The Horse-Ball Pro Elite competition is being held in Cluny this weekend. It draws quite a crowd as horseball is fast and furious. In horseball there are teams of 6, 4 players and 2 substitutes. The ball is thrown in and the team that catches it races towards the goal. They must pass the ball at least three times before trying to score, and a player cannot keep possession for more than 10 seconds. The other team try to block them by pushing with their horses, or wresting the ball from the other player’s grasp, which may result in the attacking team galloping back up the field in order to regroup and attack again. If the ball is dropped either team can retrieve it but they must be going in the same direction as the ball was dropped. Despite the rules about safety it’s a very violent game. Thanks to Chris here are some photos of this afternoon’s action.
Chasing the player with the ball
And they all turn to race up the field
The ball is dropped and the other team take possession
And it’s a goal!
Goals come thick and fast
Horseball is a great sport demonstrating the strength and agility of both horse and rider. All the teams play each other and the finalists will battle it out tomorrow afternoon.
I must admit that on Sunday I skived off from the Cortambert randonnée to go into Cluny to watch the finals of the women’s horseball. It was the last meeting in a season of 14 matches with various amateur and pro-elite categories. Players from this weekend are selected to play for France at the European championships at Bordeaux at the end of August.
There is nothing ladylike about horse-ball feminin. An umpire on horseback and another on a chair make sure the rules are strictly adhered to. Everyone has to go in the direction dictated by the person with the ball. But pushing and shoving is OK. So is wrenching someone’s arm off to get the ball. It’s just as well that the stirrups are tied together making it difficult to be pushed off.
Plenty of hand to hand fighting
A gallop down the pitch results in a goal
A rider bends to pick the ball off the ground
Meurchin (Pas-de-Calais) was the overall winner of the pro-elite competition
More action next Saturday, an afternoon of beach rugby from 1 – 6pm at the Equivallée.
It has been one of those weekends when there is such a lot going on that I could write several blogs. For the third year running Cluny has held the women’s horseball championships. This is a mixture of basketball and rugby on horseback, a great spectator sport with lots of action and goals coming thick and fast. There has also been horse racing at the hippodrome. How often do you get two big horse events in one small town?
For those not interested in horses (I suppose there might be some) there was the Habitat show, the Art de vivre & Bien-être, with talks about natural health and beauty. Having already sufficient of the latter and not wanting any ideas which would result in our spending even more money on the house we managed to give this show a wide berth.
Umpires have the stripy tops, the coaches jump up and down and shout
So Cluny has been buzzing with thousands of people this weekend. It’s very good for the economy as even if the action is at the Equivallée people wander into town for lunch and look round the shops. It’s good for the B&B and gite owners too. This time last year when the horseball competitions were held in Cluny it was estimated that the riders and spectators spent 200,000€. On average spectators spent 34€, mostly on food, and the participants spent 215€.
And you thought this blog was going to be all about horseball.
A lot has been going on lately. I’ve just been off to do a week’s childminding in Glasgow. Amazingly it was lovely weather so I had no need of the usual raincoat and welly boots. There was the ubiquitous piper….
and lots of outings for the girls –
- Maggie fishing for trout
The girls are growing up fast. They are now four and two and a half.
Maggie & Jo
Jo looks to be following in her mother into the medical profession.
Jo as a nurse
Of course I missed lots of events while I was away. I was sorry to miss the three day horseball championships
Horseball championships at Cluny
But I was back to see the Rallaye des vins. The roads were closed for the day and the rally cars went hurtling round the hillside.
Rallaye des vins
The corner coming out of Cortambert was especially entertaining as many of the cars spun 360° to the cheers of the spectators.
Beach rugby at Cluny
Although we are as far as you can possibly get from the sea there was beach rugby in Cluny this afternoon. As the sand smelled like the sea we only would only need a pond in the middle of the Equivallée arena to create our own Cluny Plage. The afternoon was great fun and I’m thinking we should start up our own club in Cortambert. Anyone for rugby?