The sport of polo has become synonymous with the seemingly wealthy. After all, it is called the sport of kings. From playing the game itself to watching a match, when one thinks of polo it’s accompanied by images of fancy attire, lavish set ups, and large grandstands. While that can be the case, polo remains accessible to the masses and the benefits of polo are not exclusive to the affluent.
The Benefits of Playing Polo
Most competitive polo players start learning the game at a very young age. Around age 17-19 they become skilled enough to begin playing in high goal tournaments (think of it as the big leagues), and players typically reach peak performance between 25 and 35. The years of training comes with a range of athletic benefits— improved hand-eye coordination, upper body strength, posture, evaluation skills, and balance.
But the most unique benefit of polo is derived from the connection to the horse itself. Players are in tune with their horses throughout the game, from the way it might feel, emotionally, to the way it moves. A player’s understanding of their equine counterparts is as much a priority as their own physical ability. As such, the human-horse bond is therapeutic and intuitive. It builds trust and confidence, both on and off the field.
“In this particular case, horses are like teammates. They train for an objective together, improving together, and they also share the high and lows together. Players spend their whole days in the barn with their horses,” Harlan Zeerip, Director of Marketing and Events for Greenwich Polo Club. “They are taking care of an animal, being there to understand and give them what they need.”
The Benefits of Attending a Match
Polo grounds are breathtakingly beautiful, measuring in at 300 yards long and 160 yards wide (the equivalence of five football fields). With attractive grounds that span 80 acres, Greenwich Polo Club has seen an increase in attendance for 2021. The open air and open field provides benefits to those attending a match, as well as the players.
It’s been proven that being surrounded by nature can reduce stress, increase happiness, lower blood pressure, and boost the immune system. Unlike the concrete stadiums of other sporting events, trees oftentimes line the perimeter as polo players battle on the greenest of fields. Whether spectators sit in the grandstands or pack a picnic and lay out on the lawn, polo is an outing suitable for all ages looking to escape urban life— even if only for a few hours. The tranquility of the polo ground is matched by the rush of adrenaline as players fly by. And it can all be enjoyed in whichever setting guests are most comfortable with.
If you’re new to polo and are curious to learn more about it, or even interested in playing, visit the United States Polo Association website for more information.
Catch a match live and in-person this season. Greenwich Polo Club matches are on Sunday September 5, 12, 19, and 26. Can’t make it to Connecticut? Be sure to check out Bethpage Polo at the Park , on Long Island, with matches on Saturday September 4, 11, and 25.