Hoof Ball - A Fieldays first

Last updated 13:36 14/06/2012
"Blue" with a blue eye owned by Graeme Strawbridge. Hamilton

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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.

National Agricultural Fieldays

The latest updates from Fieldays by waikatotimes.co.nz. To contribute to the storify, use #fieldays.

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

The weather gods love Hamilton #fieldays. Glorious sunshine & smiling farmers. Come & see us at F39.Federated Farmers
In case you missed out, we thought we would share some of the #Fieldays food goodness with you http://on.fb.me/Kv7xT3 Enjoy! We did...#waitalkWaikato University
RT @randallmunro: Hamilton: come for #Fieldays, stay for the whitebait fritters. http://instagr.am/p/L1jCkmKSe4/Fieldays
Use the hashtag #fieldays if you are visiting or exhibiting at Fieldays - we'd love to hear what you are up to!Fieldays
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RT @mpi_nz: Did you know ryegrass has 52,500 roots? Cool science at #AgResearch @#Fieldays http://pic.twitter.com/nZv1tJzbAgResearch News Feed
Waikato Times photographer Bruce Mercer in action at #Fieldays. http://pic.twitter.com/FF8v1PVeAngela Cuming
I had a fantastic day at #Fieldays yesterday! Back in the office today, but looking forward to heading up to #Fieldays again tomorrow.Hon David Carter
Here is the most powerful tractor #FieldaysExhibitor #Fieldays http://pic.twitter.com/j9A4P7xISam Smith
Feels quite busy at #Fieldays 2012 Day 2! http://pic.twitter.com/4nSPnLPYJPCalder
Reviewing the latest Gallagher products with Sir William and the Gallagher team at #fieldays. http://pic.twitter.com/Q9MKAIPastevenljoyce
Hoofball! #fieldays http://pic.twitter.com/ZEZDQoMUTheFarmingShow
#FieldaysExhibitor #Fieldays Lots of people in the main pavilion!! Check it http://pic.twitter.com/YSlSvuJUFieldaysExhibit
Fielday fashions!! #Fieldays #FieldaysExhibitor #fashion http://pic.twitter.com/X5RKH1NpKarina Yanez
Oh yeah, great day #fieldays http://pic.twitter.com/rVEsbvW9The Farming Show
Busy again on day 2 #fieldays http://pic.twitter.com/vnUTj4olThe Farming Show
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Another great day shaping up here at #Fieldays, I spoke to Nadine Chalmers Ross ( @BusinessNadine ) this morning http://tvnz.co.nz/breakfast-news/expected-spend-up-fieldays-video-4928512#Jon Calder
Best way to keep warm at Fieldays. #fieldays http://instagr.am/p/L1FQe_zRlQ/Angela Cuming
View from the media centre. Hello down there! #fieldays http://instagr.am/p/L1DFR8TRkF/Angela Cuming
RT @stevenljoyce: At AgResearch stand at #Fieldays. Doing gr8 work on grasses for retaining nutrients & also for hill country farming. http://pic.twitter.com/MLZVasihAgResearch News Feed
Ian and his two lovely ladies, Rose and Joy. Part of today's sheep dog trials. #fieldays http://instagr.am/p/L078-5TRgf/Angela Cuming
Great to see free copies of the Waikato Times and the Fieldaily being handed out. #fieldays http://instagr.am/p/L07DDyTRv4/Angela Cuming
Crowds waiting to get into Fieldays. #fieldays http://instagr.am/p/L06j1szRvj/Angela Cuming
@AngelaCuming I'm enjoying your pics #fieldays from Seattle!Astrid
Hello frost! #fieldays car park. Brrrr! http://instagr.am/p/L05t00zRvG/Angela Cuming
I just gotta say, my God the Waikato is beautiful. Happy Fieldays folks. #fieldays http://instagr.am/p/L03334zRuA/Angela Cuming
Jack Frost was busy last night it seems. I predict a lot of very thick jumpers at #fieldays. So cold!Angela Cuming
My 2 year old is off to his fourth annual #fieldays today. :-)David F

Click on the image below to see what's on Fieldays today

It's been a totally awesome day at @mysterycreek. Fieldays visitors numbers up. Sun shining. Happy faces. And #fieldays is no.1 in NZ trendsFieldays
One hour from Mystery Creek to Te Rapa. Hello Fieldays traffic! #fieldaysAngela Cuming
27,088 visitors to the first day of #Fieldays 2012, our second biggest Wednesday for #Fieldays ever!Jon Calder
Massive day at #fieldays, great weather, fantastic crowd, amazing exhibits, roll on tomorrow!Jon Calder
#beauty #Fieldays http://pic.twitter.com/HtlzBVmbFieldays Exhibitor
Yussss!! #fieldays is top of NZ twitter trends!Fieldays
I can back him up in saying Fieldays is fun, but tiring. So much walking! #fieldays http://instagr.am/p/LzBtqZzRiH/Angela Cuming
Athletes from the London 2012 Olympics team were among Waikato athletes proudly bearing the New Zealand flag, at the official opening ceremony of 2012 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek near Hamilton at noon today.

Olympians help launch FieldaysAthletes from the London 2012 Olympics team were among Waikato athletes proudly bearing the New Zealand flag, at the official opening cer...

First day figures from - 20,000 through the gate in the first 1.5 hours

The hotly contested guess-how-many-staples-in-the-bucket comp #fieldays http://instagr.am/p/Ly7hWpzRuV/Angela Cuming
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Minister of Primary Industries David Carter in studio; says he's proud of the work the govt has done #fieldays http://pic.twitter.com/ZEEao3KCThe Farming Show
Throngs of people have gathered for the opening ceremony #fieldays http://pic.twitter.com/TCrn6S8XThe Farming Show
@Country99tv showcasing the opening ceremony at @fieldaysNZ #fieldays http://pic.twitter.com/BFxvVcrbCountry99TV
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Every kiwi, ESP city slickers like me, should go to #fieldays at least once. Just bought my first redbandsHelen Anderson
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Here at @mysterycreek the main pavilion is buzzing for #fieldays http://pic.twitter.com/yOLV2mbfFieldays

Fieldays is a boon for the Waikato and always will be. It signifies the lifeblood of this region, the fact that farming is one of the things Waikato does better than anyone. Read the editorial below -

Editorial - An event to be proud ofThe 44th National Agriculture Fieldays starts today and it is an event the Waikato Times celebrates. Anyone who has had any involvement w...
Any colour as long as it's black. #fieldays http://instagr.am/p/LypumdzRiV/Angela Cuming
If you are visiting #Fieldays there is free wifi available in the main pavilion and on E-street via LightwireFieldays
#Fieldays were the best things when i was in Elementary school.navardo williams
Avoid traffic hotspots

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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.

First @waikato #Fieldays seminar at 11am in Premier Feature: 'Food and the Environment'. See full list & times http://bit.ly/On756R #waitalkWaikato University
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Glenlea Downs cattle representing. #fieldays http://instagr.am/p/Lylej_zRvs/Angela Cuming
Use the hashtag #fieldays if you are exhibiting or visiting @FieldaysNZFieldays
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Frost still on the ground at Mystery Creek. Time for extra socks! #fieldaysAngela Cuming
Traffic heavy on Avalon Drive but then a good run to Mystery Creek. Car parks getting full! #fieldaysAngela Cuming
Good morning #fieldays http://pic.twitter.com/5V3t9YMEMPI
What happens when you leave for Fieldays...
Cautious optimism over spendup at #Fieldays http://bit.ly/Lixp0RWaikato Times
Good day for #fieldaysTracey Cooper
On a cold frosty morning, with the temperature in Hamilton at -1.6C, Pat Munro and Allan Bright of Katikati get a cup of coffee as Fieldays starts today. Photograph by Waikato Times chief photographer Peter Drury.
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In 1967 my great uncle Pat Cuming, farming editor of the Waikato Times, was instrumental in creating Fieldays. Very proud. #fieldaysAngela Cuming

The Rural Photo Competition via University of Waikato -

Alexis Poulter was the winner, with her photo finishing up with 209 likes!  

A teaser of seminar series via University of Waikato -

Fieldays 2012: Seminar Series Teaseruniversitywaikato
Fieldays starts tomorrow and work is underway to turn the 40-hectare site into a virtual city that will be home to more than 1000 exhibitors on 1400 sites. 
Hats on for FieldaysHead gear to beat cold forecast ANGELA CUMING The Swannies are out, the ute polished up and the first buckets of hot chips have been serv...
Getting ready for #fieldays http://pic.twitter.com/YyR5kixqCountry99TV
We ask why #fieldays appeals to 'townies' as well as farmers. @waikato Professor Jacqueline Rowarth explains http://bit.ly/LESG7z #waitalkWaikato University

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