Photo: longhorndave

Got horses? A couple of goals? A duck?

IF YOU ANSWERED “YES” to all three of the above questions, congratulations: you’re ready to play pato, Argentina’s national sport.

While it may look like something ripped out of a J.K. Rowling book, pato has been played in Argentina since the 17th century. Teams of riders attempt to score by tossing the “pato”, (originally a duck, nowadays a soccer ball covered in rope handles), into their opponents’ goal.

Players pass and carry the ball to move it down the field, while members of the opposing team try to grab hold of the ball’s handles and tug it out of the attackers’ hands.

It may not be able to compete with soccer, but ato’s still happening in Argentina. The Federación Argentina de Pato organizes tournaments and sends a national team to the International Horse-Ball Federation championships.

Check out this footage from Trans World Sport. What gets me is the “hang upside-down and grab the ball while still galloping” move that they do to start the game: