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The most fun you can have with your clothes on!

At 65 I’ve decided to learn a new sport. Many women I know are searching for that Third Act, The Passion in their lives in this final chapter. If I were prudent, I would take up golf or perhaps pursue hiking, biking, or yoga. I’ve decided Polo is my new passion. Think of hockey, combined with Chess, add a pinch of danger and a helping of thrill at 35 miles per hour on a horse, and you have something that approximates Polo.

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Blue team scores

 

 

Polo is the oldest equestrian discipline dating back to the sixth century in Persia. Originally it was military training games simulating battles. Today’s matches are far more refined. A team of four has replaced the hundreds of warriors, lighter equipment, and faster mounts are at the heart of the battle today.

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The first step was to find a place to take lessons. I mentioned my desire to knock this item off my bucket list to a friend who eagerly agreed to join me. We traveled north to the Heritage Farm Polo Club in Canaan, NH. As outlined on their website, the Introduction to Polo was to be a two-hour lesson. The first hour included learning to handle the mallet, reviewing equipment, and practice on a wooden horse. Our instructor, Tiger Kneece, is a world-class player and the manager of the Aiken SC Polo Club. He evaluated us on the ground, had us tack up two ponies then moved us straight to the field.

Half an hour into our mounted instruction, we were chasing balls down the field, and my right arm was beginning to burn from wielding the mallet. By the end of the hour, we both managed to hit the ball at a canter. Like hockey, there is a lot of checking and physical contact. The experienced ponies we rode knew their stuff, and if we missed a shot, they obliged by kicking the ball forward for us.

We left exhausted and grinning so hard my face hurt almost as much as my right arm the next day.

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Future polo player in the making?

 

A week later, after many nights of googling Polo videos, historical facts, and equipment websites, we decided to return to watch a match. Knowing now just how hard it is to manage a 1,200-pound animal, swing a mallet, and connect with a small ball, we had a new appreciation for the game.

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A Near-side, back-hand hit…seriously???!

 

The match is composed of 4-6 Chukkars. Each Chukkar is 7.5-minute long. Ponies play one Chukkar, with a brief break between to switch to a fresh pony. These are amazingly athletic animals. The match we saw was a Pro-Am competition with three amateurs and one pro on each team. Both men and women competed, and the age range of the riders was early twenties to mid-seventies.

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It may take years before I’m “game ready” for this endeavor, but it’s been a long time since I felt so excited about starting something new.

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Notice that two out of three horses in this shot only have one hoof on the ground!

7 comments on “The most fun you can have with your clothes on!

  1. julieallyn says:

    Martha! Delighted to see you show up in my Reader again. (I’ve been away, off and on, for about a year and only just now wading back into the waters.)

    What an exuberant post! Good for you. Happy for you!!

    Julie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Julie, I have been scarce for the last few years but life is good! Looking forward to seeing your posts!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Chris says:

    We even have a polo club in hot, sweaty, Houston, but I think they must play in cooler weather. It would be too brutal for the horses. Good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Chris. The southern clubs come north in the summer though this summer has been very hot even here.

      Like

  3. What fun! I’m glad you are pursuing new hobbies. Keeping busy it what keeps us from getting old!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Martha, what a great title – it certainly piqued my interest! 🙂 I love polo. Here in Lexington we’re fortunate to have the Kentucky Horse Park, and polo is regularly on the menu. I’m in awe of your ability and wish you hours of enjoyment. You look like a natural. ~Terri

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Terri, it is great to have a new hobby!

      Liked by 1 person

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