Hobby horsing

We at the Fund for Horses have become slightly obsessed with hobby horsing. When we first heard about it, quite a few years ago now, we thought oh well that’s a crazy youth thing they do in Finland and it probably won’t take off anywhere else. Wrong!

Let’s learn more about it. You can do it for kicks with your friends, as a fundraiser, or compete at sponsored events to win prizes.

Competitive hobby horsing

Riders participating in competitive hobby horsing — a toy consisting of a stick with a model horse head — perform and mimic the movements and technicality of horseback riding in the disciplines of show jumping and dressage, then translate that to their stick horse, where judges will mark and score their rounds. For participants competing in show jumping, courses are set with tricky combinations and patterns.

Just for fun

In a 2017 article in the Tatler (yes, the Tatler), entitled, “Why we should all take up hobby-horsing,” columnist Emma Kennedy writes:

What else, you cry, can Scandinavia give us other than exceptionally good chairs and proper meatballs? Hobby-horsing, that’s what. *Needle scrapes across the record* ‘Sorry? WHAT?’

You heard me. HOBBY-HORSING.

Kennedy continues:

This is the game that those of you who can’t fit a pony into that two-bedroom flat in Islington have been waiting your entire life for. You will need:

  1. A hobby horse.
  2. An inability to feel any embarrassment whatsoever.

Now, mount your hobby horse. Once astride your magnificent beast, start trotting, prancing, toe-tapping, galloping and leaping. This isn’t just for larks, dear Tatler reader.

There are proper competitions you can enter in Finland — dressage and showjumping — and, as I always say, when there are rosettes for the winner, have a shot of something stiff and bracing and crack the hell on.

It’s you, trotting round an arena on a hobby-horse. If this isn’t the definition of unbridled joy, I don’t know what is. Plus, no mucking out required. Get IN.


Still can’t quite picture it? Take a look at this young lady. Impressive.

Get IN for charity

People are “getting IN” right now in England in the midst of the virus scare. Look.

In an article entitled, “Dressage with a difference: hobby horses at the ready to help the NHS“, the Horse & Hound reports:

Top dressage riders have dusted off their tailcoats to take part in a grand prix with a twist.

Dressage Anywhere is running online hobby horse classes, with 80% of the entry fee going to NHS Charities Together’s Covid-19 fund.

Classes are being held at novice and grand prix, along with Pony Club and Riding for the Disabled Association tests.

The test will be judged by Stephen Clarke, Jennie Loriston-Clarke and Sara-Jane Lanning, with Alice Oppenheimer giving helpful hints to children.

Alice also kicked-off the grand prix competition as the first rider into the arena aboard Legless. Although Legless showed a little head tilt in the early trot-work, the pair performed a smart test, with the flying changes a particular highlight.

Continue reading »

Isn’t this a great fundraising idea? We are thinking about doing something along these lines this Summer or Fall (depending how things go regarding the nation’s health), to raise money to help horses in need. We are not quite up to dressage so maybe we will just have a few sprints — in a straight line! In the meantime, for inspiration, let’s watch the “pros” in action.

2019 Finnish Championships

U.S.A.

Yes, Hobby Horsing has made its way to the U.S.A. The Tryon Int’l Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, N. Carolina are hosting the American Hobby Horse: Saturdays in July and October 2020. Check it out »

You can get hobby horses that meet competition standards on Etsy. Isn’t this sweet? The cross noseband! Only $169.72. One left.


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13 thoughts on “Hobby horsing”

  1. I thought I had seen everything, but I was wrong. It looks real interesting and fun, but I am not sure I am young enough to jump over steeples while riding a hobby horse. Thanks for posting this, it was fun to read about, and I likes that it works for charity too.

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  2. This is a hoot! I have seen someone, completely kitted out in white breeches, tail coat and helmet ride a hobby horse through a Grand Prix dressage test in a makeshift arena set up in a driveway and Alice Oppenheimer did a seriously hilarious judges commentary. It was fabulous. I also saw an Eventer doing a cross country in her back garden leaping with her hobby horse over some obstacles. I am just about ready to see if I can get a hobby horse on Amazon!🤣

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      1. I think these horses just stand by and wait for the rider to get up. If there is a bad injury sustained they may have to be carefully removed to the Hobby Horse Repair Hospital. 😁

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