SUPA Polo Players.
The Schools and Universities Polo Association works to introduce young people to polo. Founded in 1991 by five senior schools and later associating with two universities, SUPA expanded as a members association to include other Universities in 1994 and invited seven Junior (Prep) Schools to join in 1994. In 2005 SUPA was incorporated by its member institutions as Schools and Universities Polo Association Limited. In 2014 SUPA became a registered UK Charity.
SUPA organises and runs seven National Tournaments in all the levels at various Polo Clubs throughout the country as well as organising the SUPA International Festival in early July, where SUPA hosts incoming International teams as well as featuring matches with our best Ladies, Schools and University players. Over the last few years international teams included Hungary, Poland, Italy, Dubai, France, West Indies, New Zealand, Kenya, India, Chile and Argentina.
An active winter (arena) programme is also run allowing both regular and new players to practise and play all year round. SUPA in 2009 launched a scheme to certify all its beginner and novice players for Polo Riding proficiency in an innovative programme partially supported by sponsors’ Roxtons. This with tighter rules regarding pony hire has ensured the safety and welfare for both players and ponies and the formation of APSPH [Association of Polo Schools and Pony Hirers].
In 2009 SUPA instituted the Schools National Trials in order to bring transparency and inclusion of all Senior School players by assessing representative players during a programme of field and off-the-field exercises. This process forms the basis for Stewards, who may also nominate, to identify the better players to be recognised and selected for national and international Representative Teams.
Today there continues an extensive winter and summer polo programme for Junior Schools, Senior Schools and Universities. The 2015 summer programme features four open events: National Junior Schools, National Senior Schools and a unique National Girls Schools and the very popular National Universities Tournaments. All of these tournaments feature beginners, novice, intermediate, combined and open divisions in order to include all levels of interest and ability.
The Ryan Pemble Polo Academy teaches and coaches for Wellington College as part of the SUPA programme. The students undergo a detailed course covering riding, technique, the rules and game tactics. Beginners concentrate on developing their riding skills and half seat before progressing to learning the basic shots. The intermediate lessons move on to more technical and advanced shots. Instructional chukkas are played with heavy emphasis on the rules and coaching to develop good team play for competitive polo. The students are divided into small groups so they receive good individual attention from Ryan’s HPA qualified academy instructors. The aim is to introduce the students to this fun and competitive sport in a safe environment.