There is no time like the present to have your first experience of playing polo. You will see from previous articles the winter arena season is ideal for complete beginners to start taking lessons as the smaller enclosed area is easier for the instructor to stay close to you, and you will feel more confident about riding for the first time.
The first thing to do is book a lesson. Contact the team at the Academy and we can talk to you about what you need to bring and what is involved. We teach Tuesday through to Sunday, the weekends being the most popular times, but weekday evenings are available too as the arena is floodlit, so have your calendar open and some times in mind.
There are two options available with the Academy for complete beginners. The Polo Experience is a two hour session. It is designed to give you a taste of the sport and is perfect for someone that doesn’t know much about polo but fancies having ‘a go’. The instructor starts the lesson by running through the game, explaining the basic rules, and showing you some match footage. Now you know what you are supposed to be doing you get to try some of the shots you’ve seen using a mallet on foot or on the wooden horse.
By the end of this half hour session you should be warmed up and shedding that body warmer! Now you are introduced to a polo pony. This will be a very quiet horse that is used to being ridden by complete beginners. Your instructor will explain and demonstrate everything to you. By the end of this session you should be steering and moving the horse from walk into trot.
Here’s the bit you’ve been waiting for – you combine hitting a ball with riding the horse – you’re playing polo! Don’t expect too much, it’s much harder than hitting the ball from a wooden horse. But I’m sure you’ll be having a lot of fun especially as the session ends with a taste of what it’s like to play in a game with an instructional chukka.
The Polo Experience gives you as much of a taste of the game as is possible for a complete beginner in a couple of hours. You should know whether this is for you or not.
Assuming polo is for you the Introduction Lessons are the next step. These one hour lessons will concentrate on developing your riding and maybe only cover one or two shots per session. These are designed for you to build up the skills and some rules knowledge to advance to instructional chukkas.
Both Polo Experience and Introduction Lessons can be taken individually or with friends. Group lessons can be fun and introduce a healthy element of competitiveness!
So the next thing to do is book a lesson! Good luck and enjoy.