Is Hobby Horse Competition a Real Thing?

is hobby horse competition a real thing

If you’re not in the know, you might think that hobby horse competition is a fanciful pastime for little girls who like to play with stick horses and pretend they are real. But, the truth is that this unique form of competitive riding actually has a huge following, with competitions taking place all over Europe. This hobbyhorse-fueled movement is especially popular in Finland, which boasts around 10,000 practitioners of the sport, known as “hobbyhorsing.”

While some may view this activity as childish or silly, those who participate and compete in the tournaments cite it as an empowering, supportive, and creative endeavor. Most riders also love the camaraderie that is often found within the community, and they are quick to point out that winning a competition is a secondary goal.

Riding a stick horse is a complex and challenging sport, requiring skill, coordination, poise, and balance. The rider and her horse must jump over obstacles and complete a series of dressage-like movements to qualify for a competition. The judges evaluate riders and their horses based on their performance, creativity, and technique.

Although there are a number of different stunts that can be performed, it is not uncommon to see riders jumping fences as high as five feet and performing figure movements such as piaffe, canter, and pirouettes, all while balancing a stick horse on their hands. In addition to the physical demands of the sport, it requires a certain amount of creativity and artistic flair to develop and construct the “hobby horses” that are used in the competitions. The hobby horses are usually hand-crafted by the participants, and many even include glued-on hair and ribbons to create realistic and appealing figures.

Creating and participating in this unique sport is a great way for children to learn valuable lifelong social, emotional and physical skills. Studies have shown that childhood participation in team sports can promote positive self-esteem, a sense of community, and interpersonal skills.

In addition, this type of community-based activity can help to reinforce healthy habits by promoting a balanced diet and the value of regular exercise. As the hobby horse movement continues to gain momentum, it is important that parents support and encourage their children to engage in this healthy and exciting activity. In addition to providing a fun and creative outlet, participating in this unique sport can be a fantastic way for parents to spend quality time with their children. For more information on this empowering and unique sport, or to register for a hobby horse event near you, visit the website for the International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, North Carolina.