Hobbyhorse competition has become a trend in Finland, with children and teenagers competing in a very different kind of horse show.
Showing real horses in traditional equestrian events is expensive. Really, really expensive. Even just riding horses is expensive. But in Finland, there's a solution to this: dressage and showjumping competitions on hobbyhorses, as in stick horses.
We're not kidding. The competition actually exists, and there are more than 10,000 participants in Finland. Riders compete on hobbyhorses that they have created, and some of the horses are quite complex, even featuring double bridles. Regional competitions are held which eventually culminate into national hobbyhorse championships in Helsinki every year. While no official statistics exist and there is no affiliation with the Equestrian Federation of Finland, last year's championship saw a packed sports hall.
Anyone who rode horses as a kid probably spent hours jumping the fences in an empty ring on foot. After all, it's fun, and it's a way for kids to extend their "riding time" and have fun with their barn friends. These girls and their hobbyhorses just take things one step further.
There's a new documentary on the subject, called "Hobbyhorse Revolution" directed by Finnish Oscar-nominated Selma Vilhunen. The documentary follows three young girls whose lives have been changed by the hobby. The girls train for competitions, blog, and handcraft hobbyhorses with their own names like Chattanooga Choo Choo and Panda with equally unique personalities.
The girls' dedication to their hobbyhorsing sport is admirable, and you can't help but be reminded of how dedicated you are to your own horse and showing career.
Take a look at the trailer featuring the new sport and hobby horse enthusiasts below.
"Hobbyhorse Revolution" was released on March 31, 2017, but the Tuffi Films website doesn't have any information on where you might see this video - yet. If you want to see the documentary, keep checking back on the site; some of the company's other documentaries are available on Vimeo.
For the past 10 years, the hobbyhorse-riding trend has grown in Finland and is gaining popularity across other Nordic countries and Europe thanks to social media. Do you think we'll see hobbyhorse competitions emerging here in the United States?
Tell us what you think about competitive hobbyhorsing in the comments below.
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