Polo is a highly technical sport as it combines horse riding with a team game and some complex rules. It is important for anybody who wants to start playing to research who will be teaching them. Make sure you are being taught by an HPA instructor and with horses from a certified riding school otherwise you might not be insured.
Starter lessons are available at Ryan’s Polo Academy. There is the option of taking a two hour Polo Experience, which is aimed to be a relaxed and enjoyable first experience of polo for people that may not have ridden a horse before. The Introduction Lessons are intended for people that are already confident with horses and maybe have some riding experience as a starting point. Polo is not a simple sport to pick up and on average about ten lessons are needed before you have built up the skills to start instructional chukkas.
There are four basic shots that we concentrate on teaching you. Once you begin to master these shots you will be ready to join instructional chukkas. There are two shots, one hitting the ball forward and one backward, to learn from either side of the pony. You will be taught how to raise yourself in the saddle, known as the half seat, so you have the flexibility to move around to hit the ball. You will work at different speeds on the horse, learning to change the speed of its canter up and down. Once you have good control of the horse the instructor can start to add some finesse to your play, teaching you how to dribble the ball, adjusting the horses speed and direction in reaction to changes in the ball’s direction.
There will be an element of theory incorporated into these lessons. The instructor will give you an understanding of the basic rules of the game. You will learn about the ‘line of the ball’ and ‘right of way’ around which most of the game’s rules are based. The instructor will also introduce you to some of the tactics for the game, about marking, riding off and finding space.
Be warned – polo is a highly addictive game and very time consuming… it is also incredibly good fun and an amazing sport to play. You will love it.