If you\’re looking for an exceptional experience this weekend, why not come out to the Calgary Polo Club this Saturday August 12, to watch the Canadian Open – Smithbilt Hat Day at 2:00 pm? Featuring the Canadian Open Match Game (12 Goal), fans can watch Highwood vs. Château D\’ESCLANS.
This weekend will also showcase their regular 4-goal games on Sunday, at 12 and 2pm.
The combination of speed, control and horsepower in polo is intoxicating. If you’re looking for some great family fun on the sidelines, or longing to renew your passion for equestrian sport, the Calgary Polo Club (CPC) is the perfect place for all levels of enthusiasm.
It’s interesting to note that some of Calgary, Alberta’s best polo players originally came from the discipline of team penning. People from a medley of other events find themselves enamoured with the sport, the first time they crush the ball down the field.
Polo culture involves tailgate picnics. Bring some chairs, a basket of delicatessens, a charcuterie board and cold beverages and your gathering of friends will think you picnic like an event-planner.
Social members can take in all the field-side exhilaration with the option to reserve white tents to block out the warmth of the sun on hot days. White VIP tents with designer leather furniture can additionally be reserved for a fee to make it a Sunday Funday like no other.
The sport of kings is dependent on the grace of equines. Men, women and children can all enjoy the game of polo, because the horse is an extraordinary equalizer.
There a few things you may want to know, before you go. The rules of the game are based on the right of way of players and the “line of the ball,” created each time the ball is hit. Once the ball is struck by a player an imaginary line is formed, creating the right of way for that player. No other player may cross the line in front, as doing so results in dangerous play. Crossing the line in front of speeding horses at right angles, is the most common foul in polo.
THROW IN: Umpires start the game by throwing the ball between the two teams that are lined up on different sides.
KNOCK IN: The defending team is allowed a free \’knock-in\’ from the place where the ball crossed the goal line if the ball goes wide of the goal, thus getting ball back into play.
RIDE OFF: Involves safely pushing one’s horse into the side of the opponent’s mount to take him or her off the line. Contact must be made at a 45-degree angle or less and only between the horse’s hips and shoulders.
HOOKING: This is the action of blocking another player’s shot by hooking or blocking his or her mallet.
OFF-SIDE: The right side of the horse.
NEAR-SIDE: The left side of the horse.
Horses in play have their tails braided and manes shaved to avoid the hazard of becoming entangled in a players’ mallets and/or reins. White pants worn by riders is a tradition that can be traced back to the 19th century in Britain and India, where the game was played by royalty only and in very hot temperatures. Hence, the preference for fabrics that were light in colour and weight. The shaft of a polo mallet is akin to the soul of a good horse; strong, resilient and adaptable. Polo mallets have magnificent flexibility and strength.
Lastly, spectators are encouraged to back their vehicles up to field, all the while maintaining a safe, 20-foot distance from the sideboards. At times, players may send their horses over the boards in pursuit of the ball – and you don’t want to be in their way.
No matter the type of hat you wear, there is a level of polo participation for everyone. Perhaps Western Horse Review will see you out there! For more information on tournaments and events at the Calgary Polo Club visit: www.calgarypoloclub.com.
*Make-Up credit to The Aria Studios, Hair by Meagan Peters, Outfits by Cody & Sioux.