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Thursday, 9 October 2014

POLO IS THE NEW HORSE RACING

Do you like horses? Chances are, you do.  Some friends had the gorgeous idea to go to the races in Berlin, which was fabulous: The atmosphere, dressing up, sipping drinks sitting on a blanket loosing money, marvelling at the beauty and speed of these creatures and their tiny jockeys. We even danced some swing in the break as they were playing some tunes.

So I was happy when I found out that Houston has a Polo Club, where you can go and see a match every Sunday in fall and spring. Horse races are rather short and you only see a few seconds when the horses pass by in high speed, but Polo games last for about two hours.
The Polo Club is situated in  Herman Park and is actually not too far away. The Club house is beautiful, unfortunately, the non-VIP guests with the affordable tickets are seated on the other side of the field.
The sport developed in ancient Persia and then spread through the British Empire. It was very popular in India and nowadays Argentina is the best Polo country. The field is massive, and the horses have to sprint a lot, which is why the players change horses a lot. One player uses up to 8 horses in one game!
What seems most difficult to me is to hit the small ball from a cantering horse. I love horse riding and enjoy going fast, but I am bad with balls in general. The horses are called ponies and have to be fast and agile at the same time.
Watching the game is pretty intense, and also you cannot always see the ball, it is fantastic to see and hear the horses speed over the grass. Polo is played in four to six units of seven minutes, so-called chukkers. In the half time, visitors are invited to come onto the field to pat patches of grass back in place and to mingle. They also served free champagne, but it started to rain so we only snapped a few pictures.
It was hot and I wore my bathing suit as top. Also handy in the rain (thus the funny face). While we were waiting for the shower to pass, birds descended on the field.
And an Icelandic vodka company had a promotion where I drank the best Bloody Mary I ever had! Yum!
I do not even remember which team won, but that is of only minor importance. By the time it was over, it was already dusk and too dark to take more pictures. Just this little grey one stuck his head out...
So why not spend your next Sunday afternoon out in the polo fields?

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