Watch out, MLS — America’s Equine Soccer League is here and ready to take the sport to a whole new level.
Soccer is the third most played sport in the U.S. Horseback riding is not. Why not join our forces for good?
Well, you can’t exactly say horse soccer is sweeping the nation. It’s far more obscure than eventing, or dressage or even showjumping.
But looks pretty darn fun.
According to America’s Equine Soccer League horse soccer originated from natural horsemanship training which often uses a large, inflatable ball as a desensitizing tool. Teams vary in size depending on the size of the arena or field being used for play.
The goal (ha ha) is the essentially same as soccer’s –get the ball into the opposite team’s goal–though you don’t have to figure out all that pesky on-sides/off-sides business. And the players fall down a LOT less often than human soccer players.
Horse soccer even has its own David Beckham, according to the Missoulian–a spotted Saddlebred named Zorba.
The sport appears to mostly be spreading across Western and Midwestern states, but it’s easy enough to start to learn the sport–all you need is a giant inflatable ball (usually 40 inches or more in diameter) and a horse. Now, you may be thinking–are you insane? That ball is a giant horse-eating demon!
It will take some time, and you need to introduce the ball slowly and calmly. Some horses take to the ball immediately…
…while others are more skittish. This video is a good example of how to increase a skittish horse’s confidence with the ball–though you can substitute using treats with a “Good boy/girl” or a clicker.
Once your horse becomes a ball-chasing fool, you’re ready to try the same exercises under saddle, and to start looking for a horse soccer league to play in! To start your own official league, you can contact America’s Equine Soccer League.