What is Polo?
Typically, there are two types of polo which are played. Traditional field polo consists of four riders and horses per team on a 300-yard by 160-yard field. Arena polo consists of three riders a team on a smaller field. Play is divided into what are known as “chukkas” and in Barbados each match has 8 chukkas which are each 7 minutes in duration.
During games, riders use mallets with long handles to strike a small wooden ball down the field with the aim of getting the ball between two goal posts to score a goal for their team. For the goal to count, the rider must remain mounted. The thrill of the game is that riders must control their mounts with one hand while controlling the mallet with the other.
Barbados’ Polo History
Polo in Barbados goes all the way back to the 1800’s when British Calvary officers played during their free time, since they brought knowledge of the sport with them. Barbados was perfect for this sport as horses were the main means of transportation during that time and thus were a part of day-to-day life. In addition to transportation, they were used for communication and in agriculture to work the cane grounds for harvest and by extension, sugar production.
The wealthy persons on the island soon became invested in this sport and by 1884, the first polo club of Barbados was formed and was called the Barbados Polo Club. It was located at the Garrison Savannah. The game continued to grow, but was stopped in 1929 after suspension of the Polo Club for 10 years until 1939 during World War II. Matches remained at the Garrison Savannah until 1965 when the club moved to a new home in Holder’s Hill.
Today, Barbados is home to 5 polo fields of international standard – Barbados Polo Club, Lion Castle, Apes Hill Polo Club, Clifton Polo Club and Buttals Polo Club.
Polo in Barbados is growing in popularity due to the wonderful Barbados atmosphere and settings and the friendly rivalry between the many regional and international teams who visit the island to participate in the games during the Barbados Polo Season which begins in December and ends in April.
The unique, fun atmosphere at these matches has made polo a highly anticipated event on the social calendar in Barbados. Spectators mix and mingle while sipping their beverages of choice. These matches are typically casual, family-friendly events where the dress code can range from shorts and t-shirts to colourful hats and lovely sundresses. Throughout the years, these matches have seen many international guests, including members of the British royal family – Prince Charles and Prince Harry.
Port Ferdinand Polo Packages
Are you interested in playing polo in paradise? Book your Polo Stay at Port Ferdinand! There are packages available for persons with no experience, little experience and those who are already experienced. These packages include lessons, sessions, optional rental cars and more! Book your stay and get ready for exhilarating polo – whether you plan to play or spectate, the sea, sand and sumptuous dining in paradise!