Hobby horse  

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"Now the HOBBY-HORSE which my uncle _Toby_ always rode upon, was in my opinion an HOBBY-HORSE well worth giving a description of." --The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (1759-1767) by Laurence Sterne

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The term hobby horse is used, principally by folklorists, to refer to the costumed characters that feature in some traditional seasonal customs, processions and similar observances around the world. They are particularly associated with May Day celebrations, Mummers plays and the Morris dance in England.

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