Quechee (VT) Polo Club ~ Polo Shoot ~ Back in the Saddle Again (Pun Intended)
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After being off the road for a long while (too long) and having some major back surgery, I am back in the proverbial photographic blogging ‘saddle’ again. My apologies for the ‘contrasty light’.
Good stuff, great event to shoot, courtesy of the Quechee Polo Club, Quechee, Vermont. According to a participant polo is just an excuse to have lots of ‘ponies’ and a big shiny truck. Seemed like the real thing to me. An in-the-know goal flagger gave me the low down: Polo as a sport was developed by the Pakistanis and co-opted and spread through out the empire by the Brits only to have the Argentines of the Pampas become the polo players of current world reknown.
The Quechee Polo Field is easy to find, (one-half mile north of Quechee Gorge off U.S. Route 4, look for the sign) although it did not show up on the GPS. Eight bucks will get you a car load admission. The club educates all the untutored by way of an informative flier (the italicized info is lifted from said flier) and play by play announcing along with some ‘color commentary’ on the side.
Worthy of a look, worthy of the trip, thank you very much!
A polo match consists of six chukkers (periods), each 7 1/2 minutes in duration. Players switch mounts after each chukker; substitutions of players occurs only at the beginning of a new chukker.
There are four players on each team, along with one or two mounted umpires. The players wear their position numbers on their jerseys. The #1 player’s role is to stay at the front of the play to receive passes and score goals. The #2 and #3 players are the ones who turn the plays around; the #4 player is the last defense against an opponent’s attempts to score.
Each time a goal is scored, the teams reverse direction, switching goals, in order to equalize any field and wind conditions.
The game clock keeps running when a goal is scored or the ball is hit out of bounds. The clock stops only when an umpire blows his whistle. Reasons for blowing the whistle include calling of fouls or stopping play in an unsafe circumstance.
The most common foul is ‘crossing’, which involves one player crossing in front of a player who is ‘on the line of the ball’ and who therefore has the right to a clear path to the ball. When a foul is called, the umpire will award the aggrieved team a penalty shot, which depending on the location on the field where the foul occurred, may be a free hit from the spot or a shot on goal.
Spectators should stay aware of the direction of play and the ball, and stay behind the safety lines. Racing ponies are not able to stop quickly!
A word about the ‘ponies’: Although they are called ponies they are really horses, and usually thoroughbreds with speed, stamina and athleticism. There is no height limit for the horses but most are between 15 and 15 1/2 hands high. (Mallet lengths vary per the height of the horse.) Leg wraps are normally used for support and protection. Manes are clipped and tails are braided and tied up to prevent the mallet from becoming entangled. Ponies must not be too young and require years of training. Ponies are considered the player’s greatest asset!
Quechee Polo Club 2011 Home Schedule
July 2 Wildwood Farm Polo Club (Sturbridge, MA)
July 9 Suryea Polo Club (Greenwich, NY)
July 16 Stone Pony Farm Polo Club (Everett, MA)
July 23 Byfield Polo Club (Exeter, NH)
July 30 Sugarbush Polo Club (Waitsfield, VT) ~ Q’ Library Benefit
August 13 Knight’s Farm Polo Club (Ballston Spa, NY)
August 20 Quechee Challenge Cup
September 3 Annual Quechee Chihuahua Cup Invitational
Cancellations may occur due to rain or inclement field conditions.
Call the Quechee Polo hotline on game days for information:
Next week’s entry: the lexicon of polo defined.
Thank You For Viewing!