The ponies are as important as the players in polo. In total there are 25 ponies taking part over Veuve Clicquot Polo on the Beach weekend including the two demonstrations and two matches. 18 ponies are travelling from Lytchett Heath Polo Club in Dorset, where Jemima and Rob Brockett train and lease horses specifically for polo, the remaining ponies will be coming from South West Polo Club and Vaux Park Polo Club.
Polo ponies are often not ponies at all; they are usually full sized horses ranging in size from 14.2 to 16 hands high at the withers (shoulders). Originally horses higher than 54″ were not allowed to play polo, today there are no limitations but the smaller horses, providing they can carry the weight of the rider and are fast, are better at polo than larger horses.
Many are thoroughbred crosses and some of the horses playing at this year are retrained racehorses. For many polo players the cost of importing horses or even breeding and training them from birth is very expensive, so being able to take on a horse that has already been ridden has many advantages. They are also very fast!
Shrivar is an Irish ex-racehorse who will be celebrating his fifteenth birthday this year. Throughout his racing career, he won over £30,000 in prize money. He is nicknamed “Lofty” as he is quite large for a polo pony. Capable of running at up to 40mph, Shrivar will be challenging a kitesurfer to a race along the shoreline in an action-packed test of speed on Saturday 18th May at 2:30pm.
Ruby Flare A former racehorse, Ruby Flare was born and bred in Great Britain. She had some success over hurdles before being retrained as a polo pony. She’s very fast and agile, with the ability to get you where you want to be very quickly. She’s very gentle and great with children.
Negro is a regular player here at Watergate Bay and won Best Playing Pony at Veuve Clicquot Polo on the Beach in 2008. Incredibly agile and quick, he is a big horse, with a big character to match. Originally from Argentina, he loves to have his photograph taken.
Originally from Argentina, Panina is an incredibly brave and determined polo pony. She is a keen a swimmer and an absolute machine on the ground. She will be looking to defend her Best Playing Pony title which she won here at Watergate Bay last year.
Pachu is a real gentleman. He is most capable, so powerful and often considered one of the favourites on the beach and at the polo club. He won Best Playing Pony in 2008 at the Sand Polo Championship in Sandbanks. Also born in Argentina, he’s a very determined pony.
Paddy (left) was bred from Ascot champion ‘Celtic Swing’. Following in the footsteps of his father’s legacy, he became a racehorse before being retrained as a polo pony. He is Irish-born and his father stood at the Irish National Stud, a big stud farm for top Irish stallions, so he certainly has good genes.
For the full weekend line-up visit our event guide, and to really get involved in the polo atmosphere treat yourself to a House Party ticket and become a VIP guest for the Veuve Clicquot reception on Sunday 19th May.