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    Jumping with a hobby horse

    Yee-Haw! Stick-Horse Equestrianism Becomes Popular Finnish Fad

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    As odd as it may sound, hobbyhorse riding has become a popular sport among Finnish kids, adolescents and even grown-ups. Finns galloping around with stick-horses have become the subject of a new documentary which is set to be screened at festivals across the globe.

    In the past decade, hobbyhorse riding has developed from a niche fad to a nationwide craze, involving tens of thousands of young Finns, mostly girls. Compared to real equestrianism, an expensive pastime, hobbyhorse riding involves almost no expenses and is a much more democratic form of amusement.

    The hobbyhorse culture involves both hand embroidery, as your garden variety toy horse is created manually, and a certain level of agility, since the riders are expected to perform both the role of a rider and that of a horse to manage a realistic performance.

    In Finland, Alisa Aarniomäki has been credited with successfully promoting toy horse riding to the level of a nationwide hobby. Aarniomäki, who previously tried riding real horses, found making and riding hobbyhorses a wonderful way to express herself. Ever since, she has been filming her hobby and posting pics and videos on social media, Finnish national broadcaster Yle reported.

    Predictably, Aarniomäki received a lot of negative feedback, especially in the beginning. Many fellow Finns wondered why she kept doing such idiocy, while she admitted to having been pelted with rocks during her "equestrian" toy rides in the forest.

    In 2016, several hundred equestrian enthusiasts marched through central Helsinki with their hobbyhorses, shouting "respect the hobbyhorses!" Additionally, Finnish hobbyhorse riding championships have been organized since 2012 and involve both hurdle jumping and concourse.

    ©Kaarentalli Keppihevosratsastus on ollut nousussa Suomessa 2000-luvun alusta. Keppihevosille tehdään yhä hienompia varusteita ja ratsastus on muuttunut yhä realistisemmaksi. Talli muuttuu suuremmaksi ja aidommaksi hevoskatraan lisääntyessä. Yhdessä ystävien kanssa on mukavaa ratsastaa, ja se kehittää niin kuntoa kuin kädentaitojakin. Suomessa keppihevostalleja on arviolta yli tuhat, mutta tarkkaa määrää on mahdotonta sanoa, sillä koko ajan joku lopettaa tai perustaa uuden tallin. Kaikkia näistä talleista ei tietenkään ole netissä. Täällä on arviolta (vuonna 2014) n.300 tallia. Keppihevosia kutsutaan monella eri nimityksellä, esimerkiksi "keppari", "kepru", ja jos kyseessä on poni, voidaan sitä sanoa myös keppiponiksi. Keppareille voi rakentaa ihan realistisen tallin, esim. leikkimökkiin, varastoon, latoon tai melkein mihin vain vajaan. Keppareiden varusteisiin kuuluu myös oikeiden hevosten varusteista poikkeava turpapussi. Turpapussi tarkoittaa pientä pussia, joka laitetaan hevosen päähän suojaamaan roiskeita uittamisen (eli kahlaamisen) ajaksi, jottei pää kastuisi ja homehtuisi. Lisäksi oikeilla hevosilla käytettävät muut varusteet — kuten martingaali, rintaremmi ja gramaanit — ovat keppihevosilla yhä yleisempiä ja taitavammin valmistettuja…Wikiteksti osa 3 #kepparitkunniaan #keppihevonen #keppari #tb #hästäg #kepru #estekuva

    Публикация от Kepparit kunniaan! (@kepparitkunniaan) Окт 29 2014 в 10:39 PDT

    Finns' quirky love of toy horses was recently captured in a film, Hobbyhorse Revolution, directed by Selma Vilhunen. Vilhunen argued that there was much to admire in the hobbyhorse community, which allegedly had a "powerful internal democracy."

    Hobbyhorse Revolution made its Finnish debut on March 31, after winning two main prizes at the Tampere Film Festival in March. The movie's international premiere will be at the Vision du Réel Festival in Nyon, Switzerland on April 23, followed by its North American premiere at HotDocs in Toronto, Canada on May 3.

    Remarkably, though, Finnish viewing figures of Hobby Horse Revolution remain rather modest. Producer Sanna Kultanen told Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat that the film only attracted less than 600 spectators during the premiere weekend.

     

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