Where can I watch a polo match?
In today's Journal entry, we look at some of the best places to take in a polo match, and what you can expect as a newcomer to the sport of kings.
It's hard not fall in love with this thrilling game. A combination of unrivalled horsemanship, competitive spirit and British Summer traditions combine to make each polo match an event to remember. Photograph by Game Ready Equine.
When is the polo season?
The polo season typically runs from April to September in the Northern Hemisphere, and can be enjoyed in the Southern Hemisphere from the October to March.
Cartier Queen's Cup
This year, the Cartier Queen's Cup ran from the 17th of May to the 11th of June. It is a long-standing tradition for HM the Queen to present the winners with their trophy at the grand presentation ceremony, which marks the end of this famous competition.
Photograph by Sam Churchill.
British Polo Day
British Polo Day is a worldwide event which takes place throughout the year, in various countries from India to Dubai, to Morocco and Great Britain. Look out for the next event in June 2017, for ''a celebration of British luxury and heritage in a polo events network that spans the world''.
British Beach Polo Championships
The exclusive Sandbanks beach is the destination for beach polo in the Summer. Grandstand seats and glamorous after parties only add to this exciting seafront location.
©2015 Clive Bennett Photography.
The British Ladies Open Championship
Support women's polo by attending an exciting match like the La Martina British Ladies Championship at Cowdray park, which takes place in the beautiful ground of the National Heritage site in Sussex.
Polo played on snow is a sight not-to-be-missed. Here in St Moritz, you can enjoy this impressive game in January/February time, in the wonderland of the Swiss Alps.
Argentine Open Polo Tournament
This is our wild card recommendation: A highlight of the polo season in one of the best destinations for polo in the world.
The Argentine Open is the fifth oldest polo competition in the world, where you can see the world's finest players compete in the most glamorous of settings. pampeano has its roots in the polo fields of Argentina in La Pampa, where we began as suppliers of premium polo equipment to professionals and enthusiasts alike.
This year, the Argentine Open is running from November the 14th to December the 5th.
what to expect
There is a wonderfully social atmosphere at a polo game, and the enthusiasm for the sport of kings is tangible in the air, as everybody congregates for this most thrilling game.
tips for the newcomer
It may be daunting to arrive at a situation where everybody seems to be a polo expert. With these conversation starters, you can breeze through!
- The Umpire
If those around you are lamenting their sides’s luck, blaming the umpire is a failsafe response.
- The Horses
Polo ponies are beautiful creatures, and trained to an extremely high standard. We always use the word ‘pony’, but it is somewhat of a misnomer, so don’t be confused when you discover horses fully grown, powerful and professional!
There are two types of shots in this game, a ‘neck shot’, which you can recognise when the player swings the ball under the neck of the horse. The ‘cut shot’ is a tricky move, and is made by riding forward whilst hitting the ball to the right.
A backhand is required when the player is on the defensive. An ‘open backhand’ travels away from the horse, and a ‘tail backhand’ is played between the horses’ tail.
what happens at half-time?
One of the best things about polo is that spectators get a chance to be involved in the proceedings. This is an experience that is not always afforded to those who visit other types of matches, and makes the day all the more memorable. We are referring, of course, to the much-loved tradition of ‘divot-stomping’. At half-time, spectators are invited onto the field and everybody joins the throng to tread down the grass kicked up during the polo game.
For more about the rules and customs of polo, click here.
what to wear
You will see polo players kitted out in the famous whites, paired with a coloured polo shirt and that recognisable cap. Even the ponies sport team colours with bandages which are look extra-smart on the polo field.
polo ponies sporting bandages in their team colours.
For the spectators, it may depend on the particular polo match. At smarter venues, more formal attire is required. In general, you will never go wrong with a crisp shirt, a blazer or loose jacket and some chinos. Add a handstitched polo belt for some South American luxury, and express your individuality with a statement piece that will always be a talking point.
Polo is one of our very favourite parts of the British Summer, but it is important to be prepared for all weathers. Sunglasses are a must, along with smart outerwear such as a good waxed jacket.