Horseball is a game played on horseback where a ball is handled and points are scored by shooting it through a hoop with a diameter of 1m. The sport is like a combination of polo, rugby, and basketball. It is one of the ten disciplines officially recognized by the International Federation for Equestrian Sports.

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Horseball game


The sport's predecessor, pato, originated in Argentina in the early 1700s. It was outlawed in 1790 due to high mortality among players. In 1941 the Federacion Argentina de Pato was created. In 1953 was declared as Argentina's national game. The name of the game "pato" derives from the use of a live duck instead of the six-handled ball which is used in the modern sport. The game as its known today, including the use of a ball instead of an animal, was defined in the 1930s. It gained success and has spread across Europe and overseas. The International Horseball Federation has eighteen members including eight outside of Europe: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Kyrgyzstan and Mexico.[1]

Rules of play

The basic rules involve a team of 4 players (plus 2 substitutes if necessary) making a minimum of 3 passes between 3 different players of their team and then scoring a goal through a vertical hoop goal. The game is played on a soft, non slip surface, usually sand. The pitch is rectangular, approximately 65m x 25m.

A match begins with a pick up, the rules for the first pick up are simple; the horse has to be cantering (or at a trot when the teams are of a much younger category, usually when the players are less than 13 years of age). The opposing team can defend by preventing them from being able to score by either pushing opponents out of the playing area using their horse's weight or by getting alongside a player and grabbing the ball from the attacker. In this situation, each rider must remain seated in the saddle; if a player leaves the saddle they will give away a penalty. If both stay seated and the defender manages to keep hold of the ball for 3 seconds then their team earns a penalty.

Simple tactics of the game involve the attacking team going towards goal crossing paths as this method helps to manoeuvre the defence and create space for attacking team members to take advantage of. Players can return 'home' if they feel an attack is failing and can cross past each other offloading the ball to form another attack. This method is quite often used because a defender trying to get the ball will usually follow the player with the ball and are no longer a threat once the ball has been passed and is travelling in the opposite direction.

Palla per horseball
The ball, with its typical six handles
Horseball ramassage 13 04 2009
Ramassage, i.e.: picking up the ball

When the ball is dropped or falls to the ground, anyone can pick it up so long as they are travelling in the same direction as play was when the ball was dropped. This is to avoid any riders coming head on whilst someone is picking up and to prevent a collision. Whilst picking the ball up during the game the player must not come to a stand still.

International competitions

There are several international competitions organized by the International Horse-Ball Federation: the European Championship, the World Championship, and the clubs FIHB Champions League

The European Senior Championship is the older international tournament, the first was in 1992 in Paris. This is a mixed-sex teams tournament. There have been seventeen editions of this tournament with Saint-Lô 2013 (France), being the latest. France is the only national team to have won this tournament, the Portuguese team has the most Silver, and Belgium the most Bronze. Currently the titles are: Gold for France, Silver for Spain and Bronze for Portugal.

The European Lady Championship is the female only tournament, the first was in 2003 in Abano Terme 2003 (Italy). There have been eight editions of this tournament with Saint-Lô 2013 (France), being the latest. France is again the only national team to have won this tournament, tied for most silver are Belgium, Germany and Spain, and tied with the most bronze are Belgium, Great Britain and Spain. Currently the titles are: Gold for France, Silver for Spain and Bronze for Belgium.

The European Under-16 Championship is the youth tournament with mixed-sex teams, the first was in 2004 in Lamotte-Beuvron 2004 (France). There have been ten editions of this tournament with Saint-Lô 2013 (France), being the latest. France have been beaten to the gold twice by Spain in this tournament but still have the most golds. Spain have most silver and Italy have most bronze. Currently the titles are: Gold for France, Silver for Portugal and Bronze for Spain.

The World Championship (senior mixed teams), has been held twice. The first was at Ponte de Lima in 2008. The teams that played in the championship were Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Portugal, Spain. This was won by France, Spain got Silver, and Portugal Bronze. The second edition was held in 2012 in Montpellier and the team competing were, Algeria, Argentina, Belgium, France, Great Britain, Portugal, Spain. The results were France with Gold, Spain got Silver, and Portugal Bronze.

The club level competition organized by the International Horseball Federation is the FIHB Chambions League. This is competed between the top club from the four highest ranked European nations. This competition began in 2007 in Stockholm, Sweden, and was won by Chambly Horse-Ball (from France), the Portuguese team Sporting Clube de Portugal CEJC got Silver and Caramel from Belgium got Bronze. There have been 7 editions of this competition and

In 2010 was held in Portugal the first Four Nations Cup won by the National French team, Portugal got silver and Spain got bronze. [2]

See also

  • Pato, an earlier Argentine sport from which horseball is derived


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-03-19. Retrieved 2014-03-19.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

External links

British Equestrian Federation

The British Equestrian Federation is the national governing body of equestrian sport in Great Britain and represents the country at the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI).

British Horseball Association

The British Horseball Association is the governing body and organising organisation for the equestrian sport of horseball. The association is a member of the Federation of International Horseball and in the UK is one of the 16 organisations which form part of the British Equestrian Federation.

Carriage driving

Carriage driving is a form of competitive horse driving in harness in which larger two or four wheeled carriages (often restored antiques) are pulled by a single horse, a pair, tandem or a four-in-hand team.

In competitions the driver and horse(s) have to complete three tests including Dressage, Marathon and Obstacle Driving. The International Federation for Equestrian Sports oversees International Shows. The FEI Driving rules are followed in these competitions which aim to protect the welfare of the horse and also ensure fairness in competitions.Pleasure competitions also have classes which are judged on the turnout, neatness or suitability of the horse(s) and carriage.

English riding

English riding is a form of horse riding seen throughout the world. The term is a mis-leading portmanteau because many equestrian countries like Germany, France, Italy or Spain have used the same style of riding, with variations, for centuries. There are many variations, but all feature a flat English saddle without the deep seat, high cantle or saddle horn seen on a Western saddle nor the knee pads seen on an Australian Stock Saddle. Saddles within the various so-called English disciplines are all designed to allow the horse the freedom to move in the optimal manner for a given task, ranging from classical dressage to horse racing. English bridles also vary in style based on discipline, but most feature some type of cavesson noseband as well as closed reins, buckled together at the ends, that prevents them from dropping on the ground if a rider becomes unseated. Clothing for riders in competition is usually based on traditional needs from which a specific style of riding developed, but most standards require, as a minimum, boots; breeches or jodhpurs; a shirt with some form of tie or stock; a hat, cap, or equestrian helmet; and a jacket.

English riding is an equestrian discipline with many different styles, however, at the most basic level, most versions require riders to use both hands on the reins, rather than just one hand, as is seen in western riding. Riders generally "post" or "rise" to the trot (rising and sitting in rhythm with each stride). The "posting trot" is used most often in a working or extended trot, although there are also times when English riders may sit the trot; the "sitting trot" is most often used to ride collected forms of the trot seen in dressage, show hack and hunt seat equitation competition. The posting trot was an English invention which did not take on in other countries until the 19th century. It is said that Napoleon's campaigns from Russia to Spain were all done at a sitting trot.

Equestrian Federation of Pakistan

The Equestrian Federation of Pakistan (EFP) is the national governing body to promote and develop Equestrian sports in Pakistan.The federation is affiliated with:

International Federation for Equestrian Sports

Pakistan Olympic Association and

Pakistan Sports Board

Equestrian at the Summer Paralympics

Paralympic equestrian competition is a Para-equestrian event that consists of dressage. It has been part of the Summer Paralympic Games since 1996.

Equine Canada

Equestrian Canada (French: Canada Équestre), formerly known as Equine Canada and commonly known by its acronym, EC, is Canada’s comprehensive national governing body for equestrian sport. It is the executive branch of Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic equestrian teams; the national association and registry of Canadian equestrian athletes; the national regulatory body for equestrian coaches, competition organizers, and judges; and the national federation of Canadian horse breeders and Canadian breed registries.

In this role, EC governs Canada’s official relations with the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI), as well as Canada’s equestrian relations with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee. It also governs relations between the government of Canada and Canadian equestrian athletes and professionals.

Equine agility

Equine agility or horse agility is a sport similar to dog agility but using horses. Horses are asked to navigate an obstacle course with guidance from a human handler on the ground. At lower levels, the horse may be guided with a lead rope but at higher levels the horse works without a lead and in some cases, without a halter. There also are competition levels where horses compete in the "wild" — outside of an enclosed arena, and competitions where horses are not judged live but rather via video sent in by their handlers. Any equine of any size may compete in agility, including miniature horses, donkeys, mules and draft horses.In live competition, handlers are required to wear an equestrian helmet and cannot use whips or sticks. The horse is only allowed, at most, to wear a halter, lead rope and may wear leg protection such as splint boots. The lead rope must be loose and the handler cannot pull on it but must remain within a designated position with their horse. Competition usually consists of a course of eight or more obstacles. Examples of obstacles may include tunnels, jumps, a seesaw, passing through a curtain, weaving between poles or cones, passing through or over poles, branches, gates, hoops, water, or tarps; entering a trailer; rolling a ball, backing between two poles, stepping onto an object, standing still, carrying a light load, crossing a bridge, navigating a small maze or labyrinth, crossing over an A-frame, and so on. Courses are often timed, particularly at higher levels.

FEI World Equestrian Games

The FEI World Equestrian Games are the major international championships for equestrianism, and are administered by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI). The games have been held every four years, halfway between sets of consecutive Summer Olympic Games, since 1990. Prior to that year, all ten of the FEI's individual disciplines held separate championships, usually in separate countries. The modern WEG runs over two weeks and, like the Olympics, the location rotates to different parts of the world. Riders and horses competing at WEG go through a rigorous selection process, and each participating country sends teams that have distinguished themselves through competition as the nation's best in each respective discipline. At the 2010 Games, 57 countries were represented by 800 people and their horses.

The WEG gradually expanded to include eight of the FEI's ten disciplines: combined driving, dressage, endurance riding, eventing, paraequestrianism, reining, show jumping, and vaulting. The FEI's two remaining regional disciplines, horseball and tent pegging, still conduct independent championships.

The 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Kentucky marked a series of firsts in WEG history: the first time WEG were held outside Europe; the first time that championships for eight FEI disciplines were held at one location (the Kentucky Horse Park); and the first time WEG had a title sponsor (in this case the animal health and nutrition group corporation Alltech, headquartered in the nearby city of Nicholasville). Permanent upgrades added to the Kentucky Horse Park leading up to the event included the completion of a 6,000 seat, climate-controlled indoor arena and completion of a 7,500 seat outdoor stadium.The Tryon International Equestrian Center, near Mill Spring, North Carolina, is the location of the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games.

Horse show

A horse show is a judged exhibition of horses and ponies. Many different horse breeds and equestrian disciplines hold competitions worldwide, from local to the international levels. Most horse shows run from one to three days, sometimes longer for major, all-breed events or national and international championships in a given discipline or breed. Most shows consist of a series of different performances, called classes, wherein a group of horses with similar training or characteristics compete against one another for awards and, often, prize money.

International Federation for Equestrian Sports

The International Federation for Equestrian Sports (French: Fédération Équestre Internationale, FEI) is the international governing body of equestrian sports.

The FEI headquarters are in Lausanne, Switzerland. An FEI code of conduct protects the welfare of the horses from physical abuse or doping.

Linhó, Sintra

Linhó is an affluent village in São Pedro de Penaferrim parish of Sintra, on the Portuguese Riviera, famed for its resorts, Michelin star restaurants, and its two prominent gated communities, Quinta da Penha Longa and Quinta da Beloura. Linhó is home to a large expatriate community, the only American school in Portugal (Carlucci American International School of Lisbon), and has hosted a Bilderberg Meeting.Linhó is known for its gourmet culinary scene, including multiple Michelin starred restaurants, artisanal food shops, fine dining, and events like Christmas markets and its annual Artisinal Beer Festival.

List of equestrian sports

Equestrian Sports are sports that use horses as a main part of the sport. This usually takes the form of the rider being on the horse's back, or the horses pulling some sort of horse-drawn vehicle.


Pato, also called juego del pato (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈxweɣo ðel ˈpato], literally "duck game"), is a game played on horseback that combines elements from polo and basketball. It is the national sport of Argentina since 1953.Pato is Spanish for "duck", as early games used a live duck inside a basket instead of a ball. Accounts of early versions of pato have been written since 1610. The playing field would often stretch the distance between neighboring estancias (ranches). The first team to reach its own casco (ranch house) with the duck would be declared the winner.

Pato was banned several times during its history because of the violence—not only to the duck; many gauchos were trampled underfoot, and many more lost their lives in knife fights started in the heat of the game. In 1796, a Catholic priest insisted that pato players who died in such a way should be denied Christian burial. Government ordinances forbidding the practice of pato were common throughout the 19th century.

During the 1930s, pato was regulated through the efforts of ranch owner Alberto del Castillo Posse, who drafted a set of rules inspired by modern polo. The game gained legitimacy, to the point that President Juan Perón declared pato to be Argentina's national game in 1953.In modern pato, two four-member teams riding on horses fight for possession of a ball which has six conveniently-sized handles, and score by throwing the ball through a vertically positioned ring (as opposed to the horizontal rim used in basketball). The rings have a 100 cm (3.3 ft) diameter, and are located atop 240 cm (7.9 ft) high poles. A closed net, extending for 140 cm (4.6 ft), holds the ball after goals are scored.

The winner is the team with most goals scored after regulation time (six 8-minute "periods").

The dimensions of the field are: length 180 to 220 m (196.9 to 240.6 yd), width 80 to 90 m (87 to 98 yd). The ball is made of leather, with an inflated rubber chamber and six leather handles. Its diameter is 40 cm (15.7 in) handle-to-handle and its weight is 1050 to 1250 g (2.3 to 2.8 lbs).

The player that has control of the pato (i.e. holds the ball by a handle) must ride with his right arm outstretched, offering the pato so rival players have a chance of tugging the pato and stealing it. Not extending the arm while riding with the pato is an offense called negada (refusal).

During the tug itself, or cinchada, both players must stand on the stirrups and avoid sitting on the saddle, while the hand not involved in the tugging must hold the reins. The tug is usually the most exciting part of the game.

Pato is played competitively and also by amateurs, mostly in weekend fairs which usually include doma (Argentine rodeo). Its status as the national game of Argentina has been challenged by association football, which is much more widespread. While virtually the entire population of the country are avid football fans and players, it is estimated that 90% of Argentines have not seen a pato match, and there are only a few thousand players of the game. In light of this, a bill was introduced in the Argentine legislature in 2010 to elevate football to the status of national sport and reduce pato to a traditional sport. Defenders of pato's official status point out that it is a completely indigenous game, while football was imported.

Pato is similar to the game of horseball played in France, Portugal, and other countries.

Polo pony

A polo pony is the term used for a horse used in the game of polo. They may be of any breed or combination of breeds, though many have a significant amount of Thoroughbred breeding. They are called "ponies", but that is a reference to their agile type rather than their size; almost all are horse-sized. They require considerable training and ongoing conditioning, and because each rider requires several horses in a single match, this can be a considerable expense. For competition, polo ponies have their manes roached and tails braided so that there is no danger of being tangled in the mallet.

Quinta da Beloura

Quinta da Beloura is an affluent gated community and golf resort located in Linhó, Sintra, on the Portuguese Riviera. The community is known for hosting numerous golf tournaments, tennis opens, and equestrian & dressage events, as well as for being the home of numerous famous personalities.

Scurry driving

Scurry driving is a fast-paced equestrian sport in which a pair of ponies pull a carriage around a course of cones in an attempt to get the fastest time. The full name of the sport is Double Harness Scurry Driving.


A shadbelly (North American English) is a type of riding coat worn in certain equestrian situations by fox hunting members, dressage riders, eventers (in the dressage phase of the higher levels), and occasionally by other hunt seat riders. Shadbellies are also standard attire for the show hack classes at certain breed shows in the United States and Canada.

This coat is considered an element of very formal riding attire, and its use is therefore reserved for the most formal forms of equestrianism. When used in the classic hunt, they should not be worn by youth riders, despite any trend or availability.

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