The tradition of the goose riders King

The goose riders game is a centuries old tradition game that is still actively practiced in the Antwerp northern villages of Zandvliet, Berendrecht, Lillo, Stabroek, Hoevenen and Ekeren. The last twenty years, the game has had a real revival, so now most of the goose riders association gilds have to make a waiting lists because only thirty participants can enter the competition and can compete to become the goose rider king for one year.


The game is played by hanging a goose upside down on a poll wrapped in a fishing net. Originally they used a live goose which was smeared with grease or oil, but that has been prohibited since 1929. Since then, they ask a vet to kill a goose in advance by giving it a lethal injection, Riders of all the local goose riders gilds ride with there horses and in uniform under the goose, one by one.

Only local draft horses can be used. The idea is to separate the head of the body of the goose, there horses can not stand still and they only have one pull at the time. When they do not succeed they have to wait their turn to try again. The rider who succeeds in separating the goose may call himself the goose rider king of the year.