The Joy of Hobby Horse Riding

Zoe Hall
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The Joy of Hobby Horse Riding The Joy of Hobby Horse Riding

When you hear the term "hobby horse," you might envision a simple child's toy or perhaps a quaint pastime from yesteryear. However, in recent years, hobby horse riding has galloped its way into the limelight as a serious sport, capturing the imagination of enthusiasts worldwide. This modern twist on an old favorite blends creativity, athleticism, and community, offering a unique and accessible way for people of all ages to engage in physical activity and have fun.

The Origins of Hobby Horse Riding

The hobby horse has a long and storied history, dating back to medieval times when it was both a child's toy and a prop in traditional folk dances. The basic design—a horse's head mounted on a stick—has remained largely unchanged over the centuries. However, the concept of hobby horse riding as a competitive sport is a much more recent development, gaining significant popularity in the 21st century, particularly in Finland.

What is Hobby Horse Riding?

Hobby horse riding involves participants simulating the actions of riding a real horse, but instead of a live animal, they use a hobby horse. Competitors perform various equestrian disciplines such as dressage, show jumping, and eventing, mimicking the movements and techniques required in real horse riding. The sport requires a good deal of physical fitness, coordination, and creativity, as riders must convincingly portray the actions of riding and jumping while holding and maneuvering their hobby horse.

The Appeal of Hobby Horse Riding

One of the most appealing aspects of hobby horse riding is its inclusivity. Unlike traditional equestrian sports, which can be prohibitively expensive due to the costs associated with owning and maintaining a horse, hobby horse riding is much more accessible. A hobby horse can be made at home with basic materials, and many communities and clubs host events and competitions that welcome participants of all skill levels.

The sport also fosters a strong sense of community. Enthusiasts often gather for practice sessions, workshops, and competitions, sharing tips and techniques and encouraging one another. Social media has played a significant role in connecting hobby horse riders from around the world, allowing them to share their passion and inspire others to join in the fun.

The Competitive Scene

Competitions in hobby horse riding are taken seriously, with events that mirror traditional equestrian contests. Riders are judged on their performance, style, and the difficulty of their routines. Dressage events require riders to perform a series of predetermined movements with precision and grace, while show jumping involves navigating a course of obstacles, just as in real horse jumping competitions.

Events can range from local meets to national championships, with some riders achieving notable fame within the hobby horse community. These competitions are often accompanied by an array of side activities, including hobby horse crafting workshops, costume contests, and demonstrations of advanced techniques.

Getting Started with Hobby Horse Riding

For those interested in taking up hobby horse riding, getting started is relatively straightforward. Here are a few tips to help you begin your journey:

  1. Make or Buy a Hobby Horse: You can create your own hobby horse using a variety of materials such as wood, fabric, and stuffing. Alternatively, there are many artisanal hobby horses available for purchase online.

  2. Learn the Basics: Start with simple riding techniques and gradually work your way up to more complex movements and jumps. There are numerous tutorials available online to guide you.

  3. Join a Community: Look for local hobby horse clubs or online groups where you can connect with other enthusiasts, share tips, and participate in events.

  4. Practice Regularly: Like any sport, regular practice is key to improving your skills. Set aside time each week to practice and refine your techniques.

  5. Have Fun: Above all, remember that hobby horse riding is about having fun and expressing yourself. Enjoy the process and the community that comes with it.


Hobby horse riding is a delightful blend of sport, creativity, and community. Whether you're looking for a new way to stay active, a creative outlet, or simply a fun and engaging hobby, hobby horse riding offers something for everyone. So grab your hobby horse, let your imagination run wild, and join the ranks of this charming and vibrant sport.


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