Monday, April 1, 2013

spring polo

Empire Polo Club
Now THIS was cool to watch. We went to the Empire Polo Club in Indio (also where they have the huge Coachella music festival). Free to go every weekend, take a picnic (we were on the unwashed masses side, the fancy side was spectacular), enjoy the horses. First we went to a practice field, looked pretty damn good to me! But then we went to the real field, and that was something else. A professional photographer with better equipment than a crappy point and shoot would have had a great time. They were going too fast (it was hard to get good photos) plus it was exciting to watch, I kept getting distracted!

shouldn't they have this setup at endurance rides?

first they all run this way

then they all run the other way

a chandelier in the tent, JUST like my stable...

cantering to catch up (horse had a not very smooth clip job)


penalty shot

high speed photography is hard, but I got the horse!

The match was so fun to watch. I knew nothing about polo, though they handed out a nice magazine with some rules and information. These people and horses were tough! Bumping, cutting, all galloping (and they seem to post the canter, must try this sometime), swinging the mallet, wow! Horses were some Thoroughbred, but mostly Argentinian polo ponies. The horses were super agile, and of lean build but strong and with good bone. Each player had 4-6 horses (and full tack on all horses) they switched between chukkers (7 minute play sections, 6 per game). I can't imagine having that much tack!

These were all pretty good (ranked) players. Men and women played together. In the game we played there was one super tough lady, she did a lot of the scoring (and penalties), and was a bit of a standout. Her horses were near us. It was interesting to watch her canter over, jump off, grab the horse from her crew, take off again.

It is a very complicated sport, I'd love to take a lesson (I looked it up later, incredibly expensive). All the horses had on double bridles and martingales, to keep them from flinging their head (I assume). Not my thing, but every sport has it's specialties. And no mane to grab, they're all shaved off to not get in the way. I wondered how these horses would do on the trail, they're pretty used to some perfectly manicured lawn! But they are in some pretty great shape.

They finish the season this weekend, as the temperatures were already soaring in the desert. Made it just in time. It was nice to be able to see horses while on vacation, but I was sure glad to get home and see Major!


  1. I played polo in college and it is INCREDIBLY fun. It was a major influence in my early riding (that and civil war reenacting cannon teams) and so never sat a canter until I got into Dressage.....I LIKE posting at the canter. It feels so much easier and natural to me :). I agree - polo is crazy expensive. I board at a polo barn, so sometimes "dink around" a bit but honestly it is hard on my wrist and shoulder right now, so I haven't done it a whole lot.

    1. Wow, how cool that you board at a polo barn! I am going to try posting the canter, it'll probably be strange. I think it would be fun to just play around with it, though I've got a bad shoulder, probably not the best idea. It looks pretty tough on your body, those riders were strong and tough.