rocking horses to families of soldiers who have been killed in Iraq - and he hopes it is just the beginning. Kane has been making the horses as a side business for about a decade and probably gives away as many as he sells. Children across the country who have lost homes in floods or parents in the Sept. 11 attacks have received his horses. Now, he's trying to provide a horse to any family who has lost a soldier in Iraq. Suzan Curtis, who lives Washington state and has a son serving in Tikrit, Iraq, requested a horse from Kane for the family of one of her son's best friends, who was killed in September during an ambush. "[The] rocking horses are the perfect keepsake," Curtis wrote in an e-mail. "The horses are adorable and the craftsmanship is of the highest quality. These horses are worthy of being passed down from generation to generation." Anyone wishing to help Kane in the effort can e-mail him at









Dad's Rocking Horse arrived today, made by a wonderful

and  caring Craftsman from Virginia, Ed Kane. This horse

will be passed down from Generation to Generation, as a

lasting tribute to Dad. The Horse was branded with Dad's

Photo taken in 2002, while building my barn. It was one of

his last project's before leaving this world. The Horse and

the Barn will remain long after I too am gone.

Dad, I Miss and Love You, Always....

Your Daughter, Lisa Ann

It is exciting that the Horse you made for me in my Dad's Memory will be featured in the "Country Magazine", however,
the article is all about you and what you do, and you should be very proud of yourself. If my Dad were still here, I know
he would be proud of what you did, and I do not think he would have made any changes to the horses. Those horses are
everything I was looking for, and I was sooo happy to have found you. Before Dad passed away, I was able to show him
photos of the first two horses you made me for my Grandson's, and he did comment on how well made and detailed they
were. The only thing I did not tell him, was that they were going to be branded in his memory.
Someday when you have some free time, I would like you to write me a detailed description on the making and designing
of Dad's Cherrywood Horse, and also a photo of yourself, So that I can add it to his memorial page. I know you spent a lot of time working on it, and finding a way to preserve the photo, so that it may last for hundreds of years. It did my heart good to know that you shared my story on the horse with others, and that others worked with you in finding ways to make
the artwork last.
I am very excited about the article, not for me, but for you. You are indeed a special person, and have helped me
through a great deal of sorrow in these past months. For all those reasons, you will never be forgotten. I will
always have a special story to tell about You, my Dad and the Cherrywood Horse. When the
time comes this spring to begin to go through all my Dad's belongings, I want to look for something special to give
you in his memory. I think he would want that. I had bought him a black tool belt with suspenders as a gift a few
Father's Days ago, and maybe you would like to have that???? I had it set aside for myself, but I would much rather
see it put to use. Let me know your thoughts.....
As Always
Love your Friend,

Hi Best Friend,
I guess that God had plans for me that I didn't quite know about until I found you.
I had told you that I had searched high and low for a wooden horse for my Grandkids, with no
luck. After a year of searching, I found you. The Horses that you made were exactly like the
one I had in my mind. If you remember, the night that you sent me the photo of the branding
for my Grandkids horses, was the very night my Dad passed away. I thought then that
something was strange, and look what has evolved from there.
I loved my Dad more than words could say, and yes he was very talented, just as you.
I have told all of my Family about you and now have told them about the magazine
article possibly featuring the Horse you made in Dad's Memory. We are all excited
to say the least.
Because of you and all you have done for me, it makes the hurt of loosing him a little
easier to deal with. I will always have something to pass down in his memory, and the
horse will be in the family long after I too am gone from this world. 
Please know that you have become a true FRIEND, and I will always keep in
touch. I will also have the need for many more horses in the future.
God Bless You and Yours,
Luv Lisa





Lisa, bless your heart, yes I want your Dad's tool belt and heres why!!!! It was a few minutes after 12 Noon today, the time was 12:06 PM, I know that cause I listen to talk radio some times on the job, like I did today, Rush Limbaugh. At that time my old tool apron was dropping screws, holes in the pockets, and decided I needed a new one this week. Yes I use suspenders and needed a new one big time.
So I see on your email you sent it out at 12:09 PM asking me if I want your Dad's tool belt, 3 minutes after I had already decided to get a new one with suspenders! Lisa!
Whats happening here is no stranger to me. Your dad is in heaven and is helping me for sure!
This is an amazing story, how is it that within minutes, at 12 noon, I decide that I need a new tool belt, that you email me at that moment to tell me you want to give me one that you bought for your Dad. How can this be Lisa? A tool belt, this is just fabulous!



Lisa this is way wonderful, I sure believe in heaven and God. Think this is all your fathers doing, I really believe that!

Lisa Ann Holden March 12, 2011
Dad's Daughter Always and Forever <3<3

Rocking to the Oldies

You can’t help but smile at this master carpenter’s heirloom rocking horses and remember happy times.

By Ken Wysocky, Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin

A n ordinary rocking horse is child’s play compared to the ones Ed
Kane creates in his workshop in Bent Mountain, Virginia. With their curly manes, fluffy tails, fetlock hair, solid glass eyes and leather ears and reins, Ed’s rocking horses look so real you almost expect them to whinny or shake their manes.

“I wish I would’ve had one of these when I was a kid,” says the 54-year-old master carpenter, cabinetmaker and owner of Back Creek Rocking Horse Co.

Ed Kane
Santa’s helper. From Labor Day through Christmas, master carpenter Ed Kane makes rocking horses in his workshop.

Ed’s horses remind people of a simpler time when toys were treasured, not disposable.

“I had a woman call me last night who was so thrilled with the horse she gave her grandson for his birthday,” Ed says. “She said everyone at the party went wild, and the child’s eyes just lit up.

“In fact, his mother bought him a rocking horse, too. But when she saw mine, she decided to not let her son open hers and took it back to the store.”

Ed says that’s a common reaction when children and adults first lay eyes on his creations.

“A lot of people tell me they’re overcome with emotion when they see the horses,” he observes. “They realize that this is an heirloom that will be handed down for generations to come. It’s very rewarding for a craftsman like me.”

Now, Ed’s horses are sought after as gifts for young children or uplifting tokens of friendship and charity.

Easy to Assemble

The ponies of Assateague Island
Model beauty. The ponies of Assateague Island and Corolla Light inspired the design for Ed Kane’s rocking horses.

Ed began making rocking horses in 1988 after the birth of his only daughter.

“My sister gave her a rocking horse from a real expensive department store, and it was just junk,” he recalls.

“So I went out and came up with my own design that was not only prettier, but safer, too. My rockers are 36 inches long, so they can’t tip over.”

Each horse is 12 to 14 inches tall at the seat and 29 inches to the top of the head. To keep shipping charges down, some assembly is required. But never fear: All you have to do is attach the head to the body with two nuts and bolts.

“A lot of horses you buy on-line need a lot of assembly,” Ed says. “I keep mine simple. I kept in mind parents on Christmas Eve.”

Each horse also comes with a music box mounted under the seat to give tots the ultimate in-the-saddle experience.

Ed says the famed Chincoteague ponies of Assateague Island, which lies off the coast of Maryland and Virginia, and the ponies of Corolla Light, North Carolina inspired the design for his rocking horses.

He still recalls the day in 1988 when he found his pickup truck surrounded by about a dozen ponies in Corolla Light.

“While working as a contractor, I parked my truck in a parking lot at 5 a.m. to wait for a grocery store to open,” Ed recalls. “Next thing I knew, my truck was completely surrounded by ponies. I couldn’t move. I had a good hour to observe them.”

Horses for Heroes

Ed makes about 250 rocking horses a year. It takes him about 3 hours to make each one.

“But I cut the pieces for 12 horses at a time,” he explains. “If I cut only one at a time, it would take a lot longer—at least 6 hours for each horse.”

Ed Kane’s rocking horses

From Labor Day to Christmas, Ed is working at a furious pace in his 1,400-square-foot workshop.

While he’s extremely proud of making his heirloom horses, Ed takes even greater pleasure in his Horses for Fallen Heroes program, in which he donates rocking horses to children of soldiers who died in Iraq.

He has also donated horses to fund-raisers for the American Cancer Society, the Today Show annual toy drive, children whose parents died in the World Trade Center attacks, and other charitable causes.

“It’s not much, but it’s something,” Ed says. “It makes me feel real good. Any time you can put a smile on a child’s face, you’ve really done something.”

 Ed Kane passed away on November 19th, 2009. He will be Missed by Many, as he did put a Smile on many Faces. Love You My Friend, Always in My Heart and Memories !!!



Lisa Ann Holden April 11, 2008
CherryWood Rocking Horse


The horse pictured on this page that I had made in your Memory is going to be featured in an article in the "Country Magazine". Ed Kane the Craftsman and I have become good friends since I lost you.

Ed has truly made me believe in God and Heaven once again, along with Aunt Jean.

Things are happening that are very strange, and can only be understood if I have faith in God. I will continue this story tomorrow and let you know what has unfolded.


Love Lisa

Lisa Ann Holden February 1, 2008
Dad's CherryWood Rocking Horse

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