Chestertons Polo in the Park

Chestertons Polo in the Park

When I was invited to spend the day at Ham Polo Club in London for an introduction to polo session, as part of Chestertons Polo in the Park, I was pretty excited to give it a try. I wasn't 100% sure what I was letting myself into but y’know, you only live once, and let’s face it, how often do you get the chance to go try out that kind of thing? When you live in central Leeds, the answer is pretty much never.

The last time I rode a horse I was about 9 years old so I spent the train journey down being more than a little bit nervous that not only would I be on the back of one but waving a stick around and trying to hit a ball too. It turns out, I had (of course) absolutely nothing to worry about!

We arrived at Ham Polo Club for our session and were welcomed by the lovely Martin and Charlie who gave us a quick intro into polo before taking the group out to start the session. They taught us how to hit the ball, then we had a practise match on the ground which involved a lot of barging into each other (polo’s a contact sport, which I hadn’t realised) and I even scored a goal!

Once we’d got to grips with how to play the game, it was to the wooden horses to practise with the full length sticks. Needless to say, I spent a lot of time hitting either thin air or the wooden horse. Thankfully Charlie was very patient as I tried my best to make contact with the ball! Here are the rules, just in case you want to know more.

Then we got to the fun bit, we got to ride the horses! After a little help from Polly, I managed to mount a horse called Bonita (apparently mounting a horse is neither easy nor dignified when you’re a beginner) and I spent the first part of the lesson walking round the field as I tried to master steering her, making her move and telling her to stop. Once I (finally) got my head around the basics, I actually had a go at hitting the ball and managed it a couple of times!

We spent some time practising our technique but as we were such beginners, a game was a bit out of the question! After the session we were all presented with a certificate and a badge to say that we’d completed the day and had chance to relax and chat about what we’d learnt.

All in all, it was a bloody brilliant day and I cannot thank Martin, Charlie and of course Chestertons enough for giving me the opportunity to try something new. If you ever get the chance to try polo, do it, it really is a lot of fun!

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