King of Sport

Trip Start Jul 09, 2012
Trip End Jul 25, 2012

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Flag of United States  , California
Sunday, July 22, 2012

Imagine a thousand pound horse charging around a field chasing a ball, now picture that horse flying towards you with only a ten foot wide barrier as a buffer. No, picture four or five horses coming towards you, but veering away in time. Such was our day at the Santa Barbara Polo Club.

Th game consists of 8 massive beasts racing up to speeds of 35 miles per hour on a field that is equivalent to 9 football fields. There are 6 chukkers of 7.5 minutes each. There are only 4 players per team. For such a huge field, we figured it was not enough players, but as the match got under way, we quickly understood that 4 players were plenty. The players have international rankings, of which 10 is the highest. It is somehow based on the number of goals one has scored. The teams that play each other are closely matched in total points to ensure a good game. If they are not evenly matched a handicap is given to the team with the lower score.

Each player brings up to 10 horses to a match. During the game, the players change horses as their horse tires. They save their best mount for the final few minutes. Play is called immediately if a horse or rider is in any danger. A penalty shot is awarded depending on the severity of the offense. it may be a total open net shot or one in which the players may defend. Many penalties were called for, "expressive happiness". In other words inappropriate language.

When players were charging the ball they appeared to give way to the mount who got there first to avoid injuries. Mallets were raised up when a whistle blew.

Upon arriving at the event one is immediately treated like royalty. In fact Prince William and Kate did attend an event here in the spring in which William played a friendly. Our $10.00 seat cost $4000.00 to see that game.

Some people were dressed up in proper attire, while others were a bit moe casual. Some ladies wore simple sun dresses with hats, but nothing over the top.

Initially we sat in the bleachers, but moved to a special area with elegant lawn furniture. We snagged front row seats. Several times we ducked as the players and mounts thundered towards us. As if we could escape. In fact we were probably perfectly safe but to us we were in danger.

The fun part was after the third chukker or half time all the spectators are invited onto the field to stomp the divots into the ground. Most people went onto the lawn and stomped around.

All in all it was a great afternoon.
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Meredyth on

Sounds fun

sjohnston on

I have never seen a real have to be darned athletic to play this one!!
Very sunburned...but had a great sailing time.

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