News » blog

World Equestrian Games – Horseball?

While the World Cup may be over, for many that was not the highlight of this year’s world class competition. In a few short weeks the very best of equestrian talent and their fans from around the world will descend on Normandy, France to enjoy the World Equestrian Games.

Prior to 1990, each different equestrian discipline held its own separate world championship. However, a desire to create a platform for all of the Fédération Equestre Internationale sports spurred the creation of the games, first held at the Olympic Stadium in Stockholm, Sweden. Games were then held in The Hague, Netherlands; Rome, Italy; Jerez de Frontera, Spain; Aachen, Germany; and most recently, leaving Europe for the first time, in 2010, in Lexington, Kentucky.

Designed to be a celebration of the horse and the finest equestrianism the world has to offer, the games are held every four years, halfway between the summer Olympics, and run over two weeks. Aside from the disciplines themselves, they work to showcase the culture and art that the horse has influenced in the form of demonstrations, ceremonies, and education to connect the spectators, athletes, and local people.

Athletes will compete for world titles in 8 disciplines, with two additional exhibitions. The sports range from the well-known, like show jumping, dressage, and eventing (the three Olympic sports), reining, and endurance to more obscure like driving, para dressage, and vaulting. This year, the exhibitions will be of polo, and the lesser known horseball. Horseball has been likened to the game Quidditch, featured in the Harry Potter novels, and is reminiscent of a rugby- basketball hybrid played on horseback with a ball that has leather handles which teams try to get through net goalposts at the end of the fields. Horseball, which is most popular in France, is seeking a place in the next Olympics and inclusion in future World Equestrian Games so it will be an exciting display.

Of those disciplines being awarded titles, vaulting is one of the most unique. Individuals and teams complete gymnastic-esque theatrical routines on horseback to music. It originates from ancient roman military exercises, was included in circuses in the 12th century, and was adopted as the official equestrian discipline of Germany after the Second World War.

All in all, 76 countries will participate in the games at seven different competition venues in Normandy from August 23rd to September 7th. Follow the games at, and feel free to channel your FIFA world cup enthusiasm into cheering for the USA, which is in second place in the historic medal count 37 medals behind Germany who has 72. If the games get you excited about creating your own equestrian destination, please contact us at for ideas and assistance.


Photos: Finale du championnat de France de Horseball 2010 à Nancy (France) by Savant-fou

Vlag Equestrian Vaulting, Source: Catherina2

Steffan Peters Source: Phil Denton

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.