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Getting Started

Equipement and basic training, all you need to know to get started

Team

To set up a team and start training, you need at least three players and horses, or ponies. With four players, you will be able to develop the most advanced collective actions.

When starting serious competition, you will appreciate to include in your team the six players and horses allowed. Then during matches, two of you can rest alternatively.

Choose your colors!

Each team has its own colors. Shirts, saddle pads, leg bandages are assorted to the team's colors. Choose your favourite colors with no restriction, we like colorfull teams on horseball fields!

orazur en rouge et noir bleu blanc rouge et or bleu blanc rouge violette

Equipment

I WILL ADD PICTURES SOON, MEANWHILE YOU CAN SEE PICTURES IN THE GALLERY

Horses

Horses need standard equipment with general purpose saddle, and a martingale, rigid or elastic. A breast collar can improve the stability of your saddle when you are picking up the ball.

All four legs are protected by over-reach boots and bandages. Bandages and saddle pads have the team's color.

Players

  • Riding gear

    Horseball players wear normal riding equipement, matching the team's colors. A white helmet is "horseball style".

  • Pick-up strap

    The pick-up strap binds the stirrups together under the horse's belly. It is used to pick up the ball from the ground.

    At first you can use a stirrup strap. It is not wonderfull as it is not easily adjustable, but it is an excellent spare solution. A specially made, adjustable, leather pick-up strap will be much more handy and durable.

  • Knee pads

    You may want to wear kneepads, as your knees will eventually touch other players' ones. You may use volleyball kneepads at first. Polo kneepads are ideal.

Ball

The ball is a size-4 football surrounded by a harness with 6 handles.

Although leather is much better, you can make cheap balls with synthetic strap. You need about 7 meters and some needle work. Read how to build such a ball.

Pitch

An official pitch is between 20-30 meters wide and 60-75 meters long. However horseball is played in any riding area. When possible we play horseball outside, and play inside only when the weather does not allow it.

  • Borders

    The small sides must be impassable to the horses. The long sides must be easily passable, ideally made of long inflatable rolls. Indoor the long sides may be the walls of the hall, if the door can be opened and closed quickly.

    Of course the ground must be clear of anything, like fences or other riding exercice items!

  • Baskets

    Baskets are a 1 meter diameter circle and have to be hooked vertically at 4.50 meters off the ground. A net will return the ball to the ground, and another net behind each goal will prevent the ball from going out of play.

    You may also considerate building removable baskets with light metalic transportable support.

  • Match pitch

    Additional equipment will be needed for matches:

    • score board
    • audio system
    • referee chair
    • referee flag

Training

Whatever you target, leisure horseball or high level competition, you need to train before entering the game. Yourself, and your horse. Many things are new for both of you. Your horse needs to accept the ball flying around, and accept to be in close contact with other horses. For most riders, the biggest challenge, may be the collective work.

First you will learn how to handle and pass the ball. Yes, you must use your two hands. It means that you must drop your reins. If you do not have deep enough seat, nor strong enough legs, it will show up very clearly. Horseball training, combined to proper dressage lessons, will help you a lot to improve it.

Sooner or later, the ball will fall on the ground. This will be a good opportunity to learn how to pick up the ball ...without dismounting! It looks impressive, but it is very easy to perform. There is a trick! Horseball players use a so-called "pickup strap", which links the stirrups below the horse's belly. If you place your legs correctly, and move your hips before your shoulders then the movement is very natural.

Finally you will work on basic and advanced horseball tactical schemes. You will learn to coordinate perfectly the actions within your team. This means that you need to develop a control of your speed and direction more accurate than ever.

When you are preparing for high level competition, horseball training is a long work, similar to dressage or show jumping competition preparation. Only this continually repeated work, always looking for perfection, will give you enough ease and self confidence leading to improvisation capacity, which makes the greatest teams.

A typical training could be:

  1. Riders warming up, team briefing and passes
  2. Horses warming up, usual warming up, with lateral works and transitions
  3. Team warming up, gentle passes, keeping the horses gathered
  4. Individual technics, passes, picking up, shoot at goal
  5. Game phases, attacks, defences, kick-off, line-out, P2, P3
  6. Short game, (optionally) about 5 minutes
  7. Horses cool down and care, usual care
  8. Training review, perfect during a team lunch/snack!

More about specific exercices and basic schemes to come. Stay tuned, or contact us!

Horses

» All horses vary in balance, speed, and ability but basic dressage schooling improves everything, including the rider. If a horse is broken in at 3 and ridden correctly, by the age of 5 it should be capable of performing pirouettes, counter canter, simple changes, and half pass, all of which are used during a game of Horseball. Older horses can be retrained to do the same.

» There is no short cut to schooling horses to this standard. Most riders do not have sufficient depth of seat or effective enough legs. These will only improve if firstly riders accept the need to improve and secondly if they actually do something to improve both their own ability and that of their horse. Even one dressage lesson a month can help.

» This is of course a long term plan which is particularly important for those people buying horses now to use for Horseball. However, just because your horse is not working at this level, it does not mean it cannot be used for Horseball; just be more careful about turns and transitions. But remember, schooling should be done at home, not during matches.

Extract from the British national rules, Appendix A,
″Recommandations for schooling and riding procedures for Horseball″