Over the weekend the school age sons of a friend and I took scooters and a pony cart down to the local schoolhouse to work off some energy following a picnic. And in a flash of inspiration pony cart baseball was born.

Pony Cart Baseball: Ingredients

*One pony,with cart (A miniature horse should work too)

*Any sort of rubber ball you can catch with your bare hands (ours,which we found at the school, was baseball-sized)

*Baseball or softball diamond

*Five players

Pony cart baseball is easy to learn. The “runner” lines his pony and cart up by home plate. His goal is to round all the bases one time. He must tag each bag, either with the pony’s hoof or wheels of the cart.

The four basemen have a job of their own-to throw the ball around the bases starting from home, for a total of two times. Basemen must tag and throw from the base,and also be careful to avoid the pony runner as he scrambles his way around the diamond.

The baserunning part can be tricky. If both the pony and the cart miss the bag,the runner must turn the cart around in an awkward circle to try again (and sometimes more than once,pony carts don’t have a very good reverse gear).

Base throwers have their own challenges. Missed throws can mean a lot of running and chasing balls down. The field where we played was surronded by a fence which a misthrown ball would often jump over and/or through. Beyond the fence lay the neighboring farmer’s vast alfalfa fields. To make things more interesting, if the ground is even slightly damp it makes the ball slippery and hard to grasp with bare hands.

When you play pony cart baseball,be sure to allow sufficient time between innings for your pony to rest. The pony that helped us play that day, Cocoa, was a good sport. But she got to huffing and puffing after awhile. This is a good chance to practice your throws or climb a tree while your pony gets her lungs back.

If you play pony cart baseball,I think you’ll find the runner and throwers pretty evenly matched. Most of our games came down to the wire, with the runner having to beat a throw as it came around third to home. Pony cart baseball does not lack for excitement.

So who knows? A year from now,will croquet mallets lie dormant,volleyball nets undisturbed, as an exciting new warm weather pasttime sweeps the Lancaster community? Hard to say. But if it does, you know where you heard it first.