Hoof Ball - A Fieldays first

03:11, Jun 14 2012
Alan Smith, from Matamata, with his dog "Nick" at the Sheepdog trials on day 2 of Fieldays.
Alan Smith, from Matamata, with his dog "Nick" at the Sheepdog trials on day 2 of Fieldays. Hamilton
Alan Smith, from Matamata, with his dog "Nick" at the Sheepdog trials on day 2 of Fieldays.
Alan Smith, from Matamata, with his dog "Nick" at the Sheepdog trials on day 2 of Fieldays. Hamilton
Graeme Strawbridge with dogs, Rock and "Blue" with a blue eye  at the Sheepdog trials on day 2 of Fieldays. Hamilton
Graeme Strawbridge with dogs, Rock and "Blue" with a blue eye at the Sheepdog trials on day 2 of Fieldays. Hamilton
Nicola Rawlandson's dog "Jan" at the sheepdog trials.
Nicola Rawlandson's dog "Jan" at the sheepdog trials.
"Blue" with a blue eye owned by Graeme Strawbridge.  Hamilton
"Blue" with a blue eye owned by Graeme Strawbridge. Hamilton

Take four horses, a paddock and a giant soccer ball and you have the latest sport that may or may not take New Zealand by storm.

Hoof Ball made its first appearance at Fieldays this year and left the crowds delighted, albeit a little confused, over the game.

In a game of hoof ball the horse, guided by the rider, aims to get the giant ball through a goal post made of, naturally enough for a sport of this kind, 44-gallon drums. Think polo, but on a much larger scale.

Ian mayall of TeAroha ties up his dogs ahead of the sheep dog trials.
Ian mayall of TeAroha ties up his dogs ahead of the sheep dog trials.
Issac sage  of Palmerston north gets ready for Bill Schuller Fencing competition.
Issac sage of Palmerston north gets ready for Bill Schuller Fencing competition.
Pat Munro and AllanBright of Katikati get coffee as National Fieldays begins.
Pat Munro and AllanBright of Katikati get coffee as National Fieldays begins.
Crowds pouring in on the opening day of Fieldays.
Crowds pouring in on the opening day of Fieldays.
Maggie Murdock, 5,  from Patetonga checks out colorfully range of commando gumboots.
Maggie Murdock, 5, from Patetonga checks out colorfully range of commando gumboots.
Ag Art Wear at the Fieldays.
Ag Art Wear at the Fieldays.
Ag Art Wear at the Fieldays.
Ag Art Wear at the Fieldays.
Ag Art Wear at the Fieldays.
Ag Art Wear at the Fieldays.
Ag Art Wear at the Fieldays.
Ag Art Wear at the Fieldays.
Ag Art Wear at the Fieldays.
Ag Art Wear at the Fieldays.
Ag Art Wear at the Fieldays.
Ag Art Wear at the Fieldays.
Ag Art Wear at the Fieldays.
Ag Art Wear at the Fieldays.
Ag Art Wear at the Fieldays.
Ag Art Wear at the Fieldays.
Ag Art Wear at the Fieldays.
Ag Art Wear at the Fieldays.
Ag Art Wear at the Fieldays.
Ag Art Wear at the Fieldays.
Ag Art Wear at the Fieldays.
Ag Art Wear at the Fieldays.
Ag Art Wear at the Fieldays.
Ag Art Wear at the Fieldays.
Ag Art Wear at the Fieldays.
Ag Art Wear at the Fieldays.
Ag Art Wear at the Fieldays.
Ag Art Wear at the Fieldays.
PRECISION CUT: Stihl Timbersports team member Adam Lowe of Hokitika focuses intently as he races to cut through a log with an axe.
PRECISION CUT: Stihl Timbersports team member Adam Lowe of Hokitika focuses intently as he races to cut through a log with an axe.
FREEBIE FUN: A young girl attempts to untangle the balloons she has collected as she makes her way through the throngs of people who made the most of the fine opening-day weather.
FREEBIE FUN: A young girl attempts to untangle the balloons she has collected as she makes her way through the throngs of people who made the most of the fine opening-day weather.
Paul Hammond from Lake Rotoehu tries his balancing skills on a mechanical bullride.
Paul Hammond from Lake Rotoehu tries his balancing skills on a mechanical bullride.
Maddison Gerosh from Raglan tries her balancing skills on a mechanical bullride.
Maddison Gerosh from Raglan tries her balancing skills on a mechanical bullride.
FIELDAYS ROCKS OFF: A day one highlight at the agricultural show was the mechanical bull riding; Aucklander Mitchell Goff shows here how it is done.
FIELDAYS ROCKS OFF: A day one highlight at the agricultural show was the mechanical bull riding; Aucklander Mitchell Goff shows here how it is done.
The number of cockies and townies through the gate was up 2.3 per cent on last year at 27,088 with most streaming in through the frost.
The number of cockies and townies through the gate was up 2.3 per cent on last year at 27,088 with most streaming in through the frost.
The number of cockies and townies through the gate was up 2.3 per cent on last year at 27,088 with most streaming in through the frost.
The number of cockies and townies through the gate was up 2.3 per cent on last year at 27,088 with most streaming in through the frost.
ROLLING IT IN: Vernon Suckling is $5000 richer after taking out the Fieldays Golden Standard award for innovation.
ROLLING IT IN: Vernon Suckling is $5000 richer after taking out the Fieldays Golden Standard award for innovation.
Demo at the Honda Display, The public watch as Bruce Nielsen on the Honda TRX 420 FPA passes by.
Demo at the Honda Display, The public watch as Bruce Nielsen on the Honda TRX 420 FPA passes by.
Chainsaw V8 Demo by Murray Raynel , "Skinny" Chris Harris and "Pike" Andrew Haswell.
Chainsaw V8 Demo by Murray Raynel , "Skinny" Chris Harris and "Pike" Andrew Haswell.
Mary Torok taking part in 'Hoof Ball' at Fieldays.
Mary Torok taking part in 'Hoof Ball' at Fieldays.
Helen Hansen taking part in 'Hoof Ball' at Fieldays.
Helen Hansen taking part in 'Hoof Ball' at Fieldays.
Helen Hansen and Katie Stockholme taking part in 'Hoof Ball' at Fieldays.
Helen Hansen and Katie Stockholme taking part in 'Hoof Ball' at Fieldays.
Katarina Torok taking part in 'Hoof Ball' at Fieldays.
Katarina Torok taking part in 'Hoof Ball' at Fieldays.
 PM John Key arrived to a cold and wet Mystery Creek at 10am. PM John Key arrived to a cold and wet Mystery Creek at 10am.
PM John Key arrived to a cold and wet Mystery Creek at 10am.
 PM John Key arrived to a cold and wet Mystery Creek at 10am. PM John Key arrived to a cold and wet Mystery Creek at 10am.
PM John Key arrived to a cold and wet Mystery Creek at 10am.
 PM John Key arrived to a cold and wet Mystery Creek at 10am. PM John Key arrived to a cold and wet Mystery Creek at 10am.
PM John Key arrived to a cold and wet Mystery Creek at 10am.
 PM John Key arrived to a cold and wet Mystery Creek at 10am. PM John Key arrived to a cold and wet Mystery Creek at 10am.
PM John Key arrived to a cold and wet Mystery Creek at 10am.
 PM John Key arrived to a cold and wet Mystery Creek at 10am. PM John Key arrived to a cold and wet Mystery Creek at 10am.
PM John Key arrived to a cold and wet Mystery Creek at 10am.
 PM John Key arrived to a cold and wet Mystery Creek at 10am. PM John Key arrived to a cold and wet Mystery Creek at 10am.
PM John Key arrived to a cold and wet Mystery Creek at 10am.

''It is a real lot of fun, the horses love it and so do the riders,'' said Hoof Ball New Zealand's Mary Torok (tick Torok).

''The beauty of it is you can ride whatever horse you like, wherever you like. You can play Hoof Ball in a backyard, down the back paddock, all sorts of places.''

The game had less fun beginnings, however, originating in Europe in 1905. Large leather balls were used by the infantry to teach their horses how to trample their battle opponents.

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I was introduced to New Zealand four years ago by Mrs Torok and her husband, and the pair are now passionate about their newfound sporting love.

But what do the punters make of it?

''Yeah, I don't know if it will be an Olympic sport or anything, but it looks alright,'' said John Stevenson, a sheep farmer from Otago. 

''And the horses really do seem to be enjoying it.''

New fan Jane Hall, from Cambridge, said she would be keen to try out Hoof Ball for herself.

''It looks like great fun, it really does, I would love to give it a go,'' she said.

Check out the Hoof Ball action at 11.30am Friday, at the Demonstration Area at Fieldays.

[View the story "National Agricultural Fieldays" on Storify]National Agricultural FieldaysThe latest updates from Fieldays by waikatotimes.co.nz. To contribute to the storify, use #fieldays.

Storified by · Wed, Jun 13 2012 23:08:31

All roads leading to Fieldays at Mystery Creek will be packed at peak times over the next few days but there are ways to dodge the melee.

NZTA State Highway manager Kaye Clark said there's always a significant increase in traffic volumes on State Highway 1, SH3 and SH21.

Waikato road policing manager Inspector Leo Tooman recommends people use SH3 through Glenview rather than overloading SH1.

"We've noticed that everybody seems to want to use SH1," Mr Tooman said, "and SH3 is being under-used yet it's often the quickest option."

Mr Tooman said other hot spots where people might experience delays include intermittent queuing on Tauwhare Rd as cars come off SH1B.

Waikato Times