Riding is not always the most accessible sport, and many can find themselves missing out due to financial or other reasons, but a new venture is hoping to help youngsters embrace their love of equines, whether or not they have access to the real thing.

Zoë Brown started Hobby Horse Adventures six months ago, when she was looking for a way to keep her pony mad daughter, Elowen, and her friends entertained. After purchasing a hobby horses from Poland, they soon became hooked on their new pastime, and wanted to take part in competitions.

Elowen had been ‘hobby horsing’ in her garden and at the local park for a couple of years, but there were no shows in the UK. While Finland has an annual hobby horse championship, this would prove logistically tricky to attend, so Zoë decided to set up something more locally.

Their first Hobby Horse Adventures event attracted 75 children from across the UK, who were delighted to be able to take part. Handmade hobby horse makers and Crafty Ponies had stalls at the show, and their was an equine charity raffle.

The initial show was run with showjumping classes, but the series has now expanded to dressage to music and best turned out, with mounted games also on the cards. Competitions take place across the UK every weekend and the team also visits schools, hosts parties, offers equipment hire, and attends country shows and fairs.

Children of all ages enjoy the competitions, from three up to 18, and many of them also ride real ponies.

“We cater for neurodiversity as many of our children have autism or ADHD,” Zoë continued. “Our company ethos is friendliness and kindness and we welcome nervous and novice individuals. Every child gets a rosette in every class.

“We have volunteer children to help the newcomers and lots of friendships are forged at every event, for both the children and the adults. The people we have met are lovely, as are the children.

“The youngsters never stop running and jumping all day. It is such a lovely, healthy and wholesome pastime.”

For more information and how to take part, visit hobby-horses.co.uk

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