How to Play Horse: A Fun Basketball Game for Everyone

How to Play Horse

Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world. So you are bound to see a court in any part of the country, whether it’s in a suburb in Michigan, a farm in Texas, or a street in New York. Believe it or not, more than 26 million Americans play basketball. And most of these people know how to play Horse.

Horse is a beloved variation on the game of basketball. The game of Horse is perfect for times when you find yourself playing with too few players for a full basketball game or looking for a less intense workout. And not only is Horse fun, but anyone can play no matter their age and fitness level.

It is an awesome game to play to show off your basketball moves. The best part is that it is easy to learn how to play Horse.

What Is Horse?

What Is Horse

Horse is a game that utilizes shooting skills. This fun game is intended to be played in an informal setting without referees or officials. The main point of Horse is for its players to enjoy the experience of playing a simplified version of basketball.

The game requires two or more players on a basketball court. The players are meant to duplicate the shots of their opponents.

If a player fails to mimic the shot of their opponent, he or she receives one letter from the word “horse.” And this is where the name of the game comes from. The game continues until one player accumulates all the letters of the word.

There are a lot of variations of Horse. One example is “Pig,” which is a shortened version of the game of Horse. Instead of spelling a five-letter word, the players can only make three mistakes before they lose. There are also optional rules available depending on the players.

For example, if some players are significantly taller than their opponents, they might not be allowed to dunk to try to even the playing field.

Why Should You Play Horse?

Why Should You Play Horse

Basketball has truly evolved from a classic game to a modern sport. If you want a new way to play, learning how to play Horse can be a fantastic solution. This sport remains one of the most enjoyable games for players and spectators alike.

Since almost everyone knows how to play basketball, Horse is a game that can be learned by just about anyone globally. This convenience and widespread accessibility of basketball and Horse provide many incredible benefits.

Getting better

With over 825 million fans globally, basketball has solidified itself as one of the biggest sports in the world. If you want to practice and improve your shooting skills, playing Horse is the answer. Since the game only relies on this skill, you can actively practice different ways of shooting from around the court.

The bonds that you want

If you are looking for ways to bond with your family and friends, play Horse. One of the most exciting aspects of this game is that you can play with people you care about. By playing Horse with your closest friends, waiting for your next turn will never be boring.

Meeting like-minded people is always fun. Knowing how to play Horse is potentially valuable if you want to socialize with others possessing a similar interest in basketball.

Consider the cost

Playing horse is very affordable. All you need is a basketball court with free access. If you cannot access the court in your school or village, use the one in your social community or government sports arena.  Or set up your own basketball court using the Spalding Pro Slam Basketball System.

You do not even have to buy a new ball, although the Spalding NBA Street Basketball is a great basketball for outdoor hoops.

You can play the game with slippers or even barefoot. However, it is recommended to wear proper shoes such as the Adidas Originals Men’s Pro Bounce 2018 Basketball shoe.

Uncomplicate things

Anyone who has even a slight understanding of basketball can play Horse. This fact helps explain why basketball is a favorite among kids, teenagers, and adults. In learning how to play Horse, you see that its rules are simple and very easy to understand.

How to Play Horse: Step By Step

How to Play Horse

Now that you’ve decided to learn how to play Horse, it’s time to look at its game mechanics. Keep in mind that although there are rules, Horse is not meant to be played strictly by a set of rules.

Before you play, make sure you have a water jug ready since you will surely be thirsty after one round. The Coleman 1-Gallon jug is a great choice.

Establish rules

Before you start playing, establish the rules with your opponent and stick to them. There are many variations of Horse, so you need to touch base on the specifics of the game. Set limits on the kind of shots that are allowed, including whether or not you will eliminate dunking.

After you’ve established the rules entirely, decide on who will shoot first. This step can include a coin toss or the use of alphabetical order.

Take a shot

Now that you have established the rules of the game, it’s finally time to start. The first player can now take a shot from anywhere on or off the court. The player can try any trick or trick shot, but must declare their intent to do so before attempting their shot.

That requirement ensures that both players understand the rules correctly before they start their attempt.

For example, the player can say, “I will shoot the ball while sitting.” Then, the first player will get one attempt to shoot the ball in the basket. The shot will only count if the player shoots the ball and satisfies the rule or rules stated for the shot.

Then, the next player will attempt to match the shot from the first player. The second player has to copy the shot of the previous player, including the same location on the court. The second player controls or dictates the rules only when the first player missed their shot.

The players will then keep playing by alternating shot attempts. The order of the shooting works in a clockwise loop even when there are three or more players involved. Once everyone has taken a shot, the ball returns to the first player.

When a shot fails, get a letter

Unless every player is an NBA star, this game often features a lot of missed. So players have many opportunities to create some pretty awesome shots. If a player misses a basket, they receive a letter from the word Horse.

The process begins by being penalized “h,” followed by each consecutive letter of the word. Every time a player misses a shot, they receive another letter. This process continues until the word is complete. Then, the player who has received the letters “h,” “o,” “r,” “s,” and “e” are eliminated from the game.

There is also a variation of Horse in which the player gains a letter from the word when anyone fails in their shot attempt. This version of Horse typically ends quickly as the first player to misses any five shots will lose the game.

Invent new shots

If you want to maximize the fun in playing Horse, you should experiment and make the game more exciting. While having a player shoot the same shot from the same spot on the basketball court can be successful, these sorts of games that lack creativity can be boring.

Instead of this, when you play aim to discover a new shot. Every time someone makes the basket, try a totally unique shot again. And challenge yourself to expand your skills by trying more and more challenging shots.

How to end the game

When a player collects all the letters of the word “horse,” they must leave the game. The other players keep playing and follow the same order of play without the eliminated player. Eventually, there will only be one player left in the game. This person is the winner.

Tricks You Need to Know

Tricks You Need to Know

Did you know that NBA stars also love playing Horse? When you watch professional players such as Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry, you will notice that they make up ways to make the game more creative through unique shooting techniques.

By learning these tricks, your Horse game may be as intense as when Michael Jordan and Larry Bird competed for a Big Mac.

No-look shot

If you are feeling adventurous, start with this challenging trick. Doing a no-look shot is an effective way to keep the game exciting when no one is getting letters.

To do this crazy shot, you need to visualize where you plan on shooting the ball. Do this before you close your eyes. If you do manage to get the ball in, your opponent will surely have a hard time keeping up.

Behind the back shot

If you think you are as good as professional players, perhaps you can do a behind the back shot. Although it may look easy, doing it is challenging. To start, wrap the ball around your back. Then, flick it towards the hoop.

The key to succeeding in this trick is to use your leg power. If you rely on your arms and hands, it will be difficult to power and control the flight path of the ball into the hoop.

Sitting down shot

Great for players who have incredible upper body strength, the sitting down shot is a trick that can give you the win. While in a sitting position, use the power of your arms to propel the ball in the hoop.

Opposite hand shot

Shooting with two hands is easy, so why not elevate the game and shoot with just one hand. To make things even harder, shoot with your weaker hand. Set up your position as usual and test your weaker hand’s shooting skills.

Although it may take some time to master, this trick will be helpful in sticking your opponent with some letters.

Don’t Forget to Have Fun

It’s never too late to learn how to play Horse. It is super easy to learn and is perfect in situations involving only a few basketball players.

When playing this multi-generational game, make sure to enjoy. Make sure to keep the game about smiling and not about winning.

Have your own experience in learning how to play Horse? We’d love to read about your thoughts in the comments below!


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