Press release 207/2017
30 November 2017
ThisisFINLAND, Finland’s official country website, and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland will tomorrow launch a limited edition urban fashion collection to celebrate the courage and against-the-odds mentality that have come to define its newest craze: hobbyhorsing.
Hobbyhorsing has been sweeping the Nordic nation in recent years, with thousands of enthusiasts making and selling horses and riding them at events inspired by real equestrian disciplines such as dressage and show jumping.
Riding hobbyhorses has even taken the form of an organised sport, with the Hobbyhorse Championships held annually in Finland. The sport is estimated to have more than 10,000 followers in Finland alone.
To support the hobbyhorsing community, and the fans’ gutsy attitude, the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs worked with leading Finnish fashion labels IvanaHelsinki, Wwoollff, Tebian, Riski, Uhana Design and R-Collection to add a whole new level to the craze – by creating a limited edition urban fashion collection.
Designed under the banner of #BraveEnoughToRide, items from the limited edition collection will be made available on a pop-up webshop, www.braveenoughtoride.fi, each Friday leading up to Christmas, with the first items released on 1 December. The collection will be made available at production cost, with €1 per item sold donated to the hobbyhorsing community.
The Ministry, together with hobbyhorsing superstars Alisa Aarniomäki and Vilhelmiina Keskilä, is also launching a dedicated online toolbox, www.thehobbyhorse.fi. The site will be available in multiple languages (English, Russian, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Swedish, and Finnish) and is aimed at inspiring a new generation of hobbyhorsing enthusiasts. It will include, among other things, advice on how to build your own hobbyhorse and videos with tips about everything from jumping obstacles to performing proper dressage movements.
“Hobbyhorsing is huge in Finland,” says Petra Theman, Director of the Unit for Public Diplomacy at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. “Adults are often tempted to snicker at the phenomenon, but hobbyhorsing takes guts, and it isn’t as easy as you might think! We want to show that this sport is something really edgy and can be practiced all over the world. The toolbox came about because we want to give back to the hobbyhorse community and create a platform for people to learn about the community, the sport, and the art of hobbyhorsing.”
“A lot of hobbyhorse enthusiasts are still worried about how they’re seen, as many have faced some sort of bullying or ridicule,” says Vilhelmiina Keskilä, hobbyhorsing enthusiast. “That’s why I’m so excited about these products. They show that there’s nothing awkward or embarrassing about hobbyhorsing – quite the contrary. We should be proud of the phenomenon we’ve built.”
Viivi Huuska, the Finnish filmmaker who directed the short film that kicks off the campaign, says: “I want to show the whole world just how amazing these young people are and how unique their love for hobbyhorsing is. They have the courage to be themselves and everyone should notice that.”
Echoing her sentiments, Paola Ivana Suhonen, designer and founder of IvanaHelsinki, says: “Hobbyhorse girls are the future! These girls possess the courage and daring to do what they want and make their dreams come true. Ride on!”
Media contacts and interview requests: Petra Theman, Director of the Unit for Public Diplomacy, tel. +358 295 351 558
Photos, videos or other collateral: Emma Rispoli, Specialist, Country Branding, tel. +358 295 350 186.
The Foreign Ministry’s email addresses are in the format firstname.lastname@example.org.