|The nice range of Polo helmets hanging in our room!|
As some of you may know while I was doing my PhD I decided to start playing a little bit of Polo. Having ridden a bit when I was little and being a hockey player for most of my time at Imperial I was fairly certain I was going to be awesome (I thought it was just hockey on horses yeah?...)... Unfortunately this was not the case, but since that first lesson I have been hooked and money permitting have played whenever I could back in the UK (at Greenpoint with the wonderful JJ). So as you can imagine I couldn´t pass up the chance to give the game a go in Argentina, arguably Polo´s spiritual home, with the hope of picking up a few tips along the way!
|An attempt to get a photo of me looking the part|
After a couple of action packed days in Buenos Aires we set out on our adveture to Pilar (just outside of BA and home to numerous Polo clubs). We had chosen to spend a couple of days at Palo Alto Polo club which had been one of a few recommendations given to me by my friend Alex back in London. The trip got off to a bit of a shakey start, with heavy rain in BA and flooding on the highways causing transport chaos. However, once we finally made it out to the Palo Alto farm everything was perfect, the weather had cleared up, the setting was beautiful and Leo and Emily made us feel 100 percent at home.
The Photographer and I were joined by two other guests James and James (super easy to remember) from Austrailia, who were both staying for the week and would be playing chukkas with me, and for the first day a group from Holland who were giving the game a go for the first time. In true Argentinian style we also had numerous other people popping in and out both days we were there; friends, other polo players and strangers who were all welcomed with open arms and made the whole experience so social and awesome.
|Leo, The Photographer, Me and Emily|
That afternoon after some riding with Emily to get me back into the swing of things (it had been 7 months since I last played) I played my first Chukkas in Argentina. It was intense and a massive step up from the level I had been playing at in the UK, but I loved every minute of it (and even managed to score a couple of goals-though I suspect they may have been going easy on me)! After the Chukkas I had a lesson with Leo, who was super enthusiastic about the game and a good teacher, though I did have to give up part way through due to exhaustion (seriously I could barely hold the mallet up, I am horribly weak)! After all the riding we settled in with the group for champagne and lots of cake before heading out for the evening to a local polo bar for dinner and a few more drinks.
The next day I woke up quite sore, but sort of ready to go. We spent the day playing more practise chukkas and I definitely learnt a lot. I have to say once we finshed the games and I got off the horse I felt like a broken woman. I am not sure my body was ready for that much riding in two days, but wouldnt have changed a thing. After some time relaxing in the beautiful surroundings and drinking mate, we headed out to watch a game at another club in Pilar before getting a lift back to BA with Leo.
Our two days at Palo Alto were absolutely beautiful, with great company, horses, food and Polo; I was really sad to leave as it felt like staying with family (in a really awesome way). Although The Photographer didnt give it a go this time, he had a lot of fun, and i think he is tempted to try it out... so watch this space!!!
|The outside area of the house and the beautiful surroundings|
Location: Palo Alto Polo Club, Pilar.
Highlights: Everything, the location was beautiful, Emily and Leo are great and Polo is the most addictive sport. If you are in Argentina you absolutely have to give it a go and Palo Alto is an amazing place to do it!!
Downsides: I could barely walk on our last day in BA, but this is definitely due to my lack of fittness! If you are not a beginner and plan to play in the chukkas I would reccomend making sure you have been doing some riding recently. Although saying that, it was totally worth it!!!
Profile pictures: No, Polo is a hard sport to photograph... plus I was having so much fun I didn´t really take many photos (hence the low number in this blog post - sorry).
Epiphany´s: No, I was too high on adrenaline to find enlightenment.
|The Photographers photo of one of the guests who just popped in and joined us for a bit, rocking the Gaucho style.|