This weekend was truly glorious in the old blighty – 28 degrees, sunny and beautiful. A perfect weekend to catch our first polo match.

I will admit, I knew nothing about polo as we drove to Coworth Park to watch the match. However, after a few minutes it became quite clear that it is a rather simple game – put the ball in the goal, change horses frequently and stay on.

A polo game has periods of play, known as chukkas (also chukkers). This term originated in 1898 and is derived from Hindi chakkar from Sanskrit chakra "circle, wheel" (compare chakka). Depending on the rules of the particular tournament or league, a game may have 4, 6 or 8 chukkas; 6 chukkas are most common.[1] Usually, each chukka is 7 minutes long, but some games are played in shorter chukkas. Between chukkas, the players switch to fresh ponies. In less competitive polo leagues, players may play only two ponies, alternating between them. For more competitive leagues, and in United States intercollegiate polo, each pony is played in at most two chukkas.

Along the side of the field are horses – waiting for their turn. These were pro teams so I was told that they would switch horses 5 or 6 times.

 2008 July 26 Coworth Park Polo  _MG_0154 

The lad in the green hat was famous (did not catch his name) and wore the green as a family tradition. The announcer mentioned that his dad had been an international polo star. What I found interesting was the man to man (or horse to horse) coverage during play. Note the below how both riders are looking the other way while the horses fly down the field.

 2008 July 26 Coworth Park Polo  _MG_0189

The horses would often cluster and one had to wonder how many injuries happened as they came together as a group at breakneck speed. One can understand why the sport was used to train calvary horses in the old days.

 2008 July 26 Coworth Park Polo  _MG_0215

2008 July 26 Coworth Park Polo  _MG_0244

This fellow is the captain of the Australian team, who lost to England the next day in the big polo event of the year, the Cartier Cup. His team won on Saturday.

 2008 July 26 Coworth Park Polo  _MG_0224

The referee missed this one as the fellow in black hooked the fellow ahead of him by the arm.

2008 July 26 Coworth Park Polo  _MG_0240 

And of course, no event is complete without a glass of PIMMS on a beautiful sunny day. Brilliant.

2008 July 26 Coworth Park Polo  _MG_0145-2

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