Horse Power. The Audi way
When we were invited by Audi to join members of the England team at the prestigious Guards Polo Club in Windsor we were incredibly excited. Oh yes, with the small catch that we’d be having a polo lesson, but this Jane can’t actually ride a horse…
If you’re thinking polo is the sport of the aristocracy – the type of activity that pops up on Made in Chelsea (we have to admit we were too) – think again. Everyone we met at Guards was friendly and welcoming and it was quickly clear that the common denominator was passion for the game. Andrew Hine, Captain and Manager of the Audi-sponsored England team, was keen to emphasise the inclusive, teamwork nature of the sport which has nearly tripled the number of polo clubs in the last 10 years.
So here we were at ‘the Wembley of polo grounds’, taking in the lushly-emerald Smith’s Lawn and facing the prospect of getting on a pony. Polo matches are split into ‘chukkas’ of roughly 7 minutes, with the horses reaching speeds of up to 38mph. Luckily, we started on foot, practising our mallet-swing before graduating to a reassuringly-unlikely-to-bolt wooden horse.
Once we’d mastered hitting the ball in a (roughly!) straight line, we embraced the daunting moment of mounting our pony. And despite the counterintuitive action of standing in the stirrups and leaning out over the horse to hit the ball we can see how easily people are drawn to this sport. There’s something exhilarating about steering a horse and simultaneously thunking a big old mallet into a ball. Imagine the speed of a real game, and we bet it’s a real adrenalin-rush, for both spectators and players.
After we’d elegantly (ahem) dismounted, we were treated to afternoon tea in the Royal Box, were we chatted to 22-year-old England player Max Charlton. Max was feeling confident for an England victory over the USA in the prestigious Westchester Cup at the upcoming Audi International Polo Day on 28 July. This is a huge game – the first time in 16 years that the UK hosts this season-highlight. (We’ve been generously invited to join the spectators and can’t wait to see Max and the team in action.)
So if you want to try something fun and different, to test your coordination skills and impress your friends, give polo a try. Or if you just fancy grabbing a picnic, a bottle of bubbly and watching a match! Tickets are still available for the Audi International Polo Day on 28 July, with an after-party hosted by Boujis.
Interested in trying polo? Check out the Guards Polo Academy for more details.
If you fancy witnessing history in the making at the Westchester Cup, tickets are still available for the Audi International Polo Day on 28 July. Contact Guards Polo Club: 01784 437 797 or [email protected].
If you end up mounting a horse let us know! @tweetjanes