Polo – or how to put a hole in your mint

Cirencester, which is just outside the Cotswold country, is famous for being one of the most important English Roman towns, then known as Corinium. Now it is well known for Polo.

Not the round sweets Polo’s which are advertised as “the mint with the hole” but Polo, that mad game played on ponies.

Like most things associated with horses, Polo really does put a hole in your mint, eating away your money faster than anything. Despite being the sport of Princes and millionaires (who are the only ones that can afford it), it is remarkably accessible to us ordinary folk. You just turn up, pay to get in and watch.

Croquet at full gallop is the best way to describe the game, which is played by two teams of four players. The rules are rather complicated and I will leave you to look those up elsewhere.

So we found ourselves at Cirencester Park, on the edge of town, eating our picnic lunch on the warmest day for ages, hoping that we wouldn’t get trampled on when the ball came our way – which it seemed to do quite frequently.

Swarms of spectators running onto the playing area is an eccentricity of Polo. Carrying out the important task of divoting, or pushing the damaged turf back into the ground is part of the fun and a good way for all to participate. Toddlers and dogs, elderly ladies in twinsets and pearls as well as the rest of us hoi-polloi mix in frenzy of activity. Quite mad!

What Barney would make of it all, I cannot imagine. He is my Irish Draught hunter, a huge 17 hands 3″ unlike the polo ponies that are small and sure footed. Barney’s picture has joined the family portraits on the right hand side of the page. More about him another time….
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4 thoughts on “Polo – or how to put a hole in your mint

  1. Yes, that must really be a funny sight in particular if you don't know "what" they are doing ! As far as I know here in Belgium there are not many polo players.The way as you are talking about your She-dog and your proud steed, I am convinced that you are a real animal devotee Johnson! Now that you are talking about horses I hope you don't mind that I tell you about the horses in the meadow just behind the fence of my garden. Seven years ago my young neighbor bought a mare of 17 years old. When she was young, she was a very good jumper and she had a very good pedigree. The owners of that horse would bring her to the slaughter because they “assumed” that they could no longer breed with her and that she was not pregnant. To prevent the slaughter my neighbor bought her. After a few months the big surprise came! She was bearing and she gave birth to a beautiful steed named “Whisperer”. Unfortunate but, a few years later he had to bring the mare to the slaughter after all because, she became too ill. But now he has a beautiful reminder on her! She rewarded his beautiful gesture, she gave him her son!I wish you much pleasure with your beautiful Barney and She-dog Johnson! Thank you for sharing this beautiful post with us!

  2. Many thanks Fran for your kind comments and I am pleased that you liked hearing about the Polo match.What luck for your neighbour to find that he had a foal after he bought a horse – two for the price of one!I am very fond of Barney, he's a real character. I shall be writing more about him one day and introduce you to our other ones – but Barney is very special! Johnson

  3. Johnson, I enjoyed learning about Polo! I've never known what it was. It sounds like a way to have yourself knocked senseless. :)I especially liked reading about Barney. What a beautiful horse!! I grew up riding on my Aunt and Uncle's horse, Smokey, and have always loved horses but never owned one myself.Do you ride him often? Is he your hunting horse? I have to say again–he's just beautiful!How wonderful to live in such a pretty place and be able to keep horses as well. More posts on Barney and your other animals please. 🙂

  4. Jeannie – there is another horsey post on its way but not about Barney! Polo is definitely a quick way to get broken bones I should think! I love horses and wished that I'd learnt as a child. I didn't learn to ride properly until I hit 50 – which proves its never too late. As for Barney and the rest of the "family", they will have more said about them before too long. Johnson

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