After their racing careers are over, many horses are not ready to retire from an active life and luckily can move on to alternative equestrian sports.
One very active sport is polo where the horse needs to be fast to outride the opponent and get to the ball quicker. They also need to have agility, manoeuvrability, quick reflexes and be ready for sudden bursts of speed. Many OTTBs (Off the Track Thoroughbreds) make fantastic polo ponies due to their speed, stamina and athleticism.
On Saturday 27th July, courtesy of Bloxham PR, Eclipse Magazine’s Fashion Editor was invited to watch the Hurlingham Polo International between Frasers England and GRM Argentina at The Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club.
Many OTTBs were playing and could be easily spotted by a little round RoR sticker on their hindquarters. RoR is British horseracing’s official charity for the welfare of horses who have retired from racing. The charity promotes the versatility and adaptability of racehorses for other equestrian activities and provides the necessary infrastructure and funding to care for former racehorses that would otherwise be vulnerable. https://www.ror.org.uk/
GRM Argentina won 14 goals to 6 and were presented with the Coronation Cup.
The sponsors who supported this annual spectacular included Frasers, Paul & Shark, Flannels, Globe-Trotter, CNBC, FT How to Spend it, De Vere Hotels and Thai Polo. The chosen charity for this year’s event was World Horse Welfare.
Polo ponies are actually full sized horses – it is just tradition to call them ponies. Moreover, we must admit the alliteration smoothly rolls off the tongue.
The majority of polo ponies are mares.
A grass polo field is enormous! – 300 yards by 160 yards so those polo ponies need a lot of stamina.
Players change horses every period of play in a match. A period of play is called a chukka and lasts seven minutes with an interval of three minutes between each chukka. A grass polo match may have six chukkas – so each player uses multiple horses.
At half time, the interval is extended to five minutes when spectators are invited to go onto the pitch and tread in divots.