Mill Spring, NC – May 30, 2017 – The internet phenomenon of hobby horse competition, one of the newest forms of equestrian sport, has captured the attention of young audiences from around the world following coverage of a top-tier event in Finland and the release of a popular documentary this past spring. Tryon Resort & Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) are proud to announce the debut of the American Hobby Horse competition, which will be hosted at the venue during the Tryon Summer Series, culminating with a final championship competition on Saturday, July 22, in the George H. Morris Arena.
Competitive hobby horsing originates in Finland and has more than 10,000 active participants. Competitions have been seen repeatedly on mainstream media outlets and social media platforms, even earning coverage from networks and programs on ESPN and ABC, and in publications like The Wall Street Journal.
Riders participating in competitive hobby horsing – a toy consisting of a stick with a model horse head – perform and mimic the movements and technicality of horseback riding in the disciplines of show jumping and dressage, then translate that to their stick horse, where judges will mark and score their rounds. For participants competing in show jumping, courses are set with tricky combinations and patterns, similar to the show jumping competitions seen at TIEC throughout the year.
Pegged as a “safe, fun and affordable way to ride horses” hobby horse competition offers youth the ability to experience the pressure of organized competition, without the expense or logistical efforts surrounding competing on a living horse, which can be demanding financially. Competitions run similarly to regular horse shows, offering different fence heights for jumpers and tests/levels for dressage riders. Riders receive ribbons and awards for top-placing finishes and practice their skills before competition with trainers and coaches.
TIEC is honored to host the first organized hobby horse competition currently known in the United States during the highly-anticipated Tryon Summer Series, featuring five weeks of international FEI show jumping.
Hobby horse demonstrations will be hosted in front of The General Store at Tryon Resort on Saturday, June 3, and Saturday, June 10, from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. ahead of official competition during the following weeks. Hobby horse competition will take place on Saturday, July 1, Saturday, July 8, and Saturday, July 15, in the Special Events Tent overlooking the George H. Morris Arena, and conclude with the championship competition on Saturday, July 22.
Check-in for competition will begin at 4:30 p.m. and classes will start at 5:00 p.m. Participants should bring a hobby horse, which are available for purchase on-site in Tryon Tack, and wear comfortable, athletic attire and running shoes or tennis shoes.
Divisions will be designated by school grade. The Kindergarten and Younger Division will offer a Cross Rails class of fences from 6 inches to 12 inches. The First – Fifth Grade Division will host four classes, including Cross Rails (6″-12″), 18″, 2′, and 2’6″. The Sixth – Eighth Grade Division will offer classes in the following heights, Cross Rails (6″-12″), 18″, 2′, 2’6″, and 3′. An Open Class featuring a High Jump competition will also be offered each week.
Riders must complete the entire course with their hobby horse and will incur four faults for every rail lowered during their time on course. Results will be based on the time in which the rider completes the course, with the fastest rider taking first place. The top eight places will be awarded ribbons for each division at the conclusion of competition.
The top twelve combinations for each class designation will have the opportunity to qualify for the championship competition on Saturday, July 22, and points will be kept and recorded as follows:
1st place = 10 points
2nd place = 6 points
3rd place = 5 points
4th place = 4 points
5th place = 3 points
6th place = 2 points
7th place = 1 points
8th place = 0.5 points
Special awards will be given each week to the Best Hobby Horse, Best Turned Out Rider, and Best Stable. Stabling rules for those competing with a team require coordinating or matching outfits and tack, while stable decorations in team colors will be up for a chance to win the Best Stable Award.
If interested in registering to compete, please fill out the following online form by clicking here or visit www.tryon.com. For more information on hobby horse and competition hosted at TIEC, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.