Hobbyhorsing is a one of its kind, equestrian sport that is exactly what its name describes – riding with hobby horses. It involves not a real horse in action, but rather an artificial horse head (made from wood or fabric) placed on a straight stick.
For a layman, watching a hobby horse tournament may appear silly and fascinating at the same time. After all, it is not every day that you see individuals galloping like a horse while keeping their upper body erect.
Regardless, hobby horse dressage is not only fun but also a great way to exercise. Moreover, you’ll pick up some classing horse-riding skills while participating in various hobby horse competitions. Sounds interesting, no? Let’s discover more fascinating things about the sport.
Hobbyhorsing officially started in Finland in 2012 and gained popularity across Europe and the USA soon after. The real origins of the sport are still unknown as the hobby horse community secretly thrived online for a very long time. It is classified as a real sport with over 10,000 fans in Finland, alone. In 2016, hobby horsing spread to Australia and has been flourishing there as well ever since.
Hobbyhorsing, as mentioned before, does not involve actual horses but a man-made horse figure on a stick. Also, instead of a horse, the players in Hobby Horse competitions are supposed to perform stunts with that stick horse called a hobbyhorse. Although it is pursued is mostly by girls aged between 10 to 18 years old, boys too have gained interest over the years. Today, you can even find girls putting up Finnish hobby horses for sale on Instagram and other online platforms.
Hobby Horse Competition Divisions
Generally, hobbyhorse competitions include a variety of stunts according to the level of the participants who are mostly teenage girls. However, you can also find hobby horses for adults as the sport is evolving to become popular among all age groups. Nonetheless, judges of hobbyhorse announce competition winners according to the hobbyhorse players’ gait movements, running style, presentation of the hobbyhorse, energy, and impulse along with the motivation and pleasure showed in the game.
Many of the same divisions in the real equestrian sports like Dressage, etc. are in the hobby horse competitions. The only difference is that there are no real horses included. A hobby horse player has to complete different tests and obstacles showing amazing jumping and running skills to ace at hobbyhorse tournaments.
Hobbyhorse dressage usually has three tests which include beginners, intermediate, and advanced levels for a player to complete. Tests of hobbyhorse competitions are either done solo or in pairs. However, the players are judged according to the ability shown to cover the obstacles on different levels.
Hobby horsing divisions in competitions are usually designated by age at various jump heights.. A brief description of the three levels of hobbyhorse tournament USA 2020 is mentioned below:
Level 1 (Beginners)
It consists of 6 to 8 movements for hobbyhorse players which includes walk, trot, canter, halts, reverses loop, turns, half turn, and loop.
Level 2 (Intermediate)
It consists of around 8 to 10 movements for a hobbyhorse player to complete the intermediate level which includes movements from beginners level along with extending gaits, half pass, and flying changes.
Level 3 (Advance)
It consists of 10-12 movements, and in this hobbyhorse player has to be a pro in all the movements from levels 1 and 2 in addition to canter pirouette, tempi changes, passages, half pass, and zigzags.
Hobby Horse Competition Rules
Hobbyhorse competitions are mostly organized locally. Since they aren’t governed by any specific regulatory body, there are some common rules that are mandatory for all hobbyhorse competitors.
Take a look:
- Good running shoes are mandatory for all competitors.
- Participants of the competition must have a presentable hobbyhorse. As a matter of fact, it is preferable to take hobbyhorses with small sticks.
- Do not bring drugs and alcohol to the ground.
- Do not bring pets to the ground.
- It is preferable for the competitors to wear proper attire for hobby horsing.
- Wear a helmet for the safety of participants.
- The final results are in the hand of judges, and they hold all the rights for final calls.
- Competitors will be disqualified if they take any extra time than already allotted to each participant.
All in all, the rules are pretty basic and easy to comprehend which makes the sport itself more enjoyable.
Film on Hobbyhorsing
Over the years after its discovery, the equestrian sport gained so much hype that it inspired filmmaker Selma Vilhunen to produce a documentary titled “Hobbyhorse Revolution”. In the movie, you’ll see how three young girls facing emotional distress, discover their interest in hobby horsing. They relied on the sport to convey their inner voices through their talent of riding hobbyhorses.
The teenagers Aisku, Elsa, and Alisa are shown working with full determination to bravely stand up for their passion of hobby horsing. Although they had very less knowledge about the sport, they still made sure to work hard in order to gain the best of it.
As expected, the thoughtful documentary resulted in giving a motivational boost to young hobbyists. Today we can find many teenagers talk about their hobby horsing experiences through their blogs. In fact, a lot of them even take out time to practice it professionally and then teach it.
Nonetheless, the passion for hobbyhorsing has been spreading far and wide since its inception, where almost every age group is taking part in the national sport readily. Moreover, hobbyhorses possess specific features and personalities to make them unique from one another.
How to Make a Hobby Horse at Home?
You can easily find different kinds of hobbyhorses for sale. However, not all might be in your budget. Hence, to make things more pocket-friendly yourself, you can simply learn how to make a hobby horse on your own.
Wondering how? Keep scrolling!
Things you’ll need
- Stick horse head template
- Feet of fabric for your horse’s head
- Sewing machine or needle and thread
- Scrap pieces of Pellon for ears
- Fabric glue or a hot glue gun
- Stuffing Wire bristle brush
- 2 buttons for eyes
- 2 metallic buttons
- 5 feet of 1/2 inch wide ribbon
- 1 stick
- Cut out a horse face stencil. Then use the stencil to cut the cloth in horse face shape. Cut two-horse faces out of the fabric.
- Cut a rectangle of the same fabric. Sow this to join the two-horse face cloth pieces keeping the bottom part open.
- Cut a slit on the slide of the horse neck and stitch the yarn threads.
- Flip the inside of the sown horse face to put all the stitching inside.
- Put stuffing in the horse face.
- Put buttons in the place of eyes.
- Cut four triangles and stick 2 together and attach them to the face in the place of ears.
- Stick ribbon around the mouth and face.
- Stick the rope with buttons around the mouth to ride the horse.
- Put the stick in stuffing and seal it with glue and extra fabric.
Ta-da! Your hobbyhorse is ready to compete! For a better understanding watch a video tutorial on how to make your own hobby horse:
FAQs Related to Hobbyhorsing
Now that you have a basic idea of what hobbyhorsing is, let’s learn more about whether or not this is a real sport.
What is a hobby horse tournament?
This kind of tournament involves mostly teenage girls competing on their stick horses that flaunt woolen manes, sporting bits and reins. During hobby horse competitions, judges monitor the performance of hobbyhorse riders and score their rounds accordingly, just like any other equestrian sport.
The first hobby horse tournament took place in Finland with around 10,000 participants.
Is hobby horsing a sport?
Riding a hobbyhorse can be termed as an organized sport as it has diversified from merely a fun hobby for celebrating girlhood to mastering proper equestrian movements like dressage and show jumping to compete in tournaments. With that said, it’s up to your interpretation of what a sport really is.
Either way, horse riding itself is considered to be a sport around the globe. So maybe, hobbyhorsing will be, too (one day!)
Do you need your own horse to compete?
Having a real horse is not a compulsion for hobbyhorsing. The sport simply requires you to purchase a toy that consists of a long stick with a model horse head on top. You can even make one yourself. Hobbyhorse riders mimic all the technicalities and movements of horseback dressage and showjumping on their stick horse.
Why is it called a hobby horse?
Since all you need is a hobby horse toy to participate in this sport, it is termed as “hobbyhorsing”.
The sport was a spontaneous invention by teenage Finnish girls. They claimed it as a passionate hobby to freely express themselves.
To sum up, it can be said that hobbyhorsing is a real sport which is fun and unique in its own way. Besides, it allows you to be creative with your riding skills. You can also craft your own hobby horse toy to participate in competitions. The best thing about hobby horse dressage is that it doesn’t cost a lot, unlike other equestrian sports that involve real horses that can cost thousands of dollars.
The sport has evolved from merely being a way of teenage girls to freely express themselves to being listed in tournaments. Nonetheless, what started off as a silly hobby centuries ago, has now gained full-fledged popularity across European countries.