THE BASICS Here's what you need: eight mallets; one plastic or wooden ball; one grass field; two uprights to form a goal; eight horses (four per side); helmets; face masks (optional); goggles (optional); whips with fibreglass shafts wrapped in nylon; gloves with tackified leather through the palm fibres; brown leather boots (black would stain the white breeches); and rounded spurs (so as not to puncture the horse). Really, that's all. Oh, and specific dimensions for the field, the mallets and the ball.
THE BEGINNINGS The origins of polo remain stubbornly undocumented and huffily debated. Arguably the oldest team sport, polo swept from ancient Persia towards China or from China towards Persia or from India to China and Persia. Evidence suggests a beginning with Central Asian tribes around Persia, with a documented game from 600BC, featuring the Turkomans beating the Persians.
THE FIRST GAME In the modern era, British settlers in the Argentine pampas practised polo in their free time. One such, David Shennan, is credited with having organised the first formal polo game in the world on September 3, 1875.
THE NOMENCLATURE It's straightforward except for the "chukkas" and the "divot stomping" and the liberal use of the word "pony". "Stick" refers to the mallet; a "neck shot" goes under a horse's neck; a "bump" means one horse directed into the side of an opposing horse without asking either's opinion; to "leave it" is to bypass the ball strategically for a trailing teammate; and a "pony goal" means the horse causes the ball to go in. "Chukkas" is the best word ever devised for periods in a sport - six per match, 7 minutes each - while "divot stomping" involves fans at halftime fixing the pitch while dispensing aggression, and the "pony" is no pony, but a horse.
THE PRESENT DAY Dubai Polo Academy's literature counts 50 million people playing in 77 countries. A US Polo Association treatise counts 60 countries. Polo Times has 76 countries. Sixteen countries play professionally. And India plays ardently, with its 149-year-old Calcutta Polo Club the world's oldest active club.
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THE BASICS Here's what you need: eight mallets; one plastic or wooden ball; one grass field; two uprights to form a goal; eight horses (four per side); helmets; face masks (optional); goggles (optional); whips with fibreglass shafts wrapped in nylon;
Peaked caps and 'loud' trousers remain entirely optional, just like 'regular' golf. Farmersgolf has expanded from a handful of courses in 2004 to more than 170 around the world. Laser Strike manager Stuart Rainbow said there were no cows or barbed wire
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Firstly, apologies that we’ve taken so long to publish this blog, it’s due to a mixture of us having too much fun and a lack of wi-fi in the places we’ve been staying. On the plus side it means you have more to read!
We landed in Sydney around 4:25PM and we were greeted with rain and the threat of thunderstorms, not quite what we’d expected from Australia’s weather! We grabbed our bags and re-checked them in before transferring to a different terminal in the airport. The three hour wait was a little dull. We set off at 7:35 and landed on time in Cairns. We grabbed our bags again and got onto a shuttle bus that took us to our hostel. We arrived just before 11:00 and grabbed the key to our room which was pretty stuffy, something we may have to get used to in the next three months here and the following month in Asia. We’d had a long day and quickly fell asleep.
The heat woke us early and we had breakfast. We went into town shortly afterwards and had a look around the town. We went into Peter Pan’s, a Australian tour operator, forsome advice on which tours to book whilst we’re in Australia. After a bit of a wait we were served by Aimee, who was really helpful and she helped us choose which tours we wanted to do. We had a look around the Esplanade, including the lagoon, a huge pool on the waterfront which is free to use, before going to the town square where we watched a musician play who was pretty good. We grabbed some supplies (and a poppy) before going back to the hostel. We did some laundry and had a dip in the pool which was sorely needed!