Ready for something new with your horse?
Maybe it’s time to think outside of the traditional disciplines. These three new horse sports aren’t necessarily brand-new, but none of these disciplines fit into the classic English/Western molds most of us are accustomed to. And that’s precisely the appeal for many riders!
Horseball: We talked about Horseball on this site back in February — Horseball is a hot new sport in Europe, Mexico, and Canada, and will be part of the World Equestrian Games in Normandy this August. The sport involves a soccer ball with handles, a basketball hoop, and a whole bunch of horses and riders vying to snag the ball and make a score. If you think you’ve seen some daring riding in polo, just wait until you’ve seen Horseball. Swinging halfway off a horse, with one’s head somewhere in the vicinity of one’s horse’s hooves, is a totally acceptable way to grab the ball and make that score. If you’re interested in making Horseball more common in the United States, visit their official site at fihb.net for more information.
Polocrosse: Looking for something a little more established? Polocrosse is played throughout the United States. This hybrid of polo and lacrosse is growing in popularity, with more than 40 clubs recognized by the American Polocrosse Association. The sport was originally nothing more than an exercise at an English riding school, teaching students better control of their horses. But a sporting couple from Australia, visiting England in 1938, saw the potential for polocrosse as a sport of its own. By the 1970s, polocrosse had become an international sport.
Unlike polo, which requires a string of horses, polocrosse only requires one horse, and safety is considered paramount. A match, with teams of three each, is typically four or six chukkas, each lasting about six to eight minutes. Each team has a goal-tender, an offense rider attempting to make goals, and a “swing” rider playing offense and defense in the center of the field. Polocrosse matches are popular with juniors and adults alike. To find out more and locate a nearby polocrosse club, visit Americanpolocrosse.org.
Competitive Trail: Perhaps speed and flinging a ball aren’t on your list of new horse sport requirements. What about trail riding? The American Competitive Trail Horse Association (ACTHA.us) offers trail riding with judged obstacles on their Competitive Trail Challenge(COC) events, as well as arena events with the ACTHA Obstacle Challenge.
The innovative COC events are not timed, offering riders the opportunity to display their horsemanship and trail horse suitability without racing the clock or conditioning for a grueling endurance ride. 6-8 mile trail rides with natural obstacles are open to groups–you can compete with your family or friends–offering a relaxing alternative to traditional horse showing.
Whether you want a big jolt of adrenaline or a quiet ride in the woods, these new horse sports are changing the way equestrians look at competitive riding. Which one will you try?