Aug 182017

By Patty Wilber

I went to a polo game while in Hawaii!  I had never been to a polo game.

It turns out all sorts of people, not just the horsey type, will come tailgate and hang out at a polo match!   At $12 per head.  Businesses also sponsor tables.  Too bad we couldn’t harness such interest for cow horse events.  Maybe if we have tents with tables, serve champagne and…add a tropical beach!

Polo has four players per team and each has a position, but if you are new to polo, it is not super obvious what the positions do.  The object of the game is to hit a ball through the goal.  If that occurs, the game restarts at the center and the teams switch which goal they are attacking.

My best picture of the horses was during the introductory gallop and not the game. The legs are wrapped with, yes, “polo wraps.” This term is used by many horse people to describe leg wraps. Fleece is a common material, but I do not know what material the polo horses were using.

There is out of bounds, and one of the balls came quite near us and Rick caught it.  The riders all came rushing over yelling, “Don’t throw it! Don’t throw it!” because the horses will chase the ball!  The officials carry extra balls and one came to restart the game.

The officials also carry a claw so they can get balls without dismounting.

See the ball claw?

The fact that the horses learn to chase the ball made me wonder if cow-bred horses that like to track things would be good at polo.  The polo horses were quite a bit bigger than the average cow pony, though. The polo mounts showed speed and bravery in a crowd when trying for the ball, which a cow horse might also be good at.

One of the rules of polo is that when a ball is struck, no one can cross the line of the ball in such a way as to impeded forward progress of the rider in pursuit of the ball.  Since polo has been around for maybe 2000 years, that made me think that the term  “crossing the line”, might have originated with polo, but found no evidence to support my brilliant hypothesis.

One of the traditions of polo is that at halftime spectators go out on the field and “stomp the divots” created by the running horses.  This helps keep the grounds in good shape and is kind of fun!

Divot, to be stomped.

These people do not have a walking disorder. They are stomping the divots!

In addition to the pedal (you know like manual, but with feet) repair, there was also the polo version of a Zamboni that rolled the middle of the field to help flatten things out.

After the game we had a quick jaunt to the beach at the polo field, with Leilani.  When she gets a little bigger, you know, two or so, she can come to Grama Patty’s Ranch Camp, to balance out all her salt water adventures! And hey, she did experience an equestrian event within the first two weeks of life!

Rick, Leilani and Maegan!