I'm a Victorian freelance writer & photographer living in the Macedon Ranges north of Melbourne.
Ancient Horseback Spectacular
Polo In The City comes to Melbourne on Saturday November 26th at Albert park, an incredibly fast-paced, physical encounter which is said to be almost as much fun to watch as it is to play.
For a sport that's been around for centuries Polo is drawing bigger and better crowds than ever. Photo: Clement Bucco-Lechat / Wikimedia
Polo has been drawing crowds for as many as 2,500 years but not, at least in the beginning, as a sport. Thought to have originated in the Persian Empire it was part of the routine training for cavalry regiments, a means of keeping both horse and rider fit.
From there the exercise spread throughout the Middle East, China and India where the English colonists became aware of and took it on as a sport.
Originally a training exercise for Cavalry regiments Polo has developed into a sport watched by millions. Photo: Clement Bucco-Lechat / Wikimedia
Over the centuries Polo has been played on Camels, Yaks, Elephants and, in this the 21st Century, even Segways, but nothing can beat the rough & tumble skills of horse and rider as they compete in a fast and exciting sports spectacular.
Urban Polo has been played in Australia since 2005 with annual events in every Capital City making it the largest national polo competition of any kind anywhere in the world.
Played on a much smaller pitch than the traditional game (140 metres long compared to the original 300 metres) the spectacle provides unparalleled visibility to spectators who traditionally sit back in comfort enjoying all manner of light refreshments as the teams battle it out in front of them.
In Polo riders display great skill and tenacity in an often rough & tumble game guaranteed to excite the spectator. Photos: Roger Schultz / Wikimedia
Traditional Polo has always been seen as a 'society event' but the urban variation is seeking to eliminate the elitist connotations and bring the game to the masses.
And that is every much what's happening with literally thousands of people turning out to each of the events, as many 6000 attending Portsea alone.
Popular it may be but cheap it is not.
Entry to the Albert Park event starts with a ticket to the Somersby Polo Lounge costing $105. Here you'll not only have the close proximity of the game but you'll enjoy light refreshments, access to the Cider Garden, entertainment, Fashions On The Field and the opportunity to meet the players.
Other options include the VIP MARQUEE ($355) for Urban Polo Association Members as well as some luxuriously appointed Picnic and Corporate marquees. See the website www.polointhecity.com for full details, pricing and availability.
If you love fast- paced and spectacular sporting competition Polo In The City may be just the event for you but you will need to get in and book promptly as some packages are already fully subscribed.
Join the crowd and get along to Albert Park for Landrover Polo In The City. Photo: Anitaluz903 / Wikimedia