Our guide to polo – The Game of Kings

Polo offers thrills for all: it is a game of great passion and requires a deep bond between rider and horse. It is also an essential part of the English social season and has strong ties to the Royal Family. Here’s our beginner’s guide…

Princes William and Harry are both keen polo payers, seen here at Cirencester Polo Club in Gloucestershire

Polo etiquette

All the dos and don’ts for this quintessentially English sporting event.

Do Wear sunglasses, white jeans and boots for local matches; silk and linen or a blazer for big occasions

Don’t Wear stilettos (you’ll sink in the grass at half time when the spectators are expected to tread in the divots)

Do Beware of the “steaming divot” – a fresh pile of manure

Treading the divots

Don’t Forget that teams change ends every time someone scores

Do Say “What a ride-off!”

Do Surreptitiously ogle players Adolfo Cambiaso, Nacho Figueras, Facundo Pieres and Prince Harry

Do Eat a picnic by your car, except at Polo in the Park where you can’t bring in food or drink

Do Bring your children, your lawnchairs and your dog (on a lead)

Don’t Refer to the ponies as horses

Do Book tickets in advance for championship games or charity events

Polo in the Park

Top tournaments

The Veuve Clicquot Gold Cup at Cowdray Park, Sussex

One of the highlights of the English Season. A host of celebrities, aristocrats and polo-lovers descend on the beautiful lawns of Cowdray Park to watch world-class polo and admire the views across the Cowdray Estate.

www.cowdraypolo.co.uk

Mint Polo in the Park at Hurlingham

For the fourth year running, the hallowed turf of Hurlingham Park in Fulham will thunder with the hooves of polo ponies from 4-6 June for this Twenty20-inspired version of the sport, featuring “sin bins”, head cams and a large orange ball.

www.polointheparklondon.com

The Queen’s Cup at Guards Polo Club, Windsor

This high-goal tournament attracts the world’s leading players and is the highest handicap league competition in the UK.

www.guardspoloclub.com

Prince of Wales Trophy at Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club, Berkshire

The Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club, located just outside Windsor, is set within classic British countryside – and spectators can turn up to matches throughout the season. The Prince of Wales Trophy is the traditional opener to the bigger polo tournaments of the year.

www.rcbpoloclub.com

The Warwickshire Cup

Founded in 1894, Cirencester Park is the oldest polo club in the UK and home to one of the most historic tournaments in the polo calendar, held this year on 24-31 July.

www.cirencesterpolo.co.uk

The Beach Polo at Sandbanks

The Duke of Essex Polo Trophy

For the seventh year running, the prestigious Duke of Essex Polo Trophy will return to Gaynes Park Estate in Epping, on 14 July, bursting with exceptional VIP experiences, celebrities, socialites, first class sport and family entertainment.

www.essexpolocup.com

The British Beach Polo Championships

Britain’s premier beach location plays host to polo’s finest in a festival of sport and music.

www.sandpolo.com

Learn to play

Try your hand at this action-packed sport at polo clubs across the country

Lynt Polo Club www.lyntpoloclub.com

Brett Polo www.brettpolo.com

Ascot Park Polo Club www.polo.co.uk

Written by Jessica Tooze // 2nd May 2012

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