What is this WTF two-legged horse championship?

What is this WTF two-legged horse championship?

Happy as a Finn. For the fifth year in a row, Finland was designated in March the happiest country in the world according to the very serious study of the World Happiness Report published by the UN. Swimming in happiness, the Finns are also known to be a little crazy. “Humans in general are a little crazy, in a touching way, and the Finns even more, perhaps, than the others”, recognized the Finnish writer Arto Paasilinna, who died in 2018, in an interview granted at AFP.

But madness is sometimes good. It was in Finland that air guitar, or the art of stirring air, took off in the mid-1990s. In the same spirit, Finnish teenage girls have developed a passion in recent years for hobby-horsing, a discipline consisting of riding but without a horse, replaced by a simple stick horse.

A world championship was created in 2018 in Vendée

Sniffing out the good big delirium, Philippe Maindron, a Vendéan organizer of offbeat events, imported the concept to France. In September 2018, several dozen teams took part in the first two-legged horse world championship in Les Herbiers. The following year, Xavier Tréhorel took part in the competition. “I, who am an absolute fan of Monty Python, loved this burlesque and wacky side,” he says.

At the two-legged horse championship, disguises are compulsory. – DAMIEN MEYER / AFP

With the agreement of Philippe Maindron, the director of the Rire et faire rire troupe based in Hillion (Côtes-d’Armor) has obtained the green light to organize a regional championship in Brittany. Postponed three times because of the Covid, the event will finally take place this Saturday in the prestigious setting of the Lamballe national stud farm. Originally a deposit of royal stallions, the stud farm will this time host horses of a completely different style.

Nine teams and three events

For this first two-legged horse championship in Brittany, nine teams of six riders each will line up in three events: the epic race, a team obstacle course; whinnying with a member of the team who will have to imitate the cry of the horse; and finally the dressage resumption, “the queen event of the competition”, each team having to perform a choreography with free and imposed figures. “It’s both humorous, artistic but also sporty because it’s very physical, casually”, underlines Xavier Tréhorel.

The dressage test where each team must present a choreography is the queen event of the discipline.
The dressage test where each team must present a choreography is the queen event of the discipline. – DAMIEN MEYER / AFP

Ready to put on his disguise and get on his stick horse, Yann will be there with his Super Depraved Unicorns (LSD) team. “We know more about depravity than horse riding, but we’re starting to get a little stuck now,” he smiles. For several weeks, the troop of riders dressed in a multicolored tutu has been rehearsing its scales and choreography on the beach. “We do it mainly to have fun but we go there anyway to win with the hope of winning the title”, continues the rider.

The first three in the Brittany championship will also win their ticket for the next world championship to be held next year. Something to neigh with pleasure.

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