What Is Hobby Horsing?

Hobby Horsing

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Hobby horsing: 6 reasons why it’s awesome

The popularity of hobby horsing is increasing rapidly. The stick-horse craze began in Finland and has since spread throughout the world. Here are some reasons why you might want to give it a try with your children.

It is likely that many of us remember playing with a stick as a pretend horse when we were children. For example, people of certain generations may have received a hobby horse on a special occasion, such as a birthday or Christmas. You might have seen a simple stick with a fancy ornamental horse’s head, but if you are a horse lover, this could have been your closest encounter with the real thing.

Throughout history, stick horses have been enjoyed by children (and adults) alike. Currently, hobby horsing is a real sport that incorporates elements of show jumping and dressage, but with a hobby horse rather than a real horse. Hobby horses are not just for play – they can also be used for sport! 

 Origins of hobby horsing.

Hobby horsing began in Finland in 2012, but its founders are unknown. This is due to the fact that this equestrian trend was practiced in secret for a long time before it became widely popular. There are more than 10,000 enthusiasts of hobby horsing in Finland, which is officially recognized as a sport.

Although it is not as popular as in Finland, the sport is also quite popular in the United States and in Australia. In hobby horsing, there are several different divisions and each competition has its own set of rules.

Hobby Horsing

 The hobby of horsing in the United States.

The equestrian trend was founded by a group of teenage girls in Finland. However, how did it spread to the United States and what is its current fan base? Due to the lack of an official governing body, it is difficult to determine how many people participate in the events or watch them live.

What I can tell you is that there are currently numerous hobby horse competitions scheduled for this year and the next, including the ones in White Oak Stables, WinWinEquine near Atalanta, and Tryon in North Carolina, which hosted the inaugural American Hobby Horse competition.

It is also possible to purchase hobby horses at retailers such as Amazon, whether they are used for competitions or recreation. I believe that this shows a genuine interest in the activity, and I am confident that it will gain even greater popularity as time passes. Ultimately, the United States is a vast country, and hobby horse racing may not be as popular everywhere as it is in the United States.

The sport is becoming more popular in certain regions of the country, particularly in the South.

 How does Hobby Horsing work?

In 2012, hobby horse racing became an official sport in Finland and quickly gained popularity throughout Europe and the United States. Since 2016, hobby horsing has flourished in Australia as well. While there are no age restrictions, this sport is primarily played by teens and preteens. Hobby horse enthusiasts continue to flock to Finland. Global Citizen estimates that there are 10,000 hobby horse enthusiasts in Finland alone. 

Though the horses are not real, competitors say their sport demands rhythm, gymnastic control and the athletic skill to complete jumps over obstacles that can be chest-high for many participants. The Equestrian Federation of Finland organizes an annual hobby horse competition in Seinäjoki, which attracts hundreds of competitors and thousands of spectators. 

In view of this, let’s take a closer look at some of the reasons why hobby horsing has become so popular.

1. Good Exercise

It is for this reason that hobby horses are gaining popularity. Riders ride around courses that are similar to those found on real equestrian courses. It is common for hobby horse riders to compete in tournaments requiring them to complete various routes and overcome obstacles while displaying a variety of jumping and running skills. A tight-knit community supports them as they train for these events with friends. 

There is a prevalence of clinical obesity among children and adolescents in the United States of 19.7 percent, according to the CDC.

2. Community

Getting your child involved in a sports-based community is a great way to foster an interest in living an active and healthy lifestyle. These issues can be addressed through community intervention, according to studies. Sport-related community activities have been found to be highly effective in achieving long-term health goals.

Riders of hobby horses are known to be very supportive of one another, even during competitions. It is a friendly, safe and enjoyable sport for all families who come to watch their riders compete. It is a great way to spend time with family and support young athletes by doing something they enjoy. Is it not a good idea to invite grandparents as well as other extended family members and neighbors?

They say it takes a whole village to raise a child, and the research on child development seems to agree. The community plays a crucial role in helping children develop values and beliefs that will serve them throughout their lives. The research shows that “communities that provide social support have consistently been found to be associated with positive outcomes in children and families.

3. Easily Affordable 

The use of stick horses is a cost-effective way to enjoy horse sports without the responsibility (and ethical questions) of owning a horse. You can make your own by purchasing materials from your local thrift store, such as wooden poles, cloth, and sponges, and spending an afternoon sewing it together. There are still many parents who have their old hobby horses from their childhood; little did they know that such a revival would take place. 

There are several hobby horses available online, such as the Palomino realistic hobby horse, available on Amazon**. Palomino horses are based on real horses. Choosing realistic horses is a good way for older children to learn about different breeds and their characteristics. 

Younger children may benefit from a colorful or inexpensive hobby horse in order to introduce the idea of the sport, such as riding a horse and developing hand-eye coordination. A good example of this is the HollyHome hobby horse. It is equipped with an adjustable stick length and is capable of producing horse sounds. As with our other example, the HollyHome can be found on Amazon.

A hobby horse made from food is often more durable and will produce less waste than a horse made from plastic.

4. Learning about Horses

It is a dream of many children to own their own horses or pony. Sadly, this is not always possible. Your children will be able to learn that horses are not simply cool animals, but also a large responsibility, both financially and in terms of time and care. They are often neglected or abused by those who fail to properly care for them.

The hobby horse is a practical alternative to learning what horses eat, what breeds they come in, and how they are cared for. By introducing toy food, brushes for grooming, and horse pictures, you can help your child identify different types of horses.

Children and adults in one study developed interaction, care-taking, and communication skills through playing with an interactive toy animal. It is not just about learning about horses. Also, it allows you to gain a better understanding of your child.

5. Animal Welfare in General

In spite of the fact that a hobby horse is not a real horse, it is a great way for you to engage your children in a discussion and encourage them to respect animals. As a result, a discussion is opened about how animals should be treated in general. The majority of young people today are aware of what animals are used for and what they provide as far as food is concerned. It is an excellent opportunity for them to teach them the importance of all animals.

Toy animals have proven to be an effective tool for social-emotional learning (SEL) among children. An educational method called Social and Emotional Learning is used to improve the relational and emotional skills of children. According to research, this method facilitates the discussion of animal and human relationships with children.

Horses are not the only animals deserving of good treatment – smaller animals and even those deemed pests deserve compassion as well. It’s important for children to learn about methods of kind capture, for example to safely relocate a mouse that’s found its way into your home.

7. Family-Orientated

Hobby horsing may not be for everyone, but it is great entertainment to watch with your family. The entire family can enjoy supporting and encouraging the riders. The stick horse can also be made as a family activity to promote family time. It is extremely important for riders to have their families present to encourage and support them. Losing is never easy, but if someone wins, someone must lose, and this can be a lot easier with support.

The relationship between childhood sports and social development has been well-studied. Physical activity can contribute to the development of cooperation skills, solidarity, self-esteem, and a positive self-image. It should be noted, however, that as with any other competitive sport, family and friends can play a key role in motivating engagement and learning.

 How do the rules work?

Hobby-horse competitions are not governed by an official body. As a result, they are not subject to an official regulatory framework. There are, however, a few general rules all competitors should adhere to:

  • It is recommended that competitors wear helmets while performing. It is also advisable to wear appropriate clothing.
  • Pets are not permitted on the premises.
  • It is forbidden for them to bring or consume drugs or alcohol on the premises.
  • It is mandatory that all competitors wear proper running shoes.
  • It is important that hobby horses are in good condition and appear presentable. Short sticks are preferred for hobby horses.
  • Time limits must be adhered to by each participant.
  • The final decision is always made by the judges.

Is it possible to make my own hobby horse?

Yes, you can, and if you have the right materials, it’s not even that difficult. You should keep in mind that your hobby horse will need to look presentable for the competition, so you will probably need to do a good job on it. If you do not want to spend money on a brand-new one, you can always purchase a used one, or make one yourself. There is no doubt that creating your own hobby horse is the most challenging, but it can also be the most rewarding since you will have a greater emotional connection with it.

 Now you know exactly what hobby horsing is, where it came from, and what we can expect from it in the future. You now have all the information you need to pursue this activity yourself in your free time. We would appreciate any information you would like to share about your own experiences riding stick horses.

 Takeaways and tips 

Don’t underestimate the talent it takes to be a champion in hobby horsing. Your child will be able to develop creatively, socially, and physically as he or she makes their own hobby horse.

You can help your child develop lifelong social, physical, and emotional skills through this activity. As adults, it is also an opportunity to reconnect with your inner child and create lasting memories. 

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