Rainy Day Polo Reading List

Rainy Day Polo Reading List

Rain means wet fields and wet fields means no polo which for polo players is pretty much a nightmare. And short of taking up water polo, there's nothing that can be done to stop the rain and speed up the drying of the fields. So while you’re stuck inside watching the puddles form we’ve compiled a polo reading list so you can make use of all that time that can’t be spent playing polo.

Over the course of polo’s long history as a sport, a number of books have been written about it. And there’s a little something for everyone. From trashy fiction set in the world of high goal polo to historical ‘how to play’ manuals and up to date non-fiction books about how to improve your game and handicap. We’ve compiled a list of our favorites for those rainy days when the weather just won’t cooperate.

 

1.     Polo by Jilly Cooper

No list of polo books would be complete without the cult classic Polo by Jilly Cooper. Thoroughly researched and exhaustingly detailed (in a good way), Cooper takes you inside the scandalous world of high-goal polo in the 1980’s. While you may not learn anything about improving your own game, you will get to escape the real world for a couple hundred pages (more like 800 pages) as you delve into the world of Ricky France-Lynch, Perdita MacLeod, Rupert Campbell Black and all the other fascinating characters Cooper has thought up. The story takes you on a whirlwind trip through the polo world from the polo fields in England to Palm Beach, Argentina, California, and France among other destinations.

 

2.     The Polo Season Series by Jessica Whitman and Nacho Figueras

A new release in the genre of polo themed fiction, the Polo Season Series is comprised of three separate books; High Season, Wild One, and Ride Free that all follow the lives of members of the Del Campo family polo dynasty. They’re a light read that still manage to satisfy your polo craving and they’ve got Nacho Figueras’ name on them…so even if the story lines are trashy you know that the polo information is accurate.

 

3.     Polo Life by Adam Snow and Shelley Onderdonk

Polo life veers off the path of trashy polo themed fiction towards something that might actually improve your game or at the very least provide insight into what it takes to survive the world of high goal polo. Written by Adam Snow (former 10-goal player) and his veterinarian and wife Shelley Onderdonk the book covers everything from what it’s like to play as a pro to what it’s like to achieve 10 goals, tips for finding and buying the right horses and how to best care for them among other topics. Interspersed throughout are anecdotes from Onderdonk and Snow’s life in the world of polo which makes all the factual information go down easier. Well worth the read for anyone curious about the world of high goal polo and what it takes to survive in it.

 

4.     The Maltese Cat by Rudyard Kipling

Now for a classic, Kipling’s The Maltese Cat takes you inside the mind of a polo pony on the day of a match in colonial India when polo was still a cavalry based sport. Hailed as “the greatest and most enjoyable story ever written about the game of polo and one of the greatest stories ever written from a pony’s point of view” it’s a must read for any polo fanatic. And at only 63 pages long (depending on the edition), it’s one of the shorter books on this list.

 

5.     Let’s Talk Polo by Sunny Hale

Sunny Hale was one of the world’s most famous female polo players until she passed away suddenly this past winter. Thankfully, her wisdom and experiences will remain with us as she’s documented them all in her book Let’s Talk Polo. Her book covers everything from Stick and Ball to practice games, the language of polo, tournaments, polo ponies, mallets, and tips. Short and to the point, it’s the ideal guide for the new polo player to get their feet wet.

 

6.     Let’s Talk About Your Handicap by Sunny Hale

Another addition to the Let’s Talk series by the late Sunny Hale, she goes more into depth on issues surrounding polo handicaps. The book answers all the questions you’ve ever hand about polo handicaps from the basics to how to improve your handicap, she’s covered it all.

 

7.     Polo by J. Moray Brown

Written in the late 1800’s, Polo by J. Moray Brown was the how to guide of it’s century. Nowadays some of the tips are a little out of date but it’s nevertheless a cool read for those looking to get a sense for polo’s long history.

 

8.     Modern Polo by Captain E. D. Miller

The name Modern Polo can be a little misleading with this book, it’s also a how to guide from another century but still a cool read for those wanting to understand the polo of the past and see what’s changed in the decades since. Also a good read in the historical category is As to Polo by William Cameron Forbes.

 

9.     Polo by Susan Barrantes

Polo is the ultimate coffee table book for anyone who has ever wanted to play or does play polo. Complete with beautiful photos and a foreword by the Prince of Wales it does not disappoint.

 

Other Polo Related Books:

·      The Golden Mallet by Elizabeth Y. Layton

·      Let’s Talk Polo Ponies by Sunny Hale

·      Polo: The Nomadic Tribe by Aline Coquelle

·      Playmaker Polo by Hugh Dawney

·      The Complete Guide to Polo by Lauren Dibble

No Small Feat

No Small Feat

In the past few weeks, we’ve been involved with shipping some polo ponies from Argentina to Canada. 

No doubt, shipping horses is a fairly regular occurrence, but what makes this particular shipment stand out was the sheer volume of ponies that were shipped to Canada. A grand total of 87 polo ponies made up the shipment that very nearly filled the inside of a Boeing 747 cargo plane.

They landed at Hamilton International Airport on May 4th and were greeted with our typical early spring weather of cool, damp rain. Definitely a drastic change from the climate they’d grown used to in Argentina. Nevertheless, they remained patient as they were all unloaded from the plane, and taken over to a warehouse where they were removed from their shipping boxes (after upwards of 10 hours in them). They were then checked over by vets and customs and given food and water. Once each horse was given the ‘all clear’ they were loaded into waiting trailers which took them to the quarantine barn located at Pampa Norte Polo Farm in Alliston, Ontario where they would serve out their quarantine period.

The processing of all 87 polo ponies and their subsequent loading into trailers took the better part of the day and they finally made it to Alliston later in the evening. Once they were unloaded and checked once again by customs they settled in to their quarantine stalls where they would remain for approximately the next two weeks.

They received constant monitoring and tests throughout their quarantine period and were released at long last on May 23rd at which point they were taken to their new homes all over Ontario and the Northeastern United States.

Taking into account the pre-flight quarantine that took place in Argentina, the flight itself and their Canadian quarantine period these horses have been in transit and unable to just be horses since the end of March making their release last night even sweeter. Despite all the stress and confusion these horses were under they all remained patient and calm throughout the entire ordeal. What a bunch of troopers!

We can’t wait to see what these ponies can do on the field once they’ve had a chance to settle in and relax.

*For those curious about how much an equine plane ticket costs, it is approximately $9000 USD per horse. 

The horses from Argentina have finally been released from quarantine and are now at home at the farm #polo #poloponies @pampanortepolo

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Goodbye to Nutria

Goodbye to Nutria

Last night we said goodbye to one of our beloved polo ponies, Nutria.

She had a long career as a polo pony and won a numerous Best Playing Pony awards before becoming a school horse at the Toronto Polo School. In her role as a school horse, she taught countless beginners to play polo and was a favorite of many.

Nutria was in her twenties and passed away peacefully in her stall last night from old age. She will be missed around the farm and by all the players she took care of. 

Outdoor Arena Polo Season Kicks off at Bancroft Farm

Outdoor Arena Polo Season Kicks off at Bancroft Farm

This past week marked the start of the outdoor arena polo season at Bancroft Farm with games occurring on Tuesday evening and Sunday afternoon.

The outdoor arena has been open for use and playable since mid-April but last week was our first opportunity to get a group together and organize games. 

We had a great turn out for both games; on Tuesday evening we played four chukkers and on Sunday we played six chukkers. Temperatures were in the mid to high teens and the competition was great both days. Everyone and their ponies were happy to finally be outside again enjoying the beautiful spring weather. 

Weather permitting, games will be organized on Tuesdays, Thursdays and weekends. Tuesday and Thursday Games starting at 5:00 pm and weekend games at 1:00 pm.  

See you at the farm soon!

On top of game during horse play

On top of game during horse play

After many years of faking it, I can now finally wear a Polo shirt without feeling dishonest.

Yes, despite having to sign a waiver warning about injury, dismemberment and the possibility of death, I braved the potential consequences Thursday and gave polo a try.