Hobby Horse Riding: A Strange Sport Impacting Lives for the Better

By: Sam Robinson

Do you enjoy the feeling of galloping around on a horse, but you’re not a real fan of the animal? Hobby horse riding might just be the sport for you.

Hobby horse riding is a legitimate competitive sport, that is growing in Australia.

It involves competitors racing around a course on top of a stick with a horse’s head. That sentence may not be selling it to you, but as Coralie Kedzlie from Hobby Horse Riders says, it is a lot of fun.

“On hobby horses, we can do most of the things on real horses, without the mess and without worrying about being kicked or thrown off,” Coralie said.

“Many horse lovers at an early age began riding around on hobby horses but these days it’s not restricted to littlies, it’s being taken up by teenagers and adults alike, and a lot more serious fun is being had.”

It’s a sport that has to be seen to be believed, and gained new attention after it was featured as a challenge in a season of The Amazing Race Australia.

Coralie said it can be quite competitive in a number of ways.

“We can compete in dressage, or jumping, or mounted games, cross country, you can go out on trail rides.

“Most of the things you can do on a real horse with four legs, you can do on hobby horses.”

Hobby Horse Riders is an initiative of Horses and Humans that provides equine therapy and horse skills to people in many different walks of life.

Hobby Horse Riders Australia was Founded in 2016 by Matty Sormani of Horses and Humans a profit for purpose business that provides Equine Assisted Learning Programs. Her life long passion about any thing to do with Horses and the amazing social and physical benefits that horses bring to humans, from the very young, to the young at heart was the perfect fit for a Hobby Horse Riders start up.

Horses and Humans Equestrian Centre, and it great support team were keen to give it a go. 

Inspired by an amazing group of Finnish youth who brought the idea forward and into the reality that became a National sport attracting thousands of participants and spectators every year to their Championship Events. 

The sport requires athleticism, coordination and poise, since, after all, the riders themselves are doing the jumping instead of the horses. The hobbyhorses that the riders use in competition are often handmade, complete with glued-on hair and eyes. They are given proper names. They’re exchanged and sold by owners at events and through social media, some for hundreds of dollars.

Horses and Humans offer a range of programs for Humans that involve a connection with Horses (real ones) for many benefits at a variety of levels with opportunities for positive outcomes for Personal Development, Coaching Education, Equestrian Industry Jobs and Careers, and Recreation Riding and Sports, based on the belief that there is something very special about the combination of a Horse and Human relationship that can be fundamentally useful to assist a person find more confidence, well-being and be self-aware.

“Particularly the therapeutic work we do is for people who are more vulnerable in the community: victims of domestic violence, children who may have challenges such as autism or anxiety or depression,” Coralie said.

“The [real] horses are the therapists, and reflect the feelings of the clients. They help them to see things in a different perspective, and realise there is a life beyond those traumas and troubles.”

Watch an example of the Finnish Hobbyhorse Championships here

finland's hobby horse championship

Article supplied with thanks to Hope Media. with additional material from Horses and Humans.