Polo Players Edition

NOV 2011

Polo Players' Edition is the official publication of the U.S. Polo Association. Dedicated to the sport of polo, it features player profiles, game strategy, horse care, playing tips, polo club news and tournament results.

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A S I S E E IT PETER J. RIZZO BUYING OR RENTING? Horse ownership allows a player to truly realize the joys of polo T he other day I was driving along in my pick-up truck listening to there is Blue Collar Radio and a comedian related a funny bit about the perils of leasing his car. By end of the routine, the punch line was that he was afraid to leave his house because he did not want to use up his yearly allotment of lease miles, but he had to get out and go to work to pay for the house he was renting. Got so bad, he was also afraid to call anyone, for fear of going over his phone minutes. Pretty funny the way the guy told the story—I guess you had to have been there, but you know what I mean. Modern living seems to be filled with ways to lease or rent things that we think we need to have. When it comes to learning to play polo, sometimes an option for you to either lease or buy a horse. An introductory polo lesson usually includes the horse and the training for a set fee. Most times beginning players will ride the wooden horse to learn the basic strokes, and maybe get a feel for the saddle and bridle if those pieces of equipment are provided with the wooden horse experience. As novice players progress in their training, they eventually get on a horse, then into a polo game when they are deemed safe enough to play with other players in some kind of coaching chukkers where the object is not to win, it is to learn the rudiments of the game. At the beginning stages of getting into the sport, leasing a horse or horses may be a great way to find out first if you like the game enough to make further, perhaps more 10 POLO PLAYERS EDITION way to begin to play, without the commitment to buy, and then maintain your own string. For polo instructors, it is sometimes better for them to lease their good old ponies rather then sell because replacing them becomes problematic. Making the commitment to buy a horse is the single most important decision a player will make about polo. Buying a horse usually means buying substantial, investments in it. Many people are put off by the costs of playing polo, especially considering equipment cost money, and someone has to pay for all that polo game infrastructure. At most clubs that offer instruction, a designated instructor uses his easy, quiet polo ponies that come fully equipped to provide a learning experience for the new player. One of the best places to begin polo is in an arena setting. The walls provide a comforting way to keep the speed down, and the new player from riding too fast into the sunset. Eventually, if the new player is not frightened away by the inherent dangers of riding a horse and playing the game; is not too afraid of the time commitment required to learn, then to play the game; or is not yet aware of the true cost of playing, that person comes to a decision point about how to proceed. Should he or she buy a horse? In many instances, there may be a good way to stave off that decision because the club or instructor will have horses that can be leased by the day, month, event, season or year. These trusty rental ponies are a good horses and more than one in order to play even a four- chukker arena match or a coaching league. Buying horses requires having a place to keep them and providing for their care and feeding. In some places of the country, the purchased horses can be housed at a family farm for the player to take care of. In more populated areas, there may be barns that will lease stalls and provide the support staff to feed and care for your polo ponies. Owning horses usually means figuring the ways and means to get them to the polo field. Unless the barn and polo field are in close proximity, then a means of transportation must be obtained. Yes, you are back to an owning versus leasing decision. Sometimes you can pay a shipper to get them to the field, or the player can make the commitment to invest in a suitable truck and trailer to transport the horses (and find a suitable driver who has experience driving horses in a trailer). While all these buy or lease decisions may seem daunting to the new player, it is really about how deeply involved you want to get with the sport. There is a thrill and a joy playing polo on any horse, but the true

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