Joanna Rowe, 43, from Yarm, said the idea behind the Hobby Horse Competition Club originally came about through her daughter, Rosie, who has been riding hobby horses for years.

She added her daughter had nowhere to compete with hobby horses, and she hopes to see the activity become as popular in the playground as football.

She said there is “nowhere in the UK for the kids to compete” and added the club allows them to enjoy their passion.

Ms Rowe said the amount of children who want to be involved with the club is “overwhelming” and it has “gone from strength to strength.”

The Northern Echo: The red wall attraction Credit: HOBBY HORSE COMPETITION CLUB

She said: “It was Rosie’s idea, she’s ridden hobby horses for years and years, and she had nowhere to go compete on them.

“It’s huge in Finland, they have championships with 2,000 competitors a year. It’s massive over there, we followed it over there for years.

“It’s been really hard setting it up and the logistics of putting a show on with like 100 kids is crazy, but it’s overwhelming, the response.

“The kids are in tears when they’re winning rosettes, it’s amazing.

She said the club put on a ‘Hobby Horse of the Year’ show at Arena UK in Grantham, and added people from as far as Devon travel to their shows in the North East.

She added the activity is a great deal of fun and can also be massively important for mental health.

Ms Rowe added using a hobby horse does not seem as widely accepted in the UK, but says she wants to change the perception of the activity – adding that she hopes to get the activity recognised as a sport.

The club also have a ‘therapy pony’ called Magic who is often present at the shows, and any children attending will have the opportunity to see her.

The Northern Echo: Magic the Pony Credit: HOBBY HORSE COMPETITION CLUB

The club will also be carrying out visits to children’s care homes with Magic.

She said seeing children playing with hobby is common in places like Finland, where it is considered like any other toy.

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“It’s just as normal as having a football, nobody bats an eyelid,” she added.

“I’m absolutely on a mission to get this out there and accepted.

“If anybody hasn’t taken part in it before, just go along and try it. Give it a go, come and watch. Get a hobby horse, let them try it in the garden, and if they enjoy it, bring them to a show.”