WEG and Horse-ball

by Matt

Get ready for equestrian excitement!

The 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) http://www.fei.org/fei/events/fei-weg  aren’t until August, but it’s time to plan the ultimate equestrian vacation now. That’s because tickets are already on sale — and 220,000 more tickets go on sale next month. That means more than half the passes available to WEG’s Normandy event will already be available by the beginning of March.

The 2014 WEG events include show jumping, dressage, eventing, driving, endurance, vaulting, reining, para-dressage, polo, and horse-ball. Wait… horse-ball?

Yes, horse-ball. This under-the-radar sport originated in Argentina, but was brought to France in the 1930s. It was adapted in the 1970s to create a sport somewhere between polo and rugby.

Think of horse-ball like polo, but without the mallet, and with a basketball-style hoop for scoring. A soccer ball fitted with six handles (for easier handling) is in play between horsemen who can do just about anything they want to get a score — except get off their horse. This makes for some amazing feats of horsemanship, especially when the ball is on the ground, between some horse hooves.

Horse-ball, like the other WEG disciplines, is recognized by the FEI. Could horse-ball, which is exciting, fast-paced, and kind of scary, one day be the hottest ticket at the Summer Olympics? It will have to gain in international popularity first. The Fédération Internationale de Horseball (FIHB) http://www.fihb.net/ has chapters around Europe and even in Mexico and Canada, but not in the United States.

Get your first taste of Horse-ball in Normandy this August. Along with the events we all know by heart, this is a big kick of adrenalin in a highly-disciplined world.

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