I finally got to see a polo match in person!!!!!
And on the same day I got to ride in a cart pulled by an adorable pony!!!!
Now that I've shared the exciting news I'll tell you the whole story and share the rest of the pictures. A friend of mine told me about a polo match they were holding nearby so I bought tickets somewhere around three months ago. I was a nervous wreck the whole time leading up to it because every time I plan something that far in advance something happens to mess it all up (after all it did take me three tries over the course of two or three years to go see Chrome's sire Jan!) Luckily everything worked out and the day was absolutely perfect. Even the weather cooperated. Well I was freezing, but everyone else and especially the ponies loved the cooler weather. It was definitely better than if it had been in the eighties or nineties. :D
We got there early and had a blast playing Sudoku on my husband's phone. :D We also got to see them setting up the polo field, goals, etc.
Then the game was on! It was awesome and our team won. :) Here are a bunch of pictures. They aren't the best because I was too engrossed in the match to pay attention to settings on my camera. It's also been having some problems since I dunked it in the pond.
This shows how the guy in black was blocking the one in white from helping his buddy with the ball.
This shows how they slam into each other.
Notice the knee guards in closer pictures...
The ref. I love the guy swinging in the background. I want to draw that!
They were tearing down the field!
I think they said it's the length of three football fields.
Make sure to enlarge the above picture so you can see his grabber stick for picking up the balls and his little pouch for carrying extras. So cool!
This was the only pony in either strings to have a mane. :)
I LOVE this picture and that horse!
Trying to block each other. I never realized how much of a contact sport polo is lol.
This horse SLAMMED on the brakes! I can't believe they can hit the ball at that speed!
Hauling butt down the field!!!!
Leaving the field to switch ponies for the next chukker. :)
High five congrats because they won the game.
They shook hands with the opposing team and ref too. They were all smiles and great sports. One tradition of polo is the divot stomping! During half time everyone in the crowd gets to go out on the field and smash the divots flat to keep the field looking nice and to keep the ponies from tripping. It was so much fun, but most everyone was too busy taking pictures lol.
I was all business stomping those divots.
Well until I found a polo ball that is LOL! They are plastic and weigh a lot less than you would think. They reminded me of large ping pong balls. :)
This was me all day. All smiles!!!
Sadly at the end of the match my camera finally died... :( It's giving me the same error that the earlier version of this same brand did when it died. So I'm switching to a different brand when I get a new camera. So the pictures of the pony cart ride are from my cell phone, which is why the quality is horrible. The guy was giving rides to all the kids and some of the volunteers, but I wasn't sure if guests could ride. When I asked he said absolutely! I was so excited. Then two other ladies asked to go so I got to ride in the front next to the driver. I also got lucky because the two ladies were relatives of the driver so he took us for a longer ride than everyone else. We were gone for sixteen minutes compared to the five minutes everyone else got! It was awesome!!!
We got to cross a covered bridge and listen to her hooves on the wood.
We went down a paved road a short way.
Down a path by the horse fields and up by the barn.
Around the polo field and even got to see behind the scenes (that's the scoreboard hehe).
Hubby got this one on our way back. Isn't the pony cute???
The cart was really cool. It had bicycle tires and the back half was removable. So it can be a two wheel or a four wheel cart. The front and back also moved independently up and down which made it smoother and safer on rough terrain. It's a good thing because he took us up and down some monster hills. That pony got a work out. She was such a good girl. I forgot to get pictures, but we even went behind the barn to where the polo pony rigs were set up. Those trailers were HUGE!
I had such an amazing day! I got to do two things that I've been wanting to do since I was a little kid. It was literally the best day I've had in a really long time and I'll never forget it. :D
For those of you unfamiliar with polo I'll give you a run down on the basics that I know (there is a LOT that I don't know). There are two teams of three players (I always thought it was four, but at this one it was three). There are four chukkers (like quarters in other sports). The chukkers I think were around ten minutes each. After each chukker they switch out to fresh ponies. During half time the riders get a break too. I think the match lasted just under an hour and a half. Each time someone scores they switch goals. There were some fouls for crossing in front of each other (dangerous) and some other things but I don't know about all of the different fouls. One guy got hit in the head with a ball, but he was fine and one horse got hit in the haunches, again he was fine. It's not a sport for the weak lol. There was a girl on each team (go girl power!). The horses are not actually ponies, but are normal sized Thoroughbreds and Thoroughbred crosses. I don't remember where the term polo pony came about, but that's just what they are called.
Now for anyone who is familiar with polo I have a question. I know they have a martingale and a gag bit on the horses, but if you enlarge my pictures you'll notice the snaffle rein is attached to the saddle, run through the bit and up to the rider's hands almost like draw reins..... I have never seen that before!!! Anyone know what that is about? It seems really harsh. I know they are riding fast, making sudden stops and sharp turns, but sheesh! Anyway I had fun even though the gear seemed a bit harsh. The horses seemed to really enjoy themselves, but they did gape their mouths open when the riders' cranked down on those reins. Hmm.. On a silly note I have to learn to braid Chrome's tail like that! He already has the roached mane (prevents the reins or mallet from getting tangled) hehe.