This news was brought up on Friday and I thought it was appropriate to mention here for a few reasons I will touch on after the article. Source is from Classic-Castle, which got it from Eurobricks, which got it from somewhere,I presume Lego.
"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."
Lego has been evolving rapidly in the past decade. The sales increasing after they secured the Stars Wars license seemed to light a fire under them to make some big changes in how they do business. I'd credit customizers (namely BrickForge) for their approach to things involving minifigs and their accessories. While Lego came out with their own cow and pig (5 years after BF made their own for fans, and way too late in my opinion in the first place) they changed the way they looked to a rounder version. "Seem more 'grown up' and 'cooler' " Yea, keep telling yourself that. The new horse does look cool though. The supposed playability looks nice also. Hopefully they will come out in a variety of colors instead of the over 30 years of just having 3 colors to choose from. Which brings me to another grip. The absolute stupidity of Lego for not making more colors available for horses is baffling. So anyways, they claim to be working on barding for these new horses. If they treat that like they have the color palette, you'll all be able to experience them with your grand children. Personally, I'd like to see some inventive customizer make their own barding using something like the canvas Lego uses to make capes and sails. I'm not angry about the new horse design. I just hate that they yet again dropped the ball on making the classic looking ones in the wide variety of colors. Oh, and one other thing......the "core audience of 5-10 yr old boys"...I hope that they didn't find these kids in the same place they found the other 5-10 yr old idiots that supposedly didn't think "elves" were a good idea when they made the Fantasy Era Castle line.