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JUNE, 2017


Polo and San Antonio go hand in hand.

Polo matches are filled with non-stop action.  Basically, a polo match consists of 4 to 6 chukkers (periods).
(click to enlarge)
Polo matches are filled with non-stop action. Polo matches are filled with non-stop action.
(click to close)

Olmos Basin Park, in the heart of San Antonio, was the perfect venue for a polo match during Fiesta 2017! This sport is for you, if you enjoy the glamour of finely dressed women in exquisite hats sipping champagne. Or perhaps you would enjoy the thundering of horse hooves galloping at full speed within 20 feet of where you are standing. Or simply, watching two teams of riders make the connection of mallet to the softball sized wooden balls that then travel upwards of 100mph down the largest field in professional sports. Whew... who would not want to be part of that!!

The Fiesta Kings Cup was all of this and more. As you walked up to the professionally prepared fields (complete with fresh red sideboards), you could feel the excitement build. The white tents lining the sidelines were bursting with jubilant patrons, Fiesta royalty, and attentive event staff. The event boasted a lively polo tournament, a most beautiful hat contest, fashion show, catered food, and of course . . . beverages. General admission grills were warmed up and VIP's had a catered menu. Both General Admission and VIP's had the same great view of the matches; the only difference being tent seating was offered for one and bring your own chair/blanket for the other. Either way... it was a perfect afternoon especially when the home town favorites won the 2017 USPA Centennial cup!

Olmos Basin Park, in the heart of San Antonio, was the perfect venue for a polo match during Fiesta 2017!
(click to enlarge)
Olmos Basin Park, in the heart of San Antonio, was the perfect venue for a polo match during Fiesta 2017! Olmos Basin Park, in the heart of San Antonio, was the perfect venue for a polo match during Fiesta 2017!
(click to close)

Believe it or not, polo and Texas go hand in hand. Originating in Persia in the 6th century BC, becoming popular in Britain and India with the first Polo Club established in Calcutta in 1862, was introduced to Argentina in 1875, and then to the United States in 1876. Wikipedia states, "There is also an urban legend that the first game of polo in America was played in Boerne, Texas at retired British officer Captain Glynn Turquand's famous Balcones Ranch." So, it stands to reason that the San Antonio Polo Club (est. 1920) is considered to be the oldest continuously running polo club in the United States, with uninterrupted membership and participation in the United States Polo Association. Our Texas cowponies were a big part of this historic endeavor. Our horses had quick stops, explosive bursts of speed, and handiness which made for the ideal polo mount during matches.

Throughout the years, the San Antonio Polo Club has had many champion players and has always been well respected as a club.
(click to enlarge)
Throughout the years, the San Antonio Polo Club has had many champion players and has always been well respected as a club. Throughout the years, the San Antonio Polo Club has had many champion players and has always been well respected as a club.
(click to close)

Polo matches are filled with non-stop action. Basically, a polo match consists of 4 to 6 chukkers (periods). Each chukker lasts 7 1/2 minutes with a warning bell at the 7 minute mark and a final bell 30 seconds later. There are 4 members of each team (numbered 1-4) and 2 umpires on the field of play. Riders go back and change horses after each chukker and at half-time. Half-time also is a traditional social break for the spectators. For hundreds of years, everyone has been asked to come on to the field to "stomp divots" of turf that the horses have torn up in play. It is quite something to see; all the ladies and gents "stomping" around sipping champagne in their finery on the horse trodden field.

Tradition and history sum up polo. The historic San Antonio club began on the green fields of Brackenridge Park, then moved to the grand facilities of Retama Polo Center, and now resides on a 120 acre facility at 285 Obst Road in Bulverde (near Tejas Rodeo). Throughout the years, the San Antonio Polo Club has had many champion players and has always been well respected as a club. If you are interested in joining, who knows, maybe you will hear stories of the greats that graced our area: Cecil Smith, the Barry's, the Gracida's, Ray Harrington, Steve Gose, and the Azarro's. The club offers both social or playing memberships, horse boarding, and polo lessons to all who are interested in the game.

The San Antonio Polo Club is a 501c3 offering charitable grants, providing free equestrian events and assistance with other 501c3 charitable organizations in need of financial or location assistance, and they promotes public education and awareness and appreciation for the sport of polo. Please contact them for more information at 210- 310-9866 or SAPoloInfo@gmail.com or find them on Facebook (San Antonio Polo Club).