If you're looking for a new fast-paced and exciting sport to take up on horseback, then you'll definitely want to consider horseball.
Have a need for speed? Are you highly competitive? Do you love being a member of a team, and do you have seamless communication with your horse? Then horseball might be the sport for you. This lesser-known sport is primarily played in Europe, but don't be fooled - it's fast, competitive, and requires excellent athleticism and skill from both the horse and the rider.
Horseball is like a combination of polo and basketball, with a little rugby thrown in. Two teams of four riders and horses face off, trying to get the ball into nets on the opposite sides of the ring.
The ball is a large ball which has six handles on it. Riders can toss and throw the ball back and forth to each other, while other riders can try to grab the ball away. They ride down the field before throwing it into the goal. If the ball is dropped, riders pick it up by leaning down off of their moving horses and grabbing the ball from the ground.
Take a look at this video to get a better sense for the game.
For a horse and rider to succeed in horseball, the horse needs to be well-trained and the rider must be skilled and have excellent balance. The horse needs to respond to the rider's legs more than relying on the reins for cues in direction, since the rider will often be holding the ball with one hand.
Horses must be agile and able to turn, stop, and accelerate quickly. They also need to be strong enough to balance their rider's weight when the rider is leaning off of their side.
Does horseball sound like the sport for you? If you live in Europe, you're in luck and may be able to find some clubs which can help you get started. It may be more difficult to take up the sport in America, but check out the American Horseball Association to see if there are any players near you.