As a horse owner and rider, I’ve always been captivated by the game of polo or what’s historically known as the “sport of kings” but oddly it’s not something I’ve ever tried.
The warmer weather starts every rider off thinking about leisurely rides on horseback, but this year I’d like to try something a bit different and its polo on my mind.
Like in football you have a goal on each end of the polo field and the aim is to score as many goals with your team as possible.
From watching the sport out in the Middle East and back home, it seems polo ponies are trained differently from our usual riding horses.
The horses that are trained to play this game can stop, start, turn and sprint extremely quickly.
They are not afraid to bump into other horses, and are trained to not be afraid of the ball or mallet swinging near their heads.
Something I’m not so sure most general riding horses would be happy with.
There’s not just a difference in the way the ponies are trained, riding a polo pony is also very different.
If you’re classically trained at a British Horse Society approved riding centre, you’ll find polo lessons are still needed because of the difference in the riding style.
There simply isn’t the time to ride in the same way, due to the speed of the game and the ponies are trained to respond to this.
I imagine people who have never sat on a horse at all would be far better at their first polo lesson than a classically trained rider like myself, simply because I’d find it much harder to adjust than
someone who was completely new to the sport.
This gave me a brilliant idea.
Since writing my equine column I’ve been trying to get the content editor of the Epworth Bells, Chris Page (left), literally ‘in the saddle’ and out on horseback in order for him to fully understand what I talk about.
OK, I try to convert everyone into riding and Chris is no exception.
I firmly believe, despite him never having sat on a horse, that he’d make the better polo player out of the two of us.
Bearing this in mind, I contacted The Vale of York Polo Club not too far away in Misson, and they’d love to give Chris and me a lesson to put my theory to the test.
So come on Chris, don the suit and get out some breeches - it’s time to stop editing the paper and start horsing around!
And if that doesn’t work perhaps a bit of pressure from the rest of the office (and you, the readers) will help.
Watch this space!
The Vale of York Polo Club, The Yorkshire Polo School and The Yorkshire Polo Livery are situated at Highwood Farm, Misson.
The Yorkshire Polo School has lessons to suit all ages and abilities with classes running all year round.
Student lessons start from £25, adult lessons are £40 and private lessons are £75.
All are a minimum one hour and the price includes pony and all equipment.
Contact Paul Piddington on 07788426968 for further details
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