09 Mar Poetry in motion: Polo
At Místico Beach Town and Resort we have our own polo field, one of a handful in Costa Rica!
What do you know about polo beyond the perceived glitz and glamour associated with the sport?
Polo is a game of physical contact and incredible stamina, with perfect harmony between horse and rider. It is impressive and beautiful to watch: Power, balance, skill, speed, quick reflex, decision-making, courage and strategy.
When did it start?
The game of polo has evolved over 2,500 years into quite a spectacle; starting in Persia when nomadic warriors began playing the game as part sport, part training exercise for battle.
Polo spread from India and then quickly to England in 1869, Argentina in 1872, Australia in 1874, and the United States in 1876. The first formal polo club to be established in the United States was the Westchester Polo Club in New York in 1876. Currently, the best polo is played in Argentina.
It is called The Sport of Kings, due to the high cost related to it, needing various horses, called polo ponies, per player per match.
The object of the game is to score as many points as possible by striking a small ball across the field with a mallet in to a goal, on horseback, moving at amazing speeds, stopping and accelerating and making quick turns on a dime.
There are typically four players on each team. A match is broken up into 7:30 minute periods called chukkers, and riders change mounts after every chukker. During matches—which normally consist of 4 to 8 chukkers—polo ponies play for short periods of time before they are swapped out.
The horses: What makes a good polo pony?
This special bond and the unique blending of athletic talents between horse and rider have helped polo evolve into The Sport of Kings.
Nothing is more important than the horse: Speed, agility, competitiveness, mental soundness. The ability to stop, turn, being used to full contact, even at full speed. Training almost starts at birth and they are ready at 6-7 years old. Sometimes they can play for 10 years or longer. World-class polo ponies can reach prices of up to $200,000.
Polo fields are the largest in sports with a maximum of 300 yards x 160 yards (274 meters x 146 meters). In comparison, a soccer field is about 120 yards (109 meters) x 75 yards (68 meters).
At Místico Beach Town and Resort, we have our own polo field, five hectares in area of lush green grass! It is the perfect place for families to enjoy picnicking to the sound of thundering hooves and ground-shaking excitement. Matches are played during the dry season, January-April, with various matches of Sunset Polo played on Saturdays.
We call our polo field the Central Park, the perfect place to play soccer, baseball and enjoy any other outdoor activity.