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The Hobby Horse Craze
 By Winniefield Park   •   4th Jul 2017   •   988 views   •   0 comments


For some reason, Iíve been avoiding this topic, even though Iíve been seeing it come up in my news feeds for a few months now. Why did I avoid it? Because it seemed silly. Time to stop being judgemental, right? Sure, these kids arenít riding real horses, but they take what they are doing very seriously. Theyíre using their imagination, running and jumping, socializing with other people and having fun. So while Iím being judge-y. Theyíre outside, getting some exercise having a blast.

How many horse crazy kids have galloped up the sidewalk on a stick horse? I know I ran around the yard with one, even though there was a pony, albeit a demonic one, for me to ride pretty much anytime I wanted.

The current hobby horse riding craze began about fifteen years ago and was brought into the spotlight by a 2017 movie called Hobbyhorse Revolution. The movie explores this fantasy sport where the participants, mainly young girls, ride dressage tests, race and jump jumps on stick horses.

In addition to riding their stick horses, participants take care to create their fantasy horses, crafting them, and creating pedigrees, glamorous show names, and backgrounds. Very few of the stick horses are store bought.

Throughout the year, Finnish hobby horse enthusiasts travel to competitions including a yearly national championship. The riders, mounted on their stick horses piaffe, side pace, prance, canter and jump in imitation of real horses and riders. Considering some of the jumps are over one meter high, hobby horsing does require some athleticism. Just like real competitors, hobby horse riders may have a coach that helps them with striding between jumps, dressage performance and other fine points of enjoying and competing.

Hobby horse riders also get together just to gallop through the woods or along the beach. Part of a Helsinki event featured a parade through the street. So the social aspect, the getting out and doing something fun with other people is a very attractive aspect of the activity.

The movie Hobby Horse Revolution was filmed in Finland where this craze started. According to a CNN article, the Finnish Hobbyhorse Federation estimates there are over 10,000 hobby horse enthusiasts in the country. In May, over 5000 people gathered in Helsinki to take part in a competition there. The movement is slowly growing in Europe. The first North American hobby horse competition will be held July at the Tryon International Equestrian Centre in Mill Springs, North Carolina. There will be three days of qualifying rounds with a championship held on July 22.

Not all of the participants do so because they are horseback rider wannabes. The sport attracts riders and non-riders alike. And, for those that canít own a horse or take lessons, a hobby horse can ease the need for horse activities and being with others who love horses. The two activities can complement each other. Hobby horsing can increase your fitness for riding, and a knowledge of riding can enhance your hobby horsing. And, thereís an aspect of girl-power. Hobby horse riders are free of the rules and people who sometimes rule the real horse world.

Would you consider hobby horsing? Can you see it catching on?
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