Sunday, November 2, 2014

Marco!

Polo!



Polo was so much fun! I still have no clue what I was doing, but I had a blast!

It was a rainy and awful day, and my one friend who knows how to play polo and has a polo pony totally punked out. So, it was just me and my other equally polo-ignorant friend with our 16.3 hand, 3rd Level Dressage horses in their huge dressage saddles and double bridles. 



We were a little out of place, to say the least. We were also the oldest people there by at least a decade or two. But, we got to be positive ambassadors of dressage! Everyone was very impressed that two Dressage Queens came out in the rain with two very well-behaved horses to learn to play polo with a bunch of teenage Pony Clubbers. We got a lot of questions about our horses and equipment, and hopefully we inspired a few people to give dressage a try, instead of just believing the stereotype that we're all snobs on giant crazy horses. 



The day began with unmounted stick and ball handling (a phrase that made me giggle because I still have the mind of teenager). After the instructor was confident that we kind of knew what we were doing and might not hit ourselves or our horses too hard with the mallets, we mounted up and practiced hitting the ball while walking slowly. 

This is where I learned that my horse is too tall and I'm too short to hit much of anything effectively. I'll have to teach Spots to do this for the next time I want to go play polo. But, I did manage to thunk the ball around a couple times, so that was good. 

After lunch, we went out to scrimmage, which was awesome! It seemed to me that it was pretty much a melee because I never really got a firm grasp on the rules or what I was actually supposed to be doing, but Spider and I were quite content to run around a field chasing after the ball and trying to block other people. Turns out, having the largest horse on the field is advantageous when you're trying to keep other people away from the ball. 




I even managed to hit the ball a few times! And Spider learned to artfully dodge my mallet. Clever boy!


It was especially great to get out of the arena and really put my dressage training to the test. Dressage can feel like a treadmill sometimes: constantly moving forward, but never really going anywhere. Being able to take my dressage training out into a polo field and hold my own, that's what it's all about. 



Dressage isn't just for competition, and it shouldn't be used that way. Get off the treadmill! Take dressage out of the ring, whether on a trail ride or a polo field or a barrel race is up to you, but just get out there and test your training. I guarantee you'll have a blast and return to the sandbox reinvigorated and with a renewed sense of understanding and purpose in your training. 

10 comments:

  1. Spider looks so happy and relaxed in all of these pics! what a fun time :)

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  2. Handsome polo horses are for defense!! Ya'll look like you're having so much fun. :D

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  3. Very perceptive about the dressage training. Back in my hunter days, my dressage trained hunter won hundreds of ribbons, many because of his good basics. Since then, my dressage horses with good minds--one named Tucker the exception to the good mind equation--have excelled at almost everything I tried. No polo, though. It looks like a ton of fun! And Spider looks spectacular.

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  4. I love this!!! Look at Spider out there dwarfing all the little horses hehehehe! I'm so glad you had fun. :D

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  5. To your last paragraph, amen.

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