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How To Play Horse Soccer

Updated on February 4, 2014

How To Play Horse Soccer

Playing horse soccer is a fun and exciting way to spend time with your horse and friends. Horse soccer is a great way to exercise and train your horse. Playing horse soccer will help the horse with speed, balance, agility and become more responsive to its rider, this is also a great way to help a rider learn as well. Horse soccer is great for riders and horses of all levels of experience and the rules of play can be adjusted for experience levels. Horse soccer is a relatively new sport in America following are some basic rules and guidelines to help you understand how to play horse soccer with your horse and friends.

Horse Soccer Playing Field

Set up of the Playing Arena

Horse soccer can be played in a average size riding arena that is approximately 225' x 100' . This will allow enough room for 2 teams consisting of 3 to 4 players per team, 1 goalie and 2 or 3 linesmen are allowed on the field during play. The playing area should be free of all rocks and any sharp objects. Teams should have a designated area on opposites sides for coaches and substitute players, substitutions can be made after goals or referee stops play.

Goals can be tall safety cones or plastic barrels that are set 20' apart and at a minimum of 15' in from the back of arena. Goals must not be secured to the ground , for safety purposes the goals need to be movable. The goals can be spaced closer together for more experienced riders and horses making it more difficult to score goal points.

How To Play Horse Soccer

Some Basic Rules To Follow

Play begins at mid-field with the opposing teams facing each other. Upon a signal from the referee the players will attempt to gain control of the ball and play begins. When a team scores a goal, their players must return to midfield and not challenge for the ball until the defending team has advanced the ball to mid-field. Once the ball reaches mid-field, play once again commences and the referee restarts the "game clock".

When horses are in control of the ball and dribbling it down field they must not be going any faster than a Largo (or "trot" for other breeds). Horses may walk, largo, trot or gallop while moving to other parts of the playing field, but no faster than a Largo or Trot while "dribbling" the ball, challenging for control of the ball, or in close contact with the ball.

If the ball goes behind the plain of the goal on a missed scoring opportunity, the offensive players must retreat back to mid-field and either the defending goalie or the team's player are allowed to bring the ball back in to the playing area, unopposed, before players may begin challenging for control of the ball.

Goalie may not go any further out from the goal than mid-field. He/she is not allowed to be an offensive player. Only one player (goalie) at a time may tend goal by maintaining a position within the goal. Other players may assist the goalie by blocking outside of the goal.

Offensive players may not block the goalie from defending the goal while in the "goalie's box" in front of the goal. Two offensive players may not occupy the defending "goalie's box" at the same time. Any such violation will result in possession of the ball being awarded to the defending team at mid-field. (NO ROUGHING THE GOALIE ALLOWED!!) Flagrant violations will result in the offending player being suspended for the remainder of the match with no substitute riders/horses allowed.

Offensive players, when attempting to score a goal, or after having successfully scored a goal, may not allow their horse to continue travel on into the mouth of the goal. Should even one hoof cross behind the line of the mouth of the goal, the point will not be allowed.

Should any rider fall off their horse or become injured in any way, all riders should stop right away.

Horse and Rider Rules of Conduct

Penalties and Punishments

Horses are naturally a herd animal and constantly challenge for dominance in the herd, riders and horses must act in a sociable manner and display sportsman like conduct at all times here are a few violations and penalties for infractions during game play.

Horses are not allowed to bite at the opposing horses. The rider must make every effort keep their horse under control and discourage any attempts at biting. Repeated violations will result in a 30-second penalty. Any horse that kicks at another horse will be given a warning for a first offense, and upon a second offense will be sent to the penalty area for a 60 second "time out".

Riders may not kick or touch the ball with any part of their body, unless such contact is non-intentional. Intentional violations of this rule will be penalized with a 30 second "time out" in the appropriate penalty area. Only the horse can move the ball.

Penalties are 30-60-90 seconds in penalty areas. The penalized rider may not assist their team during this time. If the ball travels into penalty area, the rider under penalty must attempt to move away from the other linesmen or goalie. This gives the non-offending team an advantage during the penalty period.

The use of whips, crops, split reins, or similar “motivating” devices will not be allowed during play.

Comments About How To Play Horse Soccer

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    • profile image


      3 years ago

    • ruth-williams lm profile image

      ruth-williams lm 

      6 years ago

      I'd never heard of this either, looks like such fun though!

    • Terry Boroff profile image

      Terry Boroff (flipflopnana) 

      7 years ago from FL

      Never heard of horse soccer, looks like fun!

    • GramaBarb profile image


      7 years ago from Vancouver

      I think this would be so much fun to learn! Great lens.


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