Did you know that the winter equestrian season is in full swing in Wellington, Florida? You may ask yourself, “what is the winter equestrian season?” Well, as I recently found out, it takes place between January 3 to April 24th in nearby Wellington, Florida. International teams, including their horses, are flown to our backyard to play polo matches during the Palm Beach International Polo Season. Wellington is known for its equestrian arenas and for its polo grounds. For a taste of the facilities and polo check out the video here.
History of Polo
The game of polo is one of the oldest if not THE oldest recorded team sports. It dates back to the Persian time. It was a way for nomads in Central Asia to train for war. The concept of the modern polo matches originated in India and the first polo club, Silchar Polo Club was founded in 1859 by British military officers and tea planters. From there the game spread to Malta, England, Ireland, Argentina and Australia. The first club was formed in 1876 in Westchester ad within a few years, there were seven U.S. based clubs. As with all sports, the evolution of the game started with the horses. Originally the players would ride small ponies but as the game evolved to a more skillful game, larger and faster horses were needed.
One of the draws of the game of polo is its international appeal. Polo saw its first official match between the Chinese and Japanese in 821AD. The first international match played in the US was in 1886 in Newport, Rhode Island with the British (today it is known as the Westchester Cup). Today there are over 77 countries with polo teams (not all professional) and several international tournaments that take place throughout the world. Wellington is one of the cities that hosts in the U.S.
The Game (in a nutshell)
I readers digest version of the game follows.
- Polo is played on horseback with two teams consisting of four payers each.
- The key to the game is to score as many goals against the opposing team during a set amount of time using a long-handled mallet.
- Games typically last two hours divided into timed periods called ‘chukkers’. There are six chukkers in a game.
The International Polo Club of Palm Beach has matches every Sunday through April 24th. Tickets can be purchased for as little as $10.00 for General Admission/Bleachers to as much as $40 for Center Lawn seating. The most popular tickets are around $30 and include Sunday brunch. Click here for more ticket information.
International Polo Club Palm Beach is located west of 441 and just north of Lake Worth Road.