Polo, frequently termed “The Sport of Kings”, is not a part of daily life for most of us. Our impressions of the sport are based on media interpretations and on a reputation as a genteel game of the privileged class. An open mind and further inquiry reveal an extraordinary sport with aspects appealing to most anyone.
The high level of skill required
At its highest levels, polo requires a great deal of physical and mental skill. The game moves at a breakneck pace, and players must guide their horses with their bodies while attempting to swing a wooden mallet – accurately, mind you – at a little white ball. Add in seven other players attempting to do the same, and the game becomes indescribably complex and exhilarating.
The speed and power of the horses, the pace of the game, and the mallets and airborne balls contribute danger and thrill. It’s instinctual to find more intrigue in a game with genuine risk.
The camaraderie between man and horse
Humans have ridden horses for 5,500 years, and the connection between man and horse has a primeval, natural quality. Good polo play taps into this connection and requires great harmony between horse and player. A fine polo pony seems to have an intricate understanding of the game; it positions itself and reacts according to the needs of the moment and in tune with its rider.
Polo ponies are renowned for their fitness, intelligence, and toughness. Riders with backgrounds in other equestrian pursuits are frequently astounded by the power and skill of the horses. Moments that would cause panic in horses from other disciplines do nothing to unnerve polo ponies.
The camaraderie between players
Team sports have a way of engendering a unique kinship among teammates. Due to the fast clip of polo, teammates must become of one mind while in play. This connection extends beyond the polo field. The international polo community is a small, tight-knit one to begin with, and teammates are particularly close.
Polo is played throughout the globe, and players (and their horses) travel frequently to participate in tournaments. Despite their different cultural backgrounds, players have an instant connection when they meet. It’s common for players to develop lasting friendships with fellow polo enthusiasts from around the world.
Polo manages to combine a gritty nature with a casual sophistication. For 2,500 years, equestrians have been drawn to the artistry and competition, and devotees now comprise a global brotherhood. The community is a welcoming one, and anyone with a passion for skill, beauty, and sport may become a part of it.