I developed my passion for Polo after Jérôme, the owner of the horse riding club Clavières and founder of the Medoc Polo Club and himself a polo passionate, talked me into joining him for a trial session. For this session he offered me his best polo horse and it took only 15 minutes to get me hooked.
Polo brings the team spirit to my favorite hobby, the horse riding. For the first time I could experience horse riding in a real team. This is different to for example jumping where you are more or less on your own. Playing polo is a real team sport, where you go through the good times and bad times together with your team mates and of course the horses.
The love for horses is common for all team members. And the horse is very important. It is responsible for about 85% of the success. The player only accounts for the remaining 15%. Polo horses are small, powerful and agile. They are intensely trained to play polo. The typical polo horse is a breed of the Argentinean Criollos and the English full blood. But in general you can play polo with any kind of horse. But they have to be well trained so that they are not afraid of the stick, the ball, and contact with the other horses. They should not be much taller than 156cm. The rules of the game are rather complicated. Most rules are there to protect the horses and of course the riders.
Children train in the indoor riding hall or in the outside arena while the adults play on a special polo field and of course at the beach during tide. We typically use the beach on the south end of Montalivet-les-Bains. As often as possible we bring our horses to the beach and play there with a special permission by the major of Montalivet.
Last year in October the French sports channel EQUIVIDA visited us and produced a very nice film on polo in the south west of France. This year we are planning to take part in the South-West-Challenge. Part of this series of tournements are events in Biarritz, Toulouse, Mont-de-Marzan and our own event on the polo ground of Chateau Giscours. Last year we founded our youngsters team. The kids are very enthusiastic. Every Saturday Jérôme works with them and their great goal is to take part in the most important polo event for their age group in Chantilly close to Paris in April.
Polo for me is the best way to combine my love for the Atlantic and horses. La vie est belle!!
Ilona Kupp-Lieck (Grayan)