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Comments below from LEGO Senior Creative Designer Matt Ashton, posted on the LEGO Ambassador Forum :
"Our core target audience of 5-10 year old boys has told us in ongoing testing that the original LEGO horse is a bit ‘baby-ish’, and too static to play with properly. So we’ve re-designed the LEGO horse to make it more dynamic, pose-able and appealing by adding a higher level of detail. The new horse will appear in the LEGO Lord of the Rings sets will be released in June 2012.
"The new horse can now kick, bolt and rear up on its hind legs, making it much more playable and pose-able, while the refined detail level has also made it seem more ‘grown-up’ and ‘cooler’ in kids’ eyes.
"In making these changes we have obviously had to take into consideration several different challenges.
"First, we are fully aware that the ‘original’ horse may be perceived as a LEGO icon in many consumers’ eyes. So, when designing the new horse, we did our best to create a new version that pays homage to the original horse, particularly its proportions, silhouette and decoration style.
"Second, we have made some design choices in regards to the compatibility between the ‘new’ horse and the existing horse accessories. The existing saddle element can be used with the new version of the horse. The new horse can also wear the current barding, although it cannot be posed while wearing this element. We will be developing a replacement barding for future product launches, ensuring that the horse can be dressed for battle and still be fully pose-able.
However, by streamlining the new horse’s head to make it more dynamic and more like a ‘real’ horse, we had to decide that the existing horse headgear/head plates would not compatible with the new horse. These pieces will also soon be replaced with new elements in future products.
"We apologize for any inconvenience or frustration this may cause to certain collectors, but we are striving to ensure that we are ultimately creating the best product and play experience for our core audience for the long term.
Matt Ashton, Senior Creative Director, LEGO Group"