Mr. Ed-inho? | Equines savor chance at free kicks

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Nose for goal. Link to post.Overland Park, Kansas | For horses lacking in confidence, skittish or out of shape, a Kansas City–area horse trainer over the past two years has been devising rules and marketing products related to horse soccer. Reneé Miller says she devised the game by accident, rolling her children’s 50-inch rubber play ball in front of a horse frightened by nearby objects. Fast-forward to the present and equines are playing three-a-side “hoofball” indoors, kicking the ball through open barn doors, and outside, with the traditional pair of 55-gallon drums as makeshift goals (videos available at the “Horse Soccer” website).

Miller’s 6-year-old quarter horse Nikki has benefited from the game, for which Miller envisions Olympic status alongside dressage, eventing and show jumping. “This horse came as a problem horse,” Miller tells the Kansas City Star. “He would get afraid and run backward and sit down and fall over. This is such good training for him because it’s building his confidence incredibly to go up and conquer something fearful.” For $59.95 one can order the “horse soccer kit” that includes an “official” ball, training video and rule book.

About the Author

John Turnbull founded The Global Game in 2003. He was lead editor for The Global Game: Writers on Soccer (University of Nebraska Press, 2008) and has also written on soccer for Afriche e Orienti (Bologna, Italy), the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the New York Times Goal blog, Soccer and Society, So Foot (Paris) and When Saturday Comes. His essay "Alone in the Woods: The Literary Landscape of Soccer's 'Last Defender' " in World Literature Today was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Also for World Literature Today he edited a special section on women's soccer, "World Cup/World Lit 2011," before the Women's World Cup in Germany. The section appeared in the May-June issue. His next project is a book on soccer and faith.

Comments (1)

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  1. Jennifer Lintner says:

    This game is “kickingly” amazing. It’s fun, and educational to the horse at the same time.

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