Zadany (Narozalic: Садани tr. Sadany, Volynian: Заданье tr. Zadanje; "Exercise") is an equestrian ball game that combines elements from polo, rugby, and basketball. It is the traditional sport for the northern parts of Poliania and western Narozalica.
The concept of the sport traces its origins to Zalyk tribesmen, who used the sport as a way to train for both hunting and steppe combat. By the 15th century, the game had spread across Euclea, being used a training game by Narozalic, Polianian, and Kasavrine cavalry units. In modern times, the game remains popular in both Poliania and Narozalica, as well as parts of Gaullica and Asteria Superior.
The exact origins of the game are unknown, but it is commonly believed to have originated as a simple game among Zalyk tribesmen. The game is believed to have been used for both recreational means but also as a means of training and improving their skills as horsemen, something vital for life on the West Euclean steppe. Historically, a horse's bladder or head was used as a ball and the game had no fixed limits to duration, field size, or team size.
During the time of Great Vesemir, the principalities that bordered traditional Zalyk holdings gradually picked up on Zadany, realizing its benefits to the horse-centric warfare that they and the Zalyks engaged in. The collapse of Great Vesemir into the Duchy of Pavatria and Poliania saw both continue to use Zadany as a training game for their cavalry. The first Zadany-specific field was constructed in 1272 in Tretogor by King Nerits II. By the 1350s, several other fields had been constructed across Poliania and Narozalica.
The sport is believed to have spread across the trade routes of Euclea, with records indicating it being played in the early 15th century in parts of Gaullica and Etruria. The game was made popular in East Euclea by the nobility. Zadany spread worldwide as Euclea established colonies across Asteria Superior and Inferior, and across Coius.
Modern Zadany was defined in the 1820s. It is one of several disciplines of equestrian sports recognized by the International Federation for Equestrian Sports. It is considered one of the world's most dangerous sports due to not only the threat of being trampled underfoot, but also because of fights that would break out during the heat of the match.
The standardized set of rules for Zadany was defined in 1828. The basic rules involve:
- The playing field is a rectangle measuring between 250-270 meters in length and 130-150 meters in width.
- A set of six (6) players per side with up to four (4) substitutes. Free substitutions are allowed and there is no limit to how many times a player can exit and return to the field
- A minimum of five (5) passes between three (3) different players must be made before a shot can be taken. This doesn't reset if the shooter misses the net and their team recovers the ball.
- The game is divided into a set of four (4) quarters of 30 minutes each. A 10 minute break is taken between the first (1st) and second (2nd), and third (3rd) and fourth (4th) quarters. This break is extended to 25 minutes between the second (2nd) and third (3rd) quarters.
- The game is controlled by one (1) referee and two (2) assistant referees. The assistant referees are stationed on opposing sides and are tasked with ensuring the ball remains in play.
- The ball is made out of leather with an inflated rubber chamber with six (6) equidistant handles. It must measure 40 cm in diameter (defined as being handle-to-handle) and weigh one (1) kilogram.
- A point is scored by throwing the ball through a ring located 20 meters from the opponent's end line. The ring must be between 2.5 and 3 meters off of the ground and must be one (1) meter in diameter.
- An unruly or disobedient horse must be ruled off the field by the referee. The player can remain on the field so long as they have another horse or are able to borrow a horse from a teammate.
- Players must always remain in their saddles.
A match begins with a pick up. In order for the pick up to valid, the horse must be cantering. Defenders use various methods to prevent opponents from scoring. These range from using the horses weight to push opponents out of the field of play (causing a turnover) to simply getting alongside the player with the ball and taking it from them. In a situation where this occurs, both players must remain seated in their saddles; if either of them leave the saddle then they are given a penalty and the play is considered dead. If both remain seated and the defender holds on to the ball for three seconds, then they gain possession and the opposing player is given a penalty.
When the ball is dropped or falls to the ground, any player may pick the ball up, provided they're travelling in the direction of play as the ball when it was dropped. This is to prevent head on collisions between horses and players. Whilst picking up the ball, the player cannot come to a standstill.