There are ten disciplines recognized by the International Federation for Equestrian Sports, and today we’ll look at one you may not be familiar with: horseball!
Imagine a soccer ball with harnesses…
Basic horseball is played between two teams of four players. The ball used is a soccer ball inside a 6-handled harness. To score, a team must make three passes between three different players and can then score in a hoop goal, which resembles a basketball hoop turned on its side.
Defense entails using your horse to block or out-maneuver opponents, as well as grappling the ball away from opposing players by pulling alongside them. If the ball is dropped, any player can pick it up, so long as you are traveling in the same direction the play was, to avoid collisions.
Horseball circa 1700
Horseball was invented as the game of pato in Argentina in the 1700s, although it was outlawed almost a century later due to the dangerous nature of the game. The original version of the game was also played with a live duck instead of a ball! Horseball resurfaced in the 1900s and became regulated. Safety rules were put in place to avoid dangerous collisions as well as injuries to animals.
Although horseball is most popular in Europe, there are also branches of the sport in Israel, Pakistan, Cayman Islands, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, as well as right here in the U.S. The sport combines exciting attributes from other sports, such as the riding ability of polo, the raw strength of rugby, and the scoring style of basketball.
For more information on the sport of horseball, visit the International Horseball Federation’s website.