Trying our hand at polo

When Martin Armstrong from Somerton Polo invited Ebony Horse Club to take some members to try their hand at polo  it was an opportunity too good to miss.

Twelve young riders travelled down to Sussex and were greeted by Martin, his wife Rose and a delicious breakfast.

Martin had arranged for two professional players to coach them; England player, Jack Richardson and Richard Le Poer who captained the English Under 21s for three years.

The group was divided into three groups with one learning to tack up a polo pony; one practicing ‘stick and ball’ while sitting on a metal barrel and one on the polo field and attempting to hit the ball from a horse!

The groups rotated during the morning and despite the rain, broke for lunch in a state of high anticipation for the match planned for the afternoon.

After an improvised game of snooker and some brave girls who swam in the pool, Martin kitted everyone out in Somerton Polo shirts so that they at least looked the part!

Jack captained the Blues and Richard, the Reds.

The standard of play varied but everyone had a go and plenty of goals were scored.

Martin, who cheered on from the sidelines explained: “One of our remits at Somerton is to open this sport to young riders who wouldn’t normally get the chance to play. I’ve seen some real potential in a couple of them and we’ll definitely be inviting them back.”

For the final chukka, Martin selected three of our budding young players and captained them himself. The professionals gave very little quarter and play was fast and furious.

“It was really exciting. I got my stick on the ball quite a few times and nearly scored,” said one EHC member.

It was an inspirational day and tales of prowess on the polo field were related enthusiastically on the train journey home.