Taking Up Polo.
I imagine if you are thinking about taking up polo you already have been to watch a game or two. During the summer polo is played on grass and the teams are made up of four players. Polo carries on in the winter but is played in an enclosed arena with teams of three. The two types are known as outdoor polo and arena polo.
Beginning in the winter, in the arena, is a great time to start learning how to play polo. You don’t need to be a member of a club to learn. Lessons are booked through an instructor or club that has a riding school license, and you will use the club’s ponies. You don’t need to own a string of horses to start learning polo. In fact many players rent and if you play less than twice a week this can be cheaper than owning.
The arena is possibly a better environment than outdoors to take your first lessons, especially if you are new to riding. The enclosed space gives you confidence and will help you remain in closer contact with your instructor. When you move on to playing instructional chukkas you will find the fact that there are three-a-side instead of four means you get to hit more ball.
Ryan’s polo school is available to teach and coach all levels of polo. Courses are designed for complete beginners that may never have been on a horse before through to those that regularly play but want to improve further. The academy is involved with SUPA (The Schools and Universities Polo Association) helping develop new talent in the sport, and its instructors are HPA certified.
This website contains detailed information about learning to play polo and the types of lessons available, but please contact Ryan if you need further information.
You do not need to buy anything at first. You can start learning in jeans or baggy trousers, boots with a heel and an ordinary riding hat (the club should have some safety hats if you don’t have your own). You can invest in specialist polo kit as you go along and will be advised by your instructor.
As a guide if you want to learn polo it will help if you can practice your riding (when riding you can carry a polo stick without using it and practise stopping, starting and turning). You also will need to learn, understand and remember the rules, most of which exist for safety (your instructor will work on this with you). You may find watching videos of games helps you to understand the rules and tactics. Learning to play polo is even better if you have a friend who can take lessons with you. And lastly, be prepared to have a lot of fun.