Hobbyhorse craze sweeps across Finland

Published 1045 GMT (1845 HKT) June 29, 2017
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Hobbyhorsing is the latest equestrian trend sweeping Finland, a "horse crazy" nation. Vilhelmiina Keskilä
It sees participants -- called "hobbyists" -- riding stick horses in events that mirror equestrian circuits and dressage. Vilhelmiina Keskilä
For the most part, hobbyhorsing is seen as a fun pastime or an exciting new way to exercise. But there are still competitive tournaments for the hobbyists to enter. Vilhelmiina Keskilä
Although not exclusively limited to young girls, hobbyhorsing in dominated by this demographic. Vilhelmiina Keskilä
It was first introduced to the Finnish mainstream by documentary "Hobbyhorse Revolution" earlier this year. Vilhelmiina Keskilä
"My favorite thing is the community," says Elsa Salo, one of the stars of Hobbyhorse Revolution. Vilhelmiina Keskilä
"I also like making horses and creating the personalities of the horses, sharing the horses with others and telling other hobbyists about them." Vilhelmiina Keskilä
"The community is so tolerating and we accept everyone the way they are." Vilhelmiina Keskilä
It is estimated that around 10,000 people regularly take part in hobbyhorsing, although the actual number is believed to be significantly higher. Vilhelmiina Keskilä
On the weekend of May 20 and 21, more than 40,000 people descended on Kaivopuisto Park in Finland's capital, Helsinki, to celebrate 100 years of independence and 110 years since the founding of the Finnish studbook. Vilhelmiina Keskilä
The "CityHorse" event boasted the largest hobbyhorse arena ever built in Finland and it is estimated to have attracted more than 5,000 hobbyists over the two days. Vilhelmiina Keskilä
Former Finnish prime minister, Alexander Stubb, is also a fan of the latest craze. "It's a great new sport," he tells CNN. "Anything to get kids moving. One hour of exercise gives you two hours of energy." Vilhelmiina Keskilä
Ada Filppa, a PR manager for the Finnish Hobbyhorse Federation, believes so many are drawn to the sport because "people can be whatever they want to be -- and do so many things." Ada Filppa