CHICO: A day in the life of a polo pony
Every day is different here at Lytchett Heath Polo Club in Dorset. Like any other athlete , a lot of training and hard work goes into my day.
We ponies are competitive by nature, and I take my polo very seriously. I am an early riser and am wide awake by the time I’m given breakfast at 7:30am. Our nutrition is very important, so we eat a complete feed including mixed grain and other supplements. I’m partial to the odd carrot or apple, too. After breakfast we have a couple of hours of rest to let us digest our food, before heading out for a good work out. We must be extremely fit, so we squeeze lots of exercise into every day. Whether it’s cantering, playing practice chukkas or going out for a nice long walk, we keep active to maintain our fitness. Monday is the day of rest though – even I need a weekend.
The polo season runs from May to September, so we get into our fitness regime from March so we are ready for the season ahead. Polo is a demanding, fast paced sport, so on match days I preserve my energy a little more. I do some light exercise in the morning such as a gentle canter around the grounds before travelling to the match. I don’t mind traveling in the lorry, any longer than three hours though and I need a break!
We are always groomed impeccably on match days so we look nice and smart on the pitch. Some of my friends here used to be racehorses. Not all racehorses will make good polo ponies, some of them seem to be quite hot headed! A good polo pony must have a good temperament and be fit and agile. It helps when we have a good connection with our rider.
After a hard day’s work, it’s time to wind down, stretch out and relax. I like to hit the hay nice and early – ready to do it all again tomorrow.