Each of Mr Smith's rocking horses is adorned with leather features and real horsehair
Each of Mr Smith's rocking horses is adorned with leather features and real horsehair

Sick wife and daughter inspire unique CQ business idea

SEVEN years ago, Aaron Smith's life was turned upside down after his wife nearly died twice.

His partner, Storme Smith, had been suffering serious health issues, though no doctor could figure out what was wrong - until one misdiagnosis led to a life or death situation.

It turned out his wife suffered from short bowel syndrome; a malabsorption disorder caused by a lack of functional small intestine.

Mrs Smith had only 1.6m of bowel left, which her husband said was a result of a lifetime spent under the knife and a total of 22 surgeries to her name.

Humans require at least a metre of bowel to live.

"It turned out she had no blood supply going to the bowel and she nearly passed away multiple times a few years ago."

Shortly after that potentially lethal error, the Smiths received another devastating diagnosis.

Mrs Smith was told she suffered from a vascular disease and faced a possible amputation of her leg.

Mr Smith, 57, called time on his nearly 30-year ­career as a concrete batcher and instead opted to care for his wife full-time.

He also partly cares for his daughter, Summer, 28, who was only recently diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

But throughout the devastating times evolved a thriving side business, a hobby, which Mr Smith said came from a chance encounter after he ventured to a german sheppard dog club down in Tasmania.

"Years ago, I met a rocking horse maker named Chris. He had been making rocking horses for 35 plus years and the opportunity came along for me to have a crack at making his horses," he said.

"I bought probably four horses off him, not carved, and finished them off at home. I figured I probably should do a course. He offered three-day courses down in Sydney."

The Capella man quickly became fixated on perfecting the unique craft under his business Smithy's Original Rocking Horses.

The secret to a flawless finish, he said, was using only soft woods - mostly pine - and an endless supply of sandpaper. Leather fittings and real horse hair adorn the finished product, with a total weight of around 30kg and able to carry up to 90kg.

Mr Smith was gobsmacked at how popular the horses were, with some buyers from as far as Perth and Melbourne.

The stunning 1900-era inspired toy is promised to last a lifetime and offers customers the perfect keepsake for years to come, something which Mr Smith said he hoped to one day make for grandchildren of his own.

 

UNIQUE TRADE: Smithy's Original Rocking Horses owner Aaron Smith.
UNIQUE TRADE: Smithy's Original Rocking Horses owner Aaron Smith.