Forest background with three woman doing hobby horsing over it

Valentin Valkov/Shutterstock @danaehays/Tiktok @kht_duck/Tiktok @kht_mansika/Tiktok (Licensed)

The majestic sport of hobby horsing is very much a real thing—here’s what it is and why it’s gone viral again

Hobby horse enthusiasts might just be horsin’ around, but they’re completely serious about their craft.


Stacey Nguyen

Pop Culture

If you lurk around the Internet long enough, you’ll come across all kinds of quirky niche interests. One that’s made its way in and out of the online discourse is hobby horsing, a quaint but legitimate sport where participants use sticks with horse heads to simulate equestrian riding and showcase dressage routines.

At a cursory glance, hobby horsing can seem a bit strange. But once you move past the oddness of it all, the world of hobby horsing is actually fascinating. 

Where does hobby horsing come from?

Hobby horsing started in Finland, where it’s a growing sport embraced by young girls and women. Participants often DIY the horses themselves, assigning their steeds names and breeds. The sport blends together imagination and gymnastic prowess — you emulate a rider in the upper part of your body and move like a horse with your legs.

There are many specific ways to move your legs, from piaffes to canter pirouettes. And if you’ve seen the best of the best on TikTok, there are also lots of impressive high jumps involved. Here’s an example of a routine:

An etymological fun fact: In the 1400s, the word “hobby” actually referred to a small or medium-sized horse. “Hobbyhorse” came to mean a horse costume worn to an English Morris folk dance and, later on, a toy horse head mounted to a stick for children to play with. The meaning morphed once again, this time to reference any pastime activity, and the word “hobbyhorse” was later shortened to just “hobby.”

When the modern Finnish subculture officially began is a bit of an enigma, although it did pick up traction in online forums some time in the 21st century. Today, hobby horsing is popular enough to the point where there are entire camps and competitions dedicated to it.

There’s even a whole documentary about it — check out Oscar nominee Selma Vilhunen’s Hobbyhorse Revolution.

How have people reacted to hobby horsing?

In the past, hobby horsing enthusiasts have shied away from sharing their passion, but times have changed. Today, many hobby horse connoisseurs are loud and proud about their love for the sport and the camaraderie that it offers.

TikTok user Anna (@kht_duck), for example, posted a video defending hobby horsing’s legitimacy as a sport. In the now-viral clip, we see her sprawled on the ground and dry heaving after an intense hobby horsing routine. The text on the video reads, “’Hobby horsing is not a sport, it’s easy and everyone can do that..’ Oh yeah? This is me after my dressage routine…I was passing out, couldn’t breathe, almost throwing up, dizzy, shaking, whole body burning in pain…” 


Yeah, it looks easy, but this is reality :) #khtduck #hobbyhorsing #dressage #sport #realsport #reality

♬ Fangs (Slowed Down) – Dionnysuss

The video actually took place at the 2024 Slovakia Hobbyhorse Championship, where Anna competed with other pros. Through the 16-year-old’s popular TikTok video, many are now discovering the world of hobby horsing.

And when the Internet discovers anything, online derision, of course, can run wild. You don’t need to stray far from the comment section of literally any hobby horsing video to see online contrarians sharing their two cents. You can even just check the comments under the previous video.

“Hobby horsing is NOT easy,” said TikTok user Kev.did.stuf (burn glazer🔥🔥). “It takes years of dedication to believe it is a real sport.”

Another commenter added, “Hobby horsing? When I was a kid we called it playing.”

There are also plenty of videos spoofing hobby horsing, too.


Nothing “hobby” about Judy’s horse

♬ original sound – danaehays

There are definitely hobby horse sympathizers, though, like TikTok account Opossum (@_princess_opossum).


I will continue to laugh but i am the one who does not run or jump so ¯_(ツ)_/¯ #hobbyhorse #hobbyhorsing #silly #horsegirl

♬ original sound – Opossum

“I’m gonna be controversial and brave, and I’m just gonna say that I’m a hobby horse sympathizer. It’s just hurdles with a stick between your knees. It’s just track and field for weird kids,” the user noted.

Hobby horsing examples

Given its rising popularity, hobby horsing has been in and out of the online discourse over the last few years. While it’s an easy target for Internet ridicule, it can be refreshing to watch participants document their joyous routines.

Like TikTok user Anna (@kht_duck) hurdling over a bisexual pride flag.

Or these hobby horse champs pulling off bonkers high jumps.


1st place on #hobbyhorseevents in 70-80cm . With #ksurashomon . #khtsemi #hobbyhorsecompetition #hobbyhorsejumpingstyle #hobbyhorsegermany #hobbyhorsepoland #kht #hobbyhorsejumping #hobbyhorser #hobbyhorse #hobby #hobbyhorseedit #hobbyhorsegopro #horseriding #equestrian

♬ like me chase icon – ☆

high jump knockoff! #keppihevostensm #hobbyhorses #jumping

♬ Crab Rave – Noisestorm

Jumping with dressage horse? Why not xd #khtduck #hobbyhorsing #hobbyhorse #jumping #highjump

♬ Originalton – ssofialaa

When you dive deep enough into the universe of hobby horsing, you’ll find that participants truly care about their craft and find a strong sense of community in the sport.

Perhaps it’s time for the haters to get off their figurative high horse…and join in on the fun with a stick one.

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