This month, I started playing polo for the first time. And depending on who you ask, you will get a different answer on my level of riding experience before lessons started.
In any case, this is the first in a series of articles that I am writing for PoloWeekly that will follow my journey as a beginner in polo. Hopefully, for those of you out there thinking about joining a club or taking lessons, it will act as the extra push that you need to give it a go.
Now before diving in, lets cover some of the basics so you have a clear picture of where I’m starting and can judge accordingly for your own purposes…
I’m in my mid-30s, in relatively good shape, fairly athletic, and above average competitive. So far, those all seem like decent enough traits for polo.
I did not grow up riding or playing polo. But I have ridden before, albeit on poorly trained horses of 14 hands or less – very small.
And as far as my teachers go, I’m not being trained by a “pro” but I am being coached by four very patient players with over 20 years experience playing polo and another 10-20 years of riding experience on top of that.
A few months ago, I attended a fantastic polo event where I got to see the sport up close and personal for the first time. I had been to polo events before, but those were more social outings where the focus was on the champagne. This was the real deal.
After showing some interest, one of the members graciously invited me out to learn how to play. And to my surprise, followed up almost immediately to make sure I held up my end of the bargain.
What I didn’t know was how community centric and family oriented polo really is. It was a fantastic environment to be welcomed into and a great way to be introduced to the sport.
I don’t like to lose. But more than anything, I don’t like being bad at something. So when it comes to something new, I like to put in whatever effort is necessary to learn that skill that I lack. With that preface shared, it’s no surprise that polo has quickly become something of an obsession.
And what’s crazy is that no one seems to be surprised that I have immediately attached myself to the sport. Apparently, in polo anyway, it’s completely normal. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read all of the articles and the interviews that talked about polo being an instant obsession, but I didn’t quite understand just how powerful it was… now I do.
Only a week in and I’m already dreaming of buying horses, flying to Argentina to train, and going to tournaments around the world.
If you think all that’s expensive, it’s because it is, which brings me to the next point…
How much does polo cost?
Polo isn’t cheap. Whether you’re interested in getting involved in the sport for the first time as a beginner or looking to get back into the game after a short hiatus. The cost of renting horses, purchasing equipment, and taking lessons is prohibitive for most people.
But it can be done, if you already know how to ride, then the best way that I have found through my research is to attend a training camp for intensive polo. This usually consists of four hours per day, and depending on where you go can expect to spend between $175 – $500 US dollars per day per person.
While that might seem expensive, the cost includes your accommodations, food expenses, lessons, and usually unlimited riding. But again, it all depends on where you go. And as with anything, you will want to shop around to find the best fit for you.
I’ll follow up soon with my research on polo camps in Argentina, including a break down of the costs, expected services, and generally what I’m hearing from others!
Also, in my next post in the series on Learning to Play Polo, I’ll dive into what I’ve been learning in my first few lessons, and more specifically, the challenges that I’ve been facing as a newcomer to the sport.
To read Part 2 in the Learning to Play series from Michael click here.