International trainer gives horseball tips
THE new sport of horseball is gathering momentum in the Whitsundays after an internationally renowned coach led a clinic in Strathdickie on Wednesday.
A purpose-built field has been constructed and accredited coach with the Australian Horseball Association, Linda Gray has great hopes for the sport in the Whitsundays.
"Tamworth has been the home of horseball in Australia and we now spreading the sport throughout Queensland,” she said.
"We have had a teams take up the sport in Darwin and we have begun moving it up that way.”
There are plans to form a committee and introduce regular fixtures between Mackay and Whitsunday teams.
"There is a property at Marian so we can go to and fro,” she said.
Horseball, already a hugely popular sport in Europe, requires four riders on each team shoot for elevated goals using a two-handed throw on a regular sized equestrian arena.
In Australia, at the invitation of the Australian Horseball Association, is expert trainer from Portugal, Francisco Campeao.
Campeao is certified by the International Federation of Horseball and was in Strathdickie on Wednesday to run drills and coach young riders entering the sport in Whitsundays.
"We are trying to develop the sport in Australia...the sport was not developing properly because the basis was wrong and lots of people were losing interest,” he said.
Campeao said Australia was the perfect country to successfully develop the sport due to the availability of good horses.
"You have got the raw material and now just need to get going.”
The advantage of horseball over the already popular team horse sport in Australia, polocrosse, is any kind of horse can be used.
Stock horses and dressage horses can be ridden in horseball competition.
"The sport in Europe has spread like hell, faster than lots of other sports. And across the world in Brazil, Canada, Argentina, Mexico are all getting on with the sport.
"Australia should join them to give them a hand.”
The advantage of horseball over polocrosse is a much shallower learning curve.
There are no sticks to catch and shoot the ball for goal and there are no fixed positions on the field.
"It has much wider appeal to young riders, mainly because any player can be in any place on the field, there is no limits.
There is two 10 minute halves with an interval of three minutes.
"If you see the sport played at a high level it is catching, its emotional, its a fantastic sport.”