Pato

September 11th, 2011

Pato is a Spanish game originating in the late 16th century. Early games used a live duck inside a basket. Two teams battled for possession of the duck, and attempted to score by throwing the duck into a large standing hoop with a net.  It was banned several times due to the violent nature of the game. A version of pato is the national game of Argentina.

Pato is a reoccurring favorite among our riders. Riders are paired into two teams for a hilarious test of speed, courage, and accuracy. Play starts in center field with the two teams facing each other and two large nets at either end of the arena. One team is given possession of a stuffed toy duck, and must ride to their goal and throw the duck in before having it taken by the other side.  The player that has control of the pato (i.e. holds the stuffed duck) must ride with his right arm outstretched, so rival players have a chance of tugging the pato and stealing it. Not extending the arm while riding with the pato is an offense called negada (refusal). Dropping the duck results in play stopping and resetting at that point. Although rarely seen in tournament this fun-filled game has riders quacking up routinely in practice.

Dona Arabella attempts a ride-off with THL Virginia at the Altavia Equestrian Championship in 2008.

Dona Arabella attempts a ride-off with THL Virginia at the Altavia Equestrian Championship in 2008.

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