Horse Soccer is All the Rage

At least, among the quadrupedal set it’s all the rage. I heard about this on the CBC last week, and was mildly amused. Here’s an article on the emerging sport of hoof ball:

As the game began, six horses and riders trotted around on a bed of soft loose dirt inside a large white barn. The horses ran quickly to the ball, their ears straight up. Suddenly Randy Miller’s horse whacked the ball hard enough to send it bounding down the field on a fast break with other horses close behind. Moments later Miller — wearing a blue shirt that read “Warning: my horse kicks and scores” — did just that.

Here’s the official website, where you can buy horse soccer balls, get a training DVD and watch a movie (MOV) of the equine footballers in action.

The sport’s inventor apparently has Olympic aspirations. I’m all for it–let’s get rid of dressage and replace it with horse soccer.


  1. Hey, quit pickin’ on dressage! As someone who used to ride regularily until moving to the city, I’d be a very happy person if I could even see it on TV once in a while. As far as I’m concerned, an elegant, coordinated high-level dressage routine beats the hell out of figure skating ANY day. It’s like watching horses float.

  2. Kirsten: I wouldn’t debate the question of aesthetic value of dressage–some people like horses, some people like skaters.

    I would argue about the athleticism involved. As ice dance is to figure skating, dressage is to show jumping (or whatever the official name is). As such, both dressage and ice dance should be dropped from the Olympics.

  3. Hmmmm. The issue here is that if you’re doing dressage right, it should *look* like there’s no effort involved at all. In Olympic-level dressage, you simply can’t see most of the signals that the rider is giving the horse; it seems like complete unity.

    I’ve heard time and time again, “oh, it’s not that much of a sport, the horse is doing all the work”. Sure, the horse is the true athlete here – dressage asks the horse to collect themselves and move in a manner that is extremely demanding. But the rider must have excellent balance, strength and muscle tone to be able not so much to control the horse, but to stay balanced, flow with the motion of the horse, avoid tensing up, and keep from interfering with the horse’s back.

    And hell, you try making a one-ton animal do something it really doesn’t want to do… 😉

  4. actually, in racing, the horse does all the running, but a government survey some years ago showed that the jockeys were the fittest of all athletes…… a sometime rider for a lot of my life, i can tell you the horse does not do all the work.

  5. All sports with horses is a combination of trust and discipline between a man and an animal. You have to communicate with a 600 kg heavy animal, which normaly likes to escape within unfamiliar or dangerous situations. The horse doesn’t do any “tricks” by itself!

    In my blog you find “pushball (on horseback)”, in Europe they play this sport since 1904. Last year I found in Germany Rules dating from 1928! It’s fun for children AND adults: for pony’s and horses. We play it in Rotterdam, 100 km from Amsterdam (Holland, Europe).

    Pushball is nearly the same as “horse soccer”. The ball should be at least breastbone high, in case of safety. Otherwise will the pushball get stuck under its belly or the horse will fall over it. Then you have a dangerous situation.

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