I had a little hobby-horse,
And it was dapple grey*;
Its head was made of pea-straw**,
Its tail was made of hay.
I sold it to an old woman
For a copper groat***;
And I'll not sing my song again
Without a new coat.
*Dapple grey refers specifically to horses that are grey with darker colored spots or patches on them.
**Pea-straw refers to the plant (i.e. leaves and stalks) of the pea.
***A European coin used in the 13th century. The English groat was equal to 4 pence.
Here's another version of this rhyme:
I had a little hobby horse,
His name was Tommy Gray,
His head was made of pease straw,
His body made of hay;
I saddled him and bridled him,
And rode him up to town,
There came a little puff of wind
And blew him up and down.
This version can be found in Children's Literature, A Textbook of Sources for Teachers and Teacher-Training Classes (1920) by Charles Madison Curry and Erle Elsworth Clippinger.
Thanks and Acknowledgements
This rhyme can by found in Denslow's Mother Goose (1901). The illustration is from The Real Mother Goose (1916), illustrated by Blanche Fisher Wright.