By: Ben Dobbs
As someone who does not have much experience riding horses the idea of playing polo does not sound that exciting. In fact when I was told that we were going to be playing polo I slightly shrugged at the idea.
Even though I enjoy riding horses, trying new things and taking on challenges headfirst the idea of running down a field with a stick on a horse did not sound appealing.
However as we were riding in the car to the polo fields I got to hear stories from our professor of how great polo really was. I was still a little bit skeptical but as we pulled up to the fields and saw people practicing I started to change my mind.
When we met our instructor, he started off telling us some simple safety tips and a quick over view of how to play polo. It seemed easy enough you get on the horse, hold on and hit a ball with a stick. Easier said than done.
When we mounted our horses I suddenly felt that I was ten feet off the ground. I did not feel like my life was in my hands any more.
The instructor led us on to the field and let us ride around to get used to being on the horses. After riding around for a little while I finally felt comfortable on the horse. I started to get a lot more excited thinking this is going to be fun.
I thought to my-self I might actually enjoy this. The instructor said it was time to grab the mallets and start hitting the ball and learn the rules. I thought it was going to be easy. All you have to do is look for the ball, get your horse to go up to the ball, swing and hit the ball. Needless to say I missed the ball quite a few times.
After playing around for a little while we got ready to start a match. If you have never seen a polo match the beginning of the match looks like two groups about to standoff and go to war. The two teams line up across from each other. The ball is thrown into the middle and the game begins.
Everyone is scrambling around for the ball and it looks like a bunch of ants going for food. But after one team gains possession of the ball the game starts to get more interesting.
The only thing that was on my mind during the match was that I wanted to score a point and I did not want to fall off. Luckily I accomplished both. I didn’t fall and managed to score a point in the last half of the game. It was so invigorating to be riding down the field hitting the ball, as it got closer to the goal. When I made contact with the ball that one last time and it went into the goal the feeling was incredible.
By the time the match was done I did not want to get off. I wanted to keep playing and improving my skills in a game I know found incredible.
My only piece of advise for polo is that if you do not ride horses often you might want to prepare to be sore. For the next couple of days I was very sore and had to sit in the hot tub at the hotel for quite a few hours.
If you ever get the chance to play polo I highly recommend it. It is a very exhilarating experience. There is no greater felling than scoring a goal in polo.
If you are as skeptical about polo as I was, I can guarantee that if you give the sport a chance you will change you mind in a heartbeat.
So the next time you have an opportunity to play polo, go out and experience all the fun that it has to offer. If you spend one day out on the field you will not regret playing polo.