Horse Soccer — The Natural Way to Play
Horse Soccer is quickly gaining popularity! Why wouldn’t it? It’s a great way to get together with your horsey friends and have fun. It’s a wonderful activity that promotes horse and rider working together using concentration and focus while having a terrific time.
However, as natural horsemanship advocates, we believe Horse Soccer should be much more than just a competition. No yanking, cranking and kicking horses (often scared or stressed), to accomplish a goal of winning. Instead this activity should put principle to purpose once a basic foundation is in place, to strengthen a bond of trust and communication between horse and human, and become a way to support each other in the natural horsemanship journey.
Here are some suggestions to get you started in the “natural way to play”.
The following suggested rules are just guidelines and this training task can be tailored to suit your individual needs and training level.
The only hard fast rules are:
- BE SAFE. Don’t let competitiveness override safety.
- HAVE FUN! Don’t get too serious-laughter is your friend.
Prepare For Your Game — What you need
Large, durable ball such as the EquiSpirit™ 40” design balls are available through our online store
- Field and Goal markers. We suggest traffic cones that are soft and safe
- Set up the playing field. This can be an inside or outside arena or even a level, safe pasture.
- Size depends on your need and availability; however 75’ by 150’ is ideal.
- Goals are placed at each end; width depending on the needs and experience of players. 12’ wide for advanced teams, up to 25’ wide for newbies.
Playing the Equine Soccer™ Game
The number of horse/rider players is up to you. It can be just one against one or up to eight on each team. If playing with multiple riders/horses, often one goal keeper for each team is used.
Again, this is up to your individual needs.
- 20 minute game with (2) 10 minute halves
- 30 minute game with (2) 15 minute halves
Ensure you schedule a short break between halves for rest, water, and strategy planning.
The ball can be moved by the horse by pushing with his nose or foot or kicked by the rider.
STARTING THE GAME
The ball is placed in center field and initiated at that point.
The non-scoring team will be given possession in front of their goal upon scoring. Once they pass the halfway field mark, play begins.
OUT OF BOUNDS
If ball goes out of bounds, it is thrown in by an unmounted person or referee.
Suggestions for a great Equine Soccer™ game
- Ensure your horse has a good foundation of training before playing. Remember, you are putting principle to purpose which means you must have that principle intact first.
- Introduce and familiarize your horse with the ball BEFORE attempting to play the game. Do this first on the ground before mounted. Don’t force a scared horse which can result in injury.
- Make your focus more on the relationship with your horse rather than winning the game. Refrain from aggressive handling which should be grounds for dismissal.
- Remember, you are playing at your own risk. Equine activities are inherently dangerous in any form.