The 7th annual Cheval Polo Cup took place this July at Ham Polo Club in Richmond. The Polo Cup marks a big event in the calendar for us as we host a number of our valued clients, partners and suppliers in beautiful West London – and with the event growing year-on-year, we were delighted to host our largest event yet.
Polo is believed to be the oldest team sport in the world and its origins lie in Persia where the first recorded polo match is said to have taken place in 600BC. Steeped in history, the game has evolved into its modern-day form, now a popular sport in Britain and not to mention one of the most interesting ones to watch. All-in-all the perfect choice for a Cheval Collection event.
The day started with a welcome reception and plenty of activities for our guests to get stuck into, including trying their hand at swinging a mallet from a wooden practice horse, tours of the stables, mingling with the players and of course endless photo opportunities.
After lunch in the marquee the Cheval Noir and Cheval Blanc teams took to the field to play out four chukkas (this is the Polo term for a period of play). The sun set the scene perfectly for an afternoon of Polo and at half time our guests were invited onto the field for “divot stomping”, a process now seen as a fun tradition in the game. The patches of grass and dirt torn up from the Polo ponies are stomped back into place – not just for show, but an important activity to restore the ground for the players and horses.
Four chukkas, a cheering crowd and some excellent goal scoring later, the Cheval Blanc team came out as the champions – taking the trophy in a 4.5 – 3 victory.
Q&A with Jason Tolla Warren, Cheval Blanc Captain
After the game, we caught up with Jason Tola Warren, Head Coach at Ham Polo Club and captain of the winning Cheval Blanc team, for a Q&A.
Let’s start with a fun fact about the sport
I think the thing about playing Polo is, once you start you can’t stop – it’s really addictive.
How physically fit do you need to be to play polo?
You don’t have to be really strong and athletic. It’s more about having good balance and co-ordination with the horse – it’s just as much about the horse as it is the rider.
How long have you been playing for and how did you first get into the sport?
I’ve been playing for about 16 years now and first got into the sport through my Pony Club. In the countryside, you can do all kinds of events with your Pony Club, and my local club introduced polo. You typically start with a small pony then work your way up from there.
Do you need to be a confident horse-rider to play?
To be a decent player you do need to be a confident rider. But you can start off by not being particularly confident.
What is your favourite thing about Polo?
There are so many elements – the horses, the weather (on a good day), the crowd and especially when it’s a nice day with the blue sky, you’re playing on a beautiful green pitch and there’s a great atmosphere – it’s the best place to be and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
What would you say was the most difficult part about Polo?
Playing Polo can be expensive and you need to dedicate time to the sport.
What would your advice be to anyone looking to get into the sport?
All you need is the time – so just go for it. Get booked into your first lesson and go from there.