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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul. 23, 2013
    Posts
    1,169

    Default Polo Clinic

    I just got roped into going to a polo clinic.

    My DH wanted to go, and his only other semi-horse riding friend agreed to go with him. DH rides periodically (i.e. takes lessons when time permits, and goes trail riding with me during vacations), but doesn't have his own horse and doesn't like mine. Likes the idea of polo.

    Well his friend backed out. So since we already paid for him, that means I have to go.

    I just signed a 3 page waiver. One of the questions is "When we put you in the ambulance, anything we need to tell them?"

    It also says that once you don't hit your wooden horses legs, then they let you on the real ones.

    Dear lord. What did we sign up for!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar. 18, 2000
    Location
    Brantford, Ontario
    Posts
    3,334

    Default

    I have a couple of friends who are born-and-bred H/J rider that tried it. They liked it so much that they both took a few more lessons after the clinic!



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct. 15, 2010
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    1,562

    Default

    My brother learned to ride at the age of 46 so that he could play polo. He is now very involved in amateur polo in Scottsdale,playing and being a referee every weekend.
    It's a great sport and I would love to take some lessons,but I already have more hobbies than time.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun. 18, 2011
    Posts
    3,031

    Default

    Do it! Its a lot of fun! a couple of years ago my hubby grabbed my dressagehorse and did a polo
    lesson with her

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqeZNjzizZU
    https://www.facebook.com/Luckyacresfarm
    "DonĀ“t put words in my mouth" by RodeoFTW



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar. 30, 2009
    Location
    CA to Costa Rica to WI
    Posts
    1,858

    Default

    You'll have a great time!

    Well, I think you will. I've actually never played, but I did exercise some ponies for a while which included doing some "stick and ball" with them. I was horrible, but loved it!

    When is the clinic? If you have time, one of the hardest things was looking down at the ball while I cantered up to it. It went against all that has been ingrained in me and messed with my balance more than I expected. Also, if your horse will tolerate it, you can play with throwing your weight all over the saddle. Heavily leaning into one stirrup or the other, twisting your hips and shoulders every which direction, etc.

    But, again, I've never played, so my advice it probably worth what you paid for it.
    Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

    Fourteen Months Living and Working in Costa Rica



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep. 2, 2010
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    228

    Default

    You'll have fun! I just had a polo lesson at Empire Polo Club in Indio, CA. Had a great, tolerant horse. I was glad I didn't have to learn to ride and play polo at the same time. I learned the hitting basics, and how to apply them, and then did so, quite badly! It was mostly walking and me trying to hit the ball. "Trying" being the main word there. I'd get cocky, try to trot some, and promptly miss the ball. I hope you're a better player than I was! I still think I might pick up a mallet and practice on my own horse, it was fun!

    Blog post about my experience: http://trails-and-trials-with-major....polo-2016.html
    "Do your best, and leave the rest, twill all come right, some day or night" -Black Beauty

    http://trails-and-trials-with-major.blogspot.com/



  7. #7

    Default

    I am so so excited someone else on this forum finally brought up polo! It's my discipline of choice but there's no sub forum sadly ): I'll give you some advice here, but let me know if you have any specific questions.

    1) You're going to suck at first. A lot. It helps if you know how to ride before hand, but it's still going to be like signing up for hockey lessons when you only know how to skate. You'll fall on your ass less, but don't expect to be hitting and running in your first lesson. Don't get discouraged!

    2) If you are playing chukkers with other beginners ask them if they have helmets with cages and make sure you wear knee guards. I'm sure you have a pretty hunter helmet you'd rather use, but your nose will thank you later when it's not broken at the end of the match.

    3) Polo ponies are not like hunters! They may wear English tack, but that's where the similarities end. They are more equivalent to cutting or reining horses training wise. A good polo pony does not need constant rein/leg contact so it may be counter intuitive but lay off and just use your seat and neck rein. You should only be pulling on their mouths to slow down/stop and only use leg to go forward. It may be tempting to try and get a nice bend or collect or collect your horse, but resist the urge! You should not be micromanaging your mount.

    4) Polo is a team sport! This may sound obvious, but it isn't always intuitive to a lot of riders from other disciplines where it's all about being a star. Be nice and introduce yourself to your teammates, always thank the umpire, and shake hands with everyone at the end and say "good game." It takes multiple people to play polo, and if they don't like playing with you they don't have to invite you back.

    5) Polo is full contact, very often coed, and highly competitive. I've seen a lot of dressage/hunter riders crumble after their first real ride off. It's not a personal attack, it's just how the game is played. This is where people tend to either love it or hate it, and probably why adrenaline junkies tend to be prevalent among polo players. The high speed plays can be a huge high or wet your pants terrifying (maybe even both!)

    I'd recommend wearing white jeans if you have them (breeches are an OK alternative, but they're really not durable enough for polo and full seat is a no no), a solid colored polo tucked in with a belt, and whatever boots/chaps you like riding in, the thicker the better. Have fun!!! I'd love to know how it goes


    1 members found this post helpful.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul. 23, 2013
    Posts
    1,169

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Greypolopony View Post
    I am so so excited someone else on this forum finally brought up polo! It's my discipline of choice but there's no sub forum sadly ): I'll give you some advice here, but let me know if you have any specific questions.

    1) You're going to suck at first. A lot. It helps if you know how to ride before hand, but it's still going to be like signing up for hockey lessons when you only know how to skate. You'll fall on your ass less, but don't expect to be hitting and running in your first lesson. Don't get discouraged!

    2) If you are playing chukkers with other beginners ask them if they have helmets with cages and make sure you wear knee guards. I'm sure you have a pretty hunter helmet you'd rather use, but your nose will thank you later when it's not broken at the end of the match.

    3) Polo ponies are not like hunters! They may wear English tack, but that's where the similarities end. They are more equivalent to cutting or reining horses training wise. A good polo pony does not need constant rein/leg contact so it may be counter intuitive but lay off and just use your seat and neck rein. You should only be pulling on their mouths to slow down/stop and only use leg to go forward. It may be tempting to try and get a nice bend or collect or collect your horse, but resist the urge! You should not be micromanaging your mount.

    4) Polo is a team sport! This may sound obvious, but it isn't always intuitive to a lot of riders from other disciplines where it's all about being a star. Be nice and introduce yourself to your teammates, always thank the umpire, and shake hands with everyone at the end and say "good game." It takes multiple people to play polo, and if they don't like playing with you they don't have to invite you back.

    5) Polo is full contact, very often coed, and highly competitive. I've seen a lot of dressage/hunter riders crumble after their first real ride off. It's not a personal attack, it's just how the game is played. This is where people tend to either love it or hate it, and probably why adrenaline junkies tend to be prevalent among polo players. The high speed plays can be a huge high or wet your pants terrifying (maybe even both!)

    I'd recommend wearing white jeans if you have them (breeches are an OK alternative, but they're really not durable enough for polo and full seat is a no no), a solid colored polo tucked in with a belt, and whatever boots/chaps you like riding in, the thicker the better. Have fun!!! I'd love to know how it goes

    Thanks! We are Ontario and it's not intense polo. The club is held at a ranch that does western riding and they are trying to make it bigger. The clinic is low key, just getting the basics.

    I am a former eventer who is now in the army. I hope I am tough enough! More worried about my wimpy air force hubby!

    The instructions said full seat breeches or jeans ? I will definitely be asking about helmets with cage but I didn't see any in the photos. More reason to pick up a replacement Tipperary so that I don't have to use my samshield. Thanks



  9. #9

    Default

    If you have to choose between breeches and jeans, I'd go with the jeans. White is the polite and official color to wear, but for casual polo blue is fine. I'm not a fan of full seat because you don't want your butt in the saddle, which is a bad habit a lot of newbies tend towards anyways. You'll need to get in two-point a LOT (like every time you hit and then some) so having pants that stick to your seat is counter productive in my opinion. I play scrimmages in knee-patch breeches sometimes and they're alright; they're just not going to give you the extra protection from hits and scrapes that jeans will.

    Cages are still very much considered "optional" especially by grass/male players who don't like to wear them. I got used to wearing them because the USPA requires them in the scholastic/collegiate circuit. Some players claim they can be dangerous if a mallet gets wedged in the cage, but you have to weigh that against the possibly of losing an eye, teeth, or breaking a nose. I would have broken my nose twice over from teenage boys swinging into my face if not for my cage and I've met players who've lost eyes, so I'm personally very pro-cage. It's your call; if shouldn't be a big deal in a clinic, but if the polo bug bites you they do sell cages you can snap on (if you want a removable one) or permanent screw in versions.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul. 23, 2013
    Posts
    1,169

    Default

    We had an absolute blast! It's a very laid back club, our area is not known for polo so it's just some people who loved the sport bought some land and some ponies.

    There was 4 of us learning, and 2 coaches. We spent a couple hours in the morning learning how to swing and some of the rules (so many rules). Despite having a handicap being a lefty, I had a bit of an advantage as a former broomball player. The swing is similar. Of course the two guys were just all together better. On the ground that is. After lunch we saddled up our ponies and headed into learn.

    I had the only TB, so it was the shortest person on the biggest horse, but I wasn't complaining. My guy was the bomb. Super responsive to everything, and incredibly game. My husband was super into the rules and the strategy of the game, and had great control of the ball immediately. However, couldn't get his little QH moving faster then a sllllooooowwww trot. (Fine by me - he hasn't ridden much in the past 6 months)

    Me? I just wanted to go fast and hit the ball. I also enjoyed the pushing (forget what it is called) and my horse enjoyed that even as a newb I was happy to go. The coaches were happy they matched us together because it was more fun for Jeb.

    We got to play little scrimmages for about an hour. They have indoor polo every month and you can 'rent' one of the polo ponies. We will 100% be doing it. My husbands comment when leaving was

    "This is riding to me. It's a sport, its a blast, and I have never had more fun on horseback"


    1 members found this post helpful.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct. 31, 2009
    Location
    USEA-Area 3/USHJA-Zone 4/USDF-Region 3
    Posts
    506

    Default

    Polo ponies are the best! Not only are they incredible athletes, but they really understand how to play the game. I can't tell you how many times I have accidentally run over the ball, only to have a good playing pony tap the ball with a hoof to put it right back in play.

    I play at home with a foot mallet, and that has helped my hitting a lot. Some people play polo on bikes, too.

    The best part is that it feels like breaking all the rules-- don't ride too close to the other horses; slow down; stay centered on your horse-- when you're doing it right! Can you imagine going into the warm-up ring at a show and riding someone off?!?

    It's amazing cross-training, too; my two-point is a million times stronger now!
    Leadline is a legitimate reason to have children.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    May. 4, 2003
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    19,621

    Default

    Use your right hand, even if you are left handed.
    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul. 23, 2013
    Posts
    1,169

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Foxtrot's View Post
    Use your right hand, even if you are left handed.
    Oh I know. That's why I was at a disadvantage. I swung once with my left and had a wicked shot. We were all sad I had to play with my right!



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar. 10, 2006
    Posts
    1,433

    Default

    Many years ago our local Hunt Club organized a clinic which was held at my place. My pony clubber students had my horse all decked out in lime green polos and matching tail bandage.

    We provided much comic relief. When I swung the mallet my horse would back up as quickly as possible. Every time the ball came his way he jumped up on all four. Needless to say we did not continue. In a way it was a shame as he was otherwise very handy.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  15. #15

    Default

    I'm so glad to hear you had fun! It sounds like you really clicked with the game and your mount

    Don't be too discouraged about being a lefty, it will be a little harder at first, but every lefty I know is unbelievably good at nearsides! It's like a weird trade-off or something.

    Arena is a great a totally underrated kind of polo! I love it because that's how I learned to play. Grass is fun (and easier) but arena is much more physical and tactical, and it can be played year round. Best of luck!



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