with Horse and Hound

Hobbyhorse Showjumping Craze Sweeps Scandinavia

I can’t believe I’m reporting on this, but I assure you it’s not fake news.

Riders, mostly girls between five and eighteen, but some boys as well, are riding, practicing, and competing in dressage and showjumping events on hobby horses. Riders can buy their mounts—stuffed heads on a stick—for about two hundred dollars; other riders breed…errr…that is, make their own hobbyhorses.

The sport is said to have attracted more than 10,000 athletes in Finland alone (about equal to the entire foxhunting population in the U.S.), where, after vying in regional events throughout the year, the nation’s finest riders compete in the annual Hobbyhorse Championships near Helsinki. Points are awarded for style and posture, as in traditional equestrian events.

Enthusiasts of the sport are also active in Sweden, France, and Germany. Riders train through the woods and parks, finding a sense of belonging and empowerment in the hobbyhorse community. Click for video.

Posted May 12, 2017