Horseball: the equestrian sport that promises to revolutionize Argentina

Horseball: the equestrian sport that promises to revolutionize Argentina
Horseball: the equestrian sport that promises to revolutionize Argentina

Horseball is an international equestrian sport. Four players play per side in order to score a goal in a hoop that is located at the headers. EFE/ Elena Domingo/ Provided by the Argentine Horseball Association (AAH)

Imagine the excitement of a game that combines equestrian skill with team strategy, where every pass, every turn and every goal becomes a coordinated dance between rider and horse.

That is horseball, a discipline that, although not so well known in the country, is ready to steal the hearts of lovers of adrenaline and elegance on four legs. 2025 Argentina will host the Horseball World Cup, which for the first time in its history will be held outside Europe. The time has come to grab the reins and gallop into the world of this passionate sport.

“Horseball is an international equestrian sport. Four players play per side in order to score a goal in a hoop that is located at the headers,” he explains. Pablo Segovia, president of the Argentine Horseball Association.

While this may sound simple, the reality is a spectacle full of speed, precision and teamwork. lThe matches are played in arenas up to 70 meters long, with two 10-minute periods, where each team, made up of six players, takes turns being on the field with only one horse per player.

Pablo Segovia, president of the Argentine Horseball Association

Horseball has a fascinating lineage, being direct descendant of our national sport: Duck. In the 70s, a group of French people were so impressed with the Duck that they took it to Europe. However, space limitations and high costs led to the game being adapted, thus creating Horseball. In this sport, each player can only use one horse per game, forming a pairing that is the key to success on the field.

One of the main differences with the Duck is that the player carrying the ball must make a pass within 10 seconds and for a score to be valid, at least three passes must be made between three of the four players on the field.

Besides, Passes are made with both hands, as in rugby, and players can pick up the ball from both sides of the horse. All of this adds a layer of complexity and emotion that makes horseball a unique experience.

One of the main differences with the Pato is that the player carrying the ball must make a pass within 10 seconds and for a goal to be valid, at least three passes must be made between three of the four players on the field -Picture taken February 9, 2020. REUTERS/Vladimir Pirogov

There is no doubt: it remains to be discovered even more; play it; adopt it to our tradition. But despite being a relatively new sport to us, it is quickly gaining ground. The Argentine Horseball Association, founded in 2022, is dedicated to developing and promoting this sport. “We are working on approaching different equestrian clubs and cities to affiliate players individually.. They, over time, will bring Horseball to their communities,” explains Segovia.

It has been described as a hybrid between rugby, basketball and, obviously, Pato, but its identity is already marked and it walks, trot and gallops across Latin American soils. “It is still difficult to see in the country all the potential that the world built around this sport attracts, but horseball is not only a game: it is a door to many business opportunities. From tourism to the production of leather goods and equestrian services, it creates a vibrant ecosystem full of possibilities”says Segovia.

Although there are still no players who make a living exclusively from this sport, many travel around the world teaching and spreading it, creating an international network of horseball enthusiasts.

One of the main differences with Pato is that the player carrying the ball must make a pass within 10 seconds and for a goal to be valid, at least three passes must be made between three of the four players on the field. February 9, 2020. Picture taken February 9, 2020. REUTERS/Vladimir Pirogov

The excitement is in the air, as Argentina prepares to host the Horseball World Cup in March 2025. “It is a huge honor and a great commitment. It is the first time that a world championship has been organized outside of Europe, and everyone will have their eyes on Argentina,” says Segovia with a mixture of pride and anticipation.

In the old continent this sport has a longer history and the passion for it is spread across several countries. Carles Vilá Fernández, player of the Spanish national horseball team, has this sport in his blood and the 2025 World Cup is already on the horizon. “I started playing horseball when I was 10 years old. My parents wanted me to practice a sport with values, and since I liked horses, they supported my decision,” says Carles.

Regarding training, he adds: “We train two days a week and dedicate three to four days to dressage to keep both the rider and the horse in optimal condition.”

CARLES VILÁ FERNÁNDEZ HORSEBALL PLAYER OF THE SPANISH NATIONAL TEAM

Regarding equine breeds, Carles clarifies that the most used for this practice are English thoroughbred and Anglo Arabian. “They are optimal for their speed, resistance and agility. And in Europe we follow a strict rule: a Horseball horse cannot start playing until it is five years old. This ensures that the horse is physically mature and properly trained,” he comments.

In Spain there are approximately 600 federated players, and although it is still an amateur sport, the passion and dedication of the players are undeniable. “Our expectation is to win. It will be difficult, but Spain always wants the gold medal,” she says with determination.

Horseball is ready to gallop strongly in the country, and the 2025 World Cup will be a perfect opportunity to fall in love with this game. The combination of speed, strategy and the unique connection between player and steed promises to capture the emotion of all Argentines and dream that next year will find us inventing songs, filling the stands and, if we do well, shouting the famous “oooole” .

 
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