At Chukkar Farm we are fortunate to have many very experienced polo ponies in our barn. This allows us to teach even the most beginner of riders how to confidently ride a horse and enjoy a game of polo. When many people think of polo, they think of the game. Most of them do not understand what goes into the training and upkeep of a polo pony. We want to share with you a little insight on what it’s like to share our lives with these sweet animals.
All of our ponies must be fed grain and hay twice a day. Some live outside, 24/7, while others live both in stalls and in pastures. Those that live in stalls must also have their stalls and water buckets cleaned daily.
Ideally, we try to get our polo ponies ridden at 2-3 times per week. This helps keep them in shape so that games on Sundays are not extremely strenuous. Our ponies are athletes – just like humans – and they require regular exercise to stay fit.
Additional Health Care
The ponies must see the farrier every 4-8 weeks, depending on the individual pony. The farrier comes out to trim their hoofs and nail on horseshoes to protect the bottom of their foot and give them extra traction for galloping around the polo fields. The ponies also require regular veterinary vists to ensure they stay up to date on vaccinations and in good health.
Preparing for Play
To get the ponies ready for polo, they each get fitted with their specific ‘tack’ – that is the equipment we use to ride them. This includes saddles, bridles, girths, and leg wraps. You’ll also notice that many ponies have their manes shaved off and tails tied and taped up during games. This doesn’t hurt them at all! In fact, it protects them from their tails potentially being caught up in a swinging mallet during play, and prevents their manes from getting tangled up in reins as players are trying to steer.
Want to learn more about what it’s like to take care of a polo pony and how to play the game? Join us for polo lessons with our excellent instructor, Sue Lukashevich.