What is Hobby Horse? 


Welcome to Hobby Horse at Tryon Resort & Tryon International Equestrian Center! We’re excited to launch the first hobby horse experience for equestrian enthusiasts. Hobby horsing is the “safe, fun and affordable way to ride horses” and we want you to learn more about this exciting addition to competition during our summer season!

What is hobby horse? 

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.

When are hobby horse competitions happening? 

There will be two weeks of demonstrations of hobby horse for participants interested in competing can familiarize themselves with the rules and fence heights that will be offered. The two weeks of demonstrations will take place on Saturday, June 3, and Saturday, June 10 from 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Sanctioned competition will begin in the month of July. The first week of competition will take place on Saturday, July 1, and follow with competition dates on Saturday, July 8,  and Saturday, July 15, before the championship competition on Saturday, July 22, which will be hosted in the George H. Morris Arena.

Where are hobby horse competitions happening? 

Hobby horse competitions will be held in the Special Events Tent overlooking the George H. Morris Arena. Rider Check-In will begin at 4:30 p.m. and competition will begin at 5:00 p.m.

Where can I purchase a hobby horse? 

Tryon Tack will be carrying an assortment of hobby horses, which will be available for purchase throughout the duration of the summer.

What fence heights or divisions will be offered at TIEC? 

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.

Are there any specific rules or regulations for participants? 

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. Participants should wear comfortable, athletic attire and running shoes or tennis shoes.

How will placings be determined? 

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

Are there special awards or prizes? 

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.

Where can I sign up to compete? 

Click here to register as a competitor for hobby horse competition at TIEC! 

Where do I get more information?

For more information about hobby horse, please contact hobbyhorse@tryon.com.

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