Hoof Ball - A Fieldays first
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.
''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.
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.
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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.