No matter if you want to ride a horse but don’t actually have one to ride. “Hobby horsing” is a real thing – an unusual alternative to the actual sport in Finland. All you need is a “hobby horse”, which is essentially a toy, like a soft toy head of a horse on a stick, which you “ride”. Apparently more than 10,000 Finns indulge in this “sport”.
Every year, hundreds of “hobbyists” show up for hobby-horse championships in the country, which are particularly popular among teenaged girls. The participants must, as shown in the video above, jump and complete circuits similar to real equestrian events, with obstacles and fences. Points are awarded for style and posture as well.
While many find the idea quite absurd, fans of the hobby say the activity has therapeutic powers and offers a sense of freedom to girls and women in particular. A documentary, Hobbyhorse Revolution (trailer below), was made on it by Finnish filmmaker Selma Vilhunen, which offers some perspective.