Awards stand on a tray ahead of the awarding ceremony of the 8th Hobby Horse championships in Seinajoki, Finland, on Saturday, June 15, 2019. More than 400 hobby horse enthusiasts took part in the show, competing on stylish toy horses in various events inspired by real equestrian events. (AP Photo/from APTN Video)

Hobby horse fans show off their skills in Finland

June 15, 2019 - 2:25 pm

HELSINKI (AP) — Organizers say "the biggest hobby horse event in the world" has taken place in a Finnish town that is hosting the annual national championships in this sport by teen girls who simulate the gymnastic elements of real-life horseback riding.

Elviira Sarakoski of the Finnish Hobby Horse Association told The Associated Press on Saturday that some 400 participants with self-made "horses" and over 2,500 spectators took part in the event at a sports arena in Seinajoki in western Finland.

The mostly 10-to-18-year-old girls and teens galloped, jumped and pranced with a stuffed horse head on a wooden stick in the physically demanding competition, which included dressage, show jumping and a Western horsemanship section complete with barrel racing modeled after North American rodeos.

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