I know this sounds somewhat unbelievable, but there are some people out there who have taught their horses to play soccer. The game is somewhat unconventional (the ball is a little bit bigger than your typical soccer ball, for example), but it appears that the horses enjoy it. The linked website includes video.
After horse trainer Renee Miller noticed that one of her skittish beasts enjoyed kicking her children's 50-inch rubber ball, she came up with an idea: horse soccer.
Miller began inviting fellow equine lovers to her Rockin' Double R ranch for matches and then launched a league. "I have not had this much fun on a horse ever. Ever!," Pam Laub told the Kansas City Star, while Randy Miller claimed his horse celebrated goals by raising a hoof.
Renee Miller sells horse soccer training kits, including a Horse Soccer Ball, for $60 on the Web site, where one can also view videos of her Chuck Norris Roundhouse Kickers in action.
All horses are eligible according to the site: "We have seen everything from a draft horse to a Welsh pony play equally well. Even gaited horses have played, and horses of all ages can learn." And spooky horses "enjoy pushing the ball so much, they forget about being spooky!"
Do you suppose that Barbaro might enjoy this game (after he recovers, of course)?
I know of a guy in central Utah with a soccer-playing bull bison. The two of them play one-on-one.
I can't remember any details, but there is supposedly a very similar game played somewhere in Asia (Afghanistan?).
Just one more reason to add to the list of why I want a horse!
I think they play soccer on Elephants in Thailand.
In Europe we play the similar game, and it already exist since 1902! It's called "pushball on horseback", and it has started in The Durland Riding Academy, New York.
For about 4 year I have collected a lot of history of pushball on internet. Watch my weblog www.pushballonhorseback.blogspot.com and enjoy watching more then 100 years of sport history. See also other kinds of pushball disciplines around the world, like Thai Elephant Soccer and Pushball (on foot).
The U.S. Army still uses pushball (on foot) as a training method for the Cadets.
Hopefully "pushball on horseback" trainers like to exchange their experiences, so we can learn from each pushball traditions and enjoy this unique sport (with the horse kicking the large ball).
We have just beguna Hoofball League in New Zealand with the first games played last weekend in a local rodeo arena. The sport is taking off here and the horses really love it. To see pictures of the games visit www.hobbyhorse.co.nz and go to the photo album and hoofball pages, happy Hoofball