Polo has become one of my favorite summer events. It’s a day of dressing nice, drinking fancy cider, and ponies with a dash of sea salt in the air. My work gets tickets to Newport Polo and after a busy month where none of us could use them, Saturday turned out to be a beautiful day to head to Rhode Island with a few friends.
There is something fascinating about attending an equine event alongside hundreds of non-horse people who plug their nose if the horse smells like sweat and shy away if they sneeze in their vicinity. And the mixture of well-dressed tots and Lilly Pulitzer-ed ladies in impossibly high heels stomping the divots makes for an entertaining show halfway through the match. (Note: I am a Lilly Pulitzer fan, so I may be hypocritical.)
While waiting for people to move to take a photo with one of the ponies mid-divot stomp (of course pony people want to see the horses too) I met a massive bridal party that was attending the match and who understood the meaning of “do it for the ‘gram.” After realizing that they needed to reposition so that the lighting was perfect spot, the entire group gathered together and stared into the sun for the sake of a photo with a horse in the background. I only hope that at least 50% of the party had their eyes open in one of them.
I’m always amazed at the flexibility of the riders and tolerance of the polo ponies as they twist around to hit the ball, swinging their mallet around in the air. Not a single one is phased by the commotion. Unlike when we attended Beach Polo, when a rider fell off after leaning perpendicular to his horse in an attempt to hit the ball, his pony dutifully stayed by his side.
By far one of my favorite parts of the match is the announcer. Presumably a british man, he has a strong accent that carries over the field and removes the “r” from “chukker”. I have no idea what he is saying half the time, but can make out the occasional “Bollocks!”