What Is Horseball? - Game Description
You might think that riding on a horse prevents the ability to play games. While this is true for many sports, there are many recognized equestrian sports which can only be played while riding a horse. Horseball is one of the most exciting and it appears to be gaining some popularity. Although this is not a game you will be able to play out in the yard with your friends, if our oneHOWTO article sparks your interest, you may look want to know more about what is horseball? We explain the game of horseball and its rules so you can have a better idea of what is needed to take part.
What is horseball?
Horseball is an equestrian sport, meaning it is a game which is played while riding a horse. While uniquely its own game, horseball does take elements from other sports including basketball, rugby and polo. It uses a ball which is the same dimensions as a soccer ball, but which is encased in a leather harness. Attached to the harness are usually six handles which the players use to pick up the ball.
The aim of the game is to put the ball through a vertically positioned ring at the opposing side of the pitch. As with rugby, football and basketball, the winning team is the one which scores the most goals or points.
The International Horse-Ball Federation (FIHB) brings together the different national federations of countries for competitions. There are also national horseball associations in some countries. In addition, this organization is in charge of managing and organizing international competitions between different countries.
For the basic objective of horseball, two teams of 4 players compete against each other. Each team has two reserve players. Participants must pick up the ball from the ground. Through a series of passes, they must throw the ball into vertically-placed baskets set at the ends of the playing field.
The history of horseball
Despite having an English name, the concept of modern horseball originated in south-western France. The French Riding Federation promoted equestrian games regulations in the 1970s with a more playful aspect and introduced the teaching of horsemanship, although horseball was already introduced in France during the 1930s.
This early incarnation was known as juego de pato or simply pato. It was originally very different in terms of gameplay and spirit. In fact, it was one of the most gruesome sports up to that point.
This is partly due to the face pato did not use a ball, but instead a live duck. The tuck was tossed around cruelly by the players and they raced between ranches to throw their duck in the opposing goal. Deaths occurred due to the rough state of play, but also due to the many fights which would break out as tensions mounted. It wasn't until the 1920s that the modern game started to take shape as the rules were changed to incorporate aspects of polo.
In 1977, the first French Equestrian Games Championships were created. In different countries, there are practices such as Afghan Buzkashi and Argentine pato. Pato is the a national sport of Argentina and its modern version is very similar to horseball.
Learn about the guidelines to other sports by finding out how large goal is in football.
The rules of horseball
Now you know the basics of horseball, you may want to have a better idea about its gameplay. This requires us looking into greater detail about the rules of the game. The following are the most important rules of horseplay:
- In each of the two teams, there is a captain position. This is the player who directs the entire gameplay of their team. They are also the person in charge of communicating with the referee whenever necessary. The captain is identified on the pitch by wearing a captain's armband.
- A game of horseball is divided into two halves of 10 minutes each, separated by a 3-minute break. In addition, each team has the option of a 30-second timeout in each part of the game.
- The matches are played on a rectangular pitch, with ideal measurements of 65 meters long and 25 meters wide (213' x 82').
- Before a goal can be scored, it is necessary to make 3 passes between different players. If the ball falls to the ground, the players of both teams must try to pick it up without getting off the horse at any time. To catch it, they can use a collection strap that is used to join the two stirrups.
- Possession of the ball cannot exceed 10 seconds in the hands of each player. If this time is exceeded, the referee will whistle the corresponding penalty.
- Horseball has three referees who are in charge of directing the game, ensuring the safety of horses and riders and enforcing all the rules of horseball. The first referee stands on a chair on one of the two bands, similar to how a tennis umpire stands. The other two referees are also on foot, one on each side of the pitch.
- To protect the horses and ensure their health, a veterinary control check is carried out before each match. During the course of the game, the vet has the power to stop it at any time and disqualify a horse if they determine that they are not in the right state to continue with the game.
- The welfare of the animal is paramount and supersedes any other requirements of the different stages of preparation and training. This is indicated in the code of conduct for the welfare of the horse included in the horseball regulations.
Horseball is a dangerous game if you do not respect it. Even good players can become injured, so it is a requirement that players must wear a riding helmet that is strapped at all times. Only long horse boots can be worn on the feet, although many players play with additional shin guards. Back protectors are also recommended.
Learn how to play sports with the right gear by reading how to wear glasses while playing sports.
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