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.

Issue link: https://polo.epubxp.com/i/44977

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Page 37 of 67

Stay strong I exercise in t is no secret that warming up some polo ponies at the beginning of a chukker is an creating symmetry out of stiffness. It takes a few gallops on the field and a few circles in each direction before the horse moves smoothly on both sides of a swing. Sometimes the asymmetry doesn't go away, and is incorporated into the business 36 POLO PLAYERS EDITION A horse's back muscles must be strong to deal with a rider's shift in weight. Research shows strengthening equine core helps back problems Imagine a 200-pound man, twisting about on the back of a galloping pony, and swinging a mallet at a polo ball. His strike is solid and the ball soars downfield. He kicks his horse up a gear to keep a claim on it, an impulse bested by the pony who has already hit high drive. The movement may be repeated hundreds of times over a season. It's a thrill to watch such an athletic partnership, but sometimes the thrill is followed by an urge to call a physical therapist for both horse and rider. by Tania Evans of riding. One horse might hate the near- side shot, another may avoid the right lead until well into the chukker, while yet another might resist the bridle because her pelvis locks up when she has to round up. There is no doubt that equine sports like polo can put a strain on the horse's 56 vertebrae. However, the source might not start with polo. A lot of Thoroughbred polo ponies come off with them a multitude of spinal injuries. Dr. Hilary Clayton is a specialist in the biomechanics of equine movement, with the McPhail Dressage Chair at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University. There she directs a number of research studies in equine movement with topics ranging from analysis of pressure points due to rider weight or poor saddle fit to footfall patterns and lameness. The study of spinal injuries is built primarily on the backs of racehorses, because racing has a consistent level of injury and of terminal injuries. Therefore, these cadavers are more often available for research purposes to investigate back pathology via dissection. Racehorses scheduled for euthanasia from age, injury, colic or diseases are a good database for a scientific study. There are many controlled variables in racing such as the racetracks bringing ALEX PACHECO

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