Dalahäst Giveaway — The Famous Red Dalecarlian Horse

by | Jul 31, 2021

*The giveaway has ended but you can still see some pictures from the Nusnäs factory below.*

On my journey to visiting the Swedish summer farms, I couldn’t resist stopping at the famous dalahäst-factory at Nusnäs.

Of course, I couldn’t resist bringing this little fellow with me — and now it is looking for a new home! Maybe yours?

How to Enter the Givaway *THE GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED*

  1. Comment on this blog post and let me of your relationship to this red little horse. Do you have one? Collect them? Can’t stand them but want one for a friend? One sentence is enough! But if you want to, feel free to let us all know more.
  2. Subscribe to the email list below. This competition is only for Swedish Spoon’s email subscribers. If you aren’t already a subscriber, you can become a subscriber by entering your first name and email address below. You can of course unsubscribe at any time.

Rules and Info *The giveaway has ended*

  • This giveaway is in no way affiliated with Nils Olsson, Nusnäs, where the horse was produced.
  • This giveaway is not sponsored — I bought the horse at full price.
  • Estimated total value: $30.
  • The competition lasts until August 5th 2021, midnight Pacific time. I’ll choose a winner randomly from the comments, using a number generator.
  • I’ll reach out to the winner via email to get address details, etc. If I don’t get a response within two days, I reserve my right to choose a new winner.
  • I pay for shipping. I don’t think there should be any customs or other import/VAT charges as it is a gift, but if there is, I’m afraid you’ll have to cover that. If I send it and you don’t pick it up, I won’t send it again — shipping is expensive 🙁
  • You don’t need to buy anything to enter (I don’t have anything for sale, anyway). You do need to comment and to be a subscriber if you want to win, but you are of course welcome to unsubscribe at any time. The comment is how I know that you want to participate 🙂
  • You need to be above the age of 18 to enter, or else have your parent’s permission.
  • Void where prohibited.

Do enter the giveaway!

But maybe you’d like to know a bit about this famous horse, too?

The history of Dalahästar — Dalecarlian horses

According to the Nils Olsson factory in Nusnäs, Dala horses have been around at least since the 17th century — probably longer. In 1624, a bishop from Västerås preached sternly to the gathered congregation, warning them against the sinful wooden horses he had seen on sale at the market. Apparently, they could contain magical powers…

And the idea of the horse’s magical powers stayed. In the 1660s, women were accused of witchcraft, having ridden on the backs of the horses to the devil’s feasts.

Carved horses, ready to be dipped in paint at the factory or be painted at home

Despite these trials, the wooden horses stayed with the families of Dalarna. Here, they served as toys for the children, as decorative objects, and as a ware you could sell to make more money.

The paint room where the horses are dipped.

During the 19th century, more and more people painted horses with floral and elaborate motifs, taking inspiration from local folk art. For families such as Nils Olsson’s, carving horses became a way to support the family.

The details of the horse are handpainted.

In 1939, the horse had its first international breakthrough at the World Fair in New York. An enormous Dala horse stood at the entrance at the Swedish pavilion and the result was a great success. The talked about horse became so sought-after that about 20,000 Dalecarlian horses (an impressive feat at the time) were produced and sent to New York the following year.

And the rest, as they say… is not just history but the present! Because Dalecarlian horses stay as popular as ever.

Horses galore!
And there are not just wooden horses for sale — you can find the horse pattern on many different objects.

Now, if you want to, I’d love to hear of your relationship is like to this horse. Do you have one? Many?

31 Comments

  1. Debby Leaper

    I love the Dala horse, and have longed for one for quite a while, so there’s a space waiting for it on my shelf, fingers crossed xx

    Reply
    • Lizette Guadalupe Odfalk

      Those Dala horses are such a work of art and look so well made! Thank h you for all your great recipes, I love to cook Swedish style.

      Reply
  2. Marcia Martinson

    We have a collection of about 25 Dala horses. They span in age from over 100 years old (my father’s toys as a child) to 10 years old. We also have one of the “sitting” Dala horses, carved when the Swedish economy had come to a standstill. Our collection includes red, white, and blue horses!
    There is always room for one more…

    Reply
  3. Carol Schuldt

    My grandmother was born in Sweden. When I was a little girl she would tell me stories about the horse she told me it was very special. I have one that was given to me and I would treasure having another one

    Reply
  4. Kristen Leedom

    Both my Farmor and Farfar were born in Sweden. I have a treasured Dala horse from my grandmother who died young. It needs a companion!

    Reply
  5. Susan Martin

    My first horse came to me from my Great Aunt Klara in Olafstrom
    In 1946. I have always cherished this tie to my family.

    Reply
  6. Kathleen Keller

    My Granddaughters love Dala horses!

    Reply
  7. Pam Andersson

    I’m English, my husband is Swedish. Our children describe themselves as ‘swenglish’. Our artist son has carved and painted his own dalahäst. An authentic companion would complete the family.

    Reply
  8. Cheryl

    I love these horses. I have a small tree ornament and another that is 4 inches or do. I almost bought a larger one about a foot high when I was first married. (That was 43 years ago)and have regretted it all this time. I am of Swedish ancestry. My grandparents were from Sweden.

    Reply
  9. Janice Carlson-McLeod

    My father had a horse like this. I remember playing with it as a child.

    Reply
  10. Sandra Ranney

    I have 8 treasured Dala horses, including three rough cut ones brought directly from Sweden to us by a good friend. Our two grandchildren “helped” Grandpa finish and paint one for each of them. My most special horse belonged to my mom, born in the USA, the granddaughter of immigrants who arrived in the late 1800’s from Sodertalje. My hope is to visit Sweden in the fall of 2022.

    Reply
  11. Virginia Mead

    MorMor and MorFar immigrated separately from Sweden. They met and married here in Providence, RI. My mother, daughter and I visited Stockholm during now storms in March 1986. It was wonderful. I have a very large horse. This size will be ideal as I downsize😁 Tack sa

    Reply
  12. Mia Bergman

    I have an antique orange red Dala hast that was given to me by my parents when I was child and lived in Sweden. It’s one of my most prized possessions!

    Reply
    • Lindsay Cameron

      My family have a summer cottage nearby to the factory and we would go visit most summers so I grew up loving these horses, I even have a tattoo of one on my shoulder with my best friend!

      I now live in Australia and have only managed to bring one small white horse with me so would love to give it a companion and to have another reminder of home.

      Reply
  13. Lorri Arnold

    I am Swedish and grew up loving
    the Dala horses ❤️❤️

    Reply
  14. Karen Kohlmeyer

    All my grandparents immigrated to Providence RI in the 1890’s. I have been to Sweden twice (so far!). Genealogy research led me to find relatives in Sweden and a cousin Johanna is coming from Lund to visit me tomorrow!!!!!I have a red and a blue horse but need another to make a “herd”.

    Reply
  15. KRISTIN J PAUL

    My dad is Swedish & when my daughter was younger she had a Dala horse birthday party with herself and 7 friends. My dad carved horses for each of the girls to paint during the party. It was precious. We have a horse or 2 from his carvings and quite a few that we have collected over the years. This one would be a welcome addition to the band of horses.

    Reply
  16. Jana

    I’ve alway wanted to visit Dalarna’s Dala shop- never had the chance!

    Reply
  17. Jeanette McDermid

    My grandfather was from Mora and grandma was from Orsa. They met taking the cows up to graze in the summer. I have dala horses and a pig from the two trips back to visit family who still live in Dalarna. Love the comments from people who would love to have one. I have five of different sizes and colors. Thank you for offering this special present.

    Reply
  18. Rachel

    What a beautiful horse! And if it has magical powers….lol. Thanks for sharing the history! Swedish on my mother’s side of the family.

    Reply
    • Gunilla Bergrud

      I am lucky enough to have one quite large Dala horse that was given to me in 1989 and it also has my name on it. It’s the most swedish thing I have got and I would love for it to have a little friend after all these years. 🐎🇸🇪

      Reply
  19. gregory anderson

    My grandparents on both sides were Swedish, and I grew up with straw brooms, potatis korv, boiled coffee (which I still make), pickled herring, and so much more. The horse was prominent especially at Christmas time, taken down with the Christmas tree at Tjugondag Knut on the 13th.

    My parents are in their 80’s now, and I’m glad to be able to be with them regularly since they moved down to our area in Texas. Lots of German influence is recognized here, but we fly the Swedish flag and have much fun with your recipes as well.

    Thanks for considering us for the gift. It wouldn’t wrap up well in lefse, but I’ve found Swedish meatballs and pickled herring do quite well there.

    hahahaha
    again, thanks for all you do.

    Reply
  20. Louella

    I love going to the Dalanara shop in Nusnas several times
    When we have visited Sweden. I also have the wedding
    Horse that was decorated for one of the princess weddings.
    The shop in Nusnas is so great!!!

    Reply
  21. Rhonda Serafini Dunlap

    I have a small collection of Dalahästar and would be excited and grateful to give this one a good home. Thanks!!

    Reply
  22. Eleanor Woolf

    A Dala horse reminds me of very happy days sitting in my best friend’s kitchen in Sweden and chatting over a cuppa. She has a Dala horse on a shelf. One day I hope to be able to go there again.

    Reply
  23. Karin Holmgren

    My grandparents on both sides were Swedish, and I feel like I grew up immersed in the culture, even though I wasn’t born in Sweden. I love all things Swedish, and my favourite dala horse is one my dad carved, and my sister painted for me. It reminds me of our wonderful visits to Sweden, and what a special place the country holds in my heart.

    Reply
  24. Cheryl Siegel

    My father’s family emigrated from Dalarna in 1905 when my dad was a toddler. I always fantasized (with absolutely no proof) that my grandfather, who was very handy, had made Dala horses. Still, a very nice link to my Swedish heritage.

    Reply
  25. Mabelle Oh

    Gorgeous horse.. My Swedish co-workwr connected me to your blog this past March.

    Reply
  26. Margo S

    My great-grandparents emigrated to the US from Sweden. I love learning about Swedish history, culture, and art. I have a couple of dala horses, but would welcome another one! I hope to one day visit Sweden. I enjoy your emails. Thank you!

    Reply
  27. Sally

    My mother always said my first word was “horse” and some of my fondest memories are playing with my Mormor’s Dala horses. She left me the smallest one and I treasure it, would love to have a herd of them 😉

    Reply
  28. Emily

    So cute! I don’t have any relationship with the Dala horses other than I’ve seen them and I like folk art. Would love to have one of my own 🙂

    Reply

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Hej och välkommen!

My name is Isabelle. Here at Swedish Spoon, you’ll find Swedish food history, tried-and-tested recipes, and a lot of obsessing over great butter. You can also expect some travel tips.

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