Hobby Horsing

What is Hobby Horsing?

Hobby horsing is a trendy sport and subculture where we ride and perform tricks with a hobby horse, which is a toy horse head attached to a stick. The hobby horse becomes the sports partner. Participants engage in various activities such as jumping over obstacles, performing dressage or western riding tests – for fun and in competitions. While it may seem like a simple children’s activity, hobby horsing has developed into a serious hobby and sport for some, with organised events, competitions, and communities dedicated to it. It has gained popularity particularly in Finland, where it originated, but it has also spread to other countries, such as the UK. Hobby horsing allows participants – we call them “Hobby Horser”, to express their creativity, athleticism, and passion for horses in a unique and imaginative way.

Who invented the hobby horsing?

Hobby horsing originated as a form of imaginative play and has been around in various forms for centuries. However, its modern incarnation as a sport and organised activity is often credited to the Finnish youth culture. While it’s difficult to attribute hobby horsing to a single inventor or individual, its rise in popularity as a sport is largely attributed to Finnish teenagers in the early 2000s who began organising events, competitions, and online communities dedicated to the activity. These young enthusiasts played a significant role in formalizing hobby horsing into the organized sport and subculture that it is today. While the Finnish rule book has been serving as a template for many, many other countries are currently working on uniform rules that could be applied to international events. The Hobbyhorse Association has also used the Finnish template for the UK rule book, but is currently working with German officials to create an international rule book.

Is Hobby horsing a sport?

Yes, of course, hobby horsing is considered a sport, although still an unconventional one. While it may not fit traditional definitions of sports, such as those involving physical exertion or competitive athleticism, hobby horsing involves skill, coordination, and creativity. Participants engage in various activities such as jumping, dressage & western competitions. It requires practice, dedication, and technique, much like more conventional sports. Therefore, within its community, hobby horsing is recognised and treated as a legitimate sport.

What disciplines are there for hobby horsers?

In hobby horsing, participants engage in various disciplines or activities, similar to those found in traditional equestrian sports. Some common hobby horse disciplines include:

  1. Dressage: Riders perform a series of predetermined movements and maneuvers with their hobby horse, showcasing precision, control, and harmony between horse and rider.
  2. Show Jumping: Riders navigate their hobby horses through a course of jumps, aiming to complete the course within the fastest time while avoiding knocking down any obstacles.
  3. Cross-Country: Similar to equestrian cross-country, riders tackle a course with natural obstacles such as logs, ditches, and water features, testing their horsemanship skills and bravery.
  4. Freestyle: This discipline allows participants to showcase their creativity and individual style by choreographing routines set to music, incorporating various movements and tricks with their hobby horse.
  5. Trail Riding: Riders simulate riding on trails or in natural environments, navigating through different terrains and obstacles to demonstrate their horsemanship skills and endurance.
  6. Western Riding: All ridden western disciplines are suitable for hobby horsers. Many of those are still being designed by trainers and judges, though.
  7. Fun races against the clock.

These disciplines, along with others, provide hobby horsing enthusiasts with a range of opportunities to showcase their skills, creativity, and passion for horses in a fun and competitive environment.

What is the advantage of hobby horsing?

Hobby horsing offers several advantages to riders, including:

  1. Creativity and expression: Hobby horsing allows individuals to express their creativity through choreographed routines, costumes, and performances. Riders can develop their own unique style and routines, showcasing their personality and artistic flair.
  2. Inclusivity: Hobby horsing is a sport that welcomes participants of all ages, backgrounds, and physical abilities. It provides an inclusive environment where individuals can come together to share their love for horses and equestrian sports, regardless of their access to real horses or riding facilities.
  3. Physical activity: While hobby horsing may not involve the same level of physical exertion as traditional equestrian sports, it still promotes physical activity and coordination. Participants engage in movement, balance, and coordination exercises while performing various tricks and maneuvers with their hobby horses.
  4. Confidence building: Engaging in hobby horsing can boost self-confidence and self-esteem as participants develop their skills, overcome challenges, and receive recognition for their achievements. It provides an opportunity for personal growth and empowerment.
  5. Community and social interaction: Hobby horsing fosters a sense of community and camaraderie among participants. It allows individuals to connect with like-minded enthusiasts, share experiences, and support each other in their hobby. This social aspect can enhance mental well-being and provide a sense of belonging.

Overall, hobby horsing offers a unique and enjoyable way for individuals to engage in equestrian-inspired activities, fostering creativity, inclusivity, physical activity, confidence, and social interaction.

For which ages would you recommend the sport?

Hobby horsing is generally suitable for a wide range of ages, from children to adults. While it initially gained popularity among teenagers, it has since expanded to include participants of all ages, including adults who enjoy the creative and physical aspects of the sport.

For younger children, hobby horsing can be a fun and imaginative activity that promotes creativity and active play. As children grow older, they may continue to participate in hobby horsing as a hobby or recreational activity, or they may become more involved in organized events and competitions.

Adults also participate in hobby horsing, either as a recreational activity or as a way to stay active and engaged in equestrian-inspired pursuits without the need for actual horses. Hobby horsing can be enjoyed by individuals of any age who have an interest in horses and equestrian sports, regardless of their previous experience or skill level.

Overall, hobby horsing is inclusive and accessible to individuals of all ages who share a passion for horses and enjoy the creative and physical aspects of the sport.

Where can I find hobbyhorse competitions?

Hobbyhorse competitions can be found in various locations, including:

  1. Equestrian centers: Some equestrian centers or horse clubs may host hobbyhorse competitions alongside traditional equestrian events. These venues often have facilities suitable for hobbyhorse competitions, such as arenas or outdoor spaces.
  2. Community events: Hobbyhorse competitions may be featured as part of community events, festivals, or fairs that celebrate equestrian culture or youth activities. These events can be found in local communities and may offer opportunities for hobbyhorse enthusiasts to showcase their skills.
  3. Online platforms: With the rise of virtual events and online communities dedicated to hobby horsing, participants can also find competitions and challenges hosted on dedicated hobbyhorse websites, such as the British Hobbyhorse Association.
  4. Specialty events: Some events are specifically dedicated to hobby horsing, organized by hobbyhorse clubs, enthusiasts, or organizations. These events may include a range of competitions, workshops, and activities tailored to hobbyhorse enthusiasts.
  5. School or youth programs: Hobbyhorse competitions may be incorporated into school programs, youth organizations, or recreational clubs as a way to engage children and teenagers in equestrian-inspired activities.

To find hobbyhorse competitions, you can search online for events in your local area, join hobbyhorse communities and forums, follow social media pages dedicated to hobby horsing, or inquire at equestrian centers or horse clubs in your region.

What should I wear for hobby horsing?

For hobby horsing, riders typically wear clothing and gear that allows them to move comfortably and safely while riding and performing with their hobby horses. Here are some common items that hobbyhorse enthusiasts may wear, some others are required as per the British Hobbyhorse Association’s rule book:

  1. Riding Attire: While hobby horsing is not a traditional equestrian sport, riders often choose to wear attire inspired by equestrian fashion. This may include breeches, leggings, or riding tights, along with a fitted top such as a polo shirt or equestrian-style blouse.
  2. Footwear: Riders usually wear closed-toe shoes or boots with a low heel for added stability and grip while riding and performing. Sneakers, athletic shoes, or flat boots are commonly worn for hobby horsing activities.
  3. Safety gear: While not always required, some participants choose to wear safety gear such as helmets or protective vests, especially when performing more challenging tricks or jumping activities. Safety should always be a priority, particularly for younger riders.
  4. Accessories: Participants often incorporate accessories such as belts, scarves, ribbons, or hats to accessorize their outfits and add flair to their performances. These accessories can enhance the visual appeal of routines and add a personal touch to the overall presentation.
  5. Costumes: For freestyle performances or themed events, participants may wear costumes or outfits that reflect a specific theme or character. Costumes can add an element of creativity and storytelling to routines, allowing participants to express their individual style and imagination.

Ultimately, what you wear for hobby horsing can vary depending on personal preference, the type of activity or competition you’re participating in, and any specific requirements or guidelines provided by event organisers. The key is to wear clothing and gear that allows you to move comfortably and safely while expressing yourself creatively through your hobby horse routines and performances.

Can I start y club and get listed on the British Hobbyhorse Association’s website?

Yes, absolutely, starting a hobbyhorse club can be an exciting endeavor. Here are some steps to help you get started:

  1. Gather interested participants in your area: Reach out to friends, family, classmates, or community members who share an interest in hobby horsing. Use social media, online forums, or local community groups to connect with potential members and gauge interest in starting a club.
  2. Establish a structure: Identify individuals who are passionate about hobby horsing and willing to take on roles within the club. If your club takes off, you will need help with your events, communication, and decision-making. You can, of course, also come to us and get all the help you might need.
  3. Plan Club Activities and a meeting location. Make sure the location is accessible and suitable for hobbyhorse activities.
  4. Promote your club: Spread the word about your hobbyhorse club through word-of-mouth, social media, and get listed on our club page.
  5. Maintain communication: Stay connected with club members to keep the club vibrant and responsive to their needs.
  6. Have Fun and Enjoy the Journey: Above all, remember that starting a hobbyhorse club is about bringing people together to share their passion for hobby horsing and have fun. Celebrate achievements, foster friendships, and enjoy the journey of building a thriving and supportive community around your shared interest.
How do I host a hobbyhorse show?

Ask us, we are happy to help with any question you might have. Alternatively, we can also run the show for you and supply you with everything you need.

I am not from the UK. Can I still become a member of the British Hobbyhorse Association or take part in competitions?

Definitely, we love all our hobbyhorse enthusiasts and welcome everyone.

Since many of our events take place online, you can take part in any of those.