Feminists in Finland participate in horseback riding competitions without the horse

Ever seen someone participate in horseback riding, but without the actual horse? Well, if you’re in Finland, it’s a lot less bizarre than how it sounds. It’s called hobby-horsing. And Finnish teens are obsessing over the new sports craze with a feminist edge.

Rather than mount an actual horse, athletes straddle a long wooden stick met with a stuffed, horse head at the end. Hobby-horsing mimics the tough equestrian sport, including the traditional dressage and show jumping. And for one hobby-horse enthusiast, the sport has proven to be super therapeutic.

“I’ve gone through lots of trouble and I’m still struggling with some issues,” 20-year-old Alisa Aarniomaki said according to ABC News. “It has helped me a great deal that I can occasionally just go galloping into the woods with my friends. It somehow balances my mind.”

Yes. Galloping, without the horse.

To our surprise, top Finland equestrians think the sport is pretty cool, and not just child’s play. In fact, Fred Sundwall, the secretary general of the Equestrian Federation of Finland told ABC News that it’s “wonderful” the horseless sport became so popular.

“It gives a chance to those children and teens who don’t own horses to interact with them also outside stables and riding schools,” he continued.

Take a gander at what a hobby-horse and the sport’s training setup look like, below.

In addition to it providing participants with a chance to interact with horses on their own terms, the sport also allows for athletes to show off their creative edge. Hobby-horses are homemade, and athletes dress them the most extravagant patterns and colors.

The do-it-yourself aspect is both cost efficient and impressive.

So far, there’s an estimated 10,000 participants in the sport – ranging from 10-18 years of age. There are no official statistics floating around, or stringent rules for hobby-horsing just yet. But, that’s what gravitates many young women to the sport. And according to hobby-horsing vet Aarniomaki, the “freedom to create and imagination” help to form the sport’s feministic agenda.

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