Since 2007, Veuve Clicquot (www.watergatebay.co.uk/polo) have been hosting Polo on the Beach at Watergate Bay. Friends had been down to watch the race between a kite boarder and a polo rider on the Saturday, so we went down to the beach on Sunday to see what was going on.
We were treated to a display by The Devil’s Horsemen stunt team, who have appeared in such films as War Horse, Braveheart, and Les Miserables. They’re just about to start filming for the new Game of Thrones this summer too. The old cowboy films came back to life with the horses galloping at full speed with the riders hanging off them, or jumping from side to side.
The horsemanship was a privilege to watch and the horses themselves were beautiful creatures, working in harmony with the riders.
After this excellent display, the professional polo riders came out and treated us to a polo match. We’d been given a brief history about the game, along with the basic rules so we were able to follow the match. It was a bit slow to start but once the riders got stuck in it was exciting to watch, with the discipline they exhibited to avoid injury impressive. I got a bit bored so started to watch how the horses interacted, then it got much more interesting because you then started to understand how skilful the riders are getting the horses into position. They were so agile (both horses and riders), changing direction, racing off down the beach, barging and blocking each other out the way, all whilst trying to hit the ball into the goal.
Beach polo pitches are only a sixth of the size of a normal polo pitch and we can only imagine how exciting it must be when the horses can really got for it – sadly, as it is called the ‘sport of kings’ we doubt we’ll ever get to see that!
After the second chukka, we headed back along the coast path and watched them playing from a great height. It was a great afternoon and it is something we’ll never see again so we were really pleased to get the chance to witness it.