Author Archives: heidi

Polo on the Beach flash mob

This year we had something up our sleeve to surprise you with half way through the ladies polo match… a polo flash mob made up from professional dancers, members of the community and local school children.


Just as everyone was treading in between chukka’s two and three of the polo match, a blast of swing music came over the speakers and the pitch was transformed into a dance floor where over 100 people took part in a choreographed dance, from the local primary and secondary schools plus a combination of young people and adults.



The dance was created by CScape Dance and Dance Republic2 and performed in association with Watergate Bay Hotel and FEAST, who support community arts projects.

Weeks of top secret training around Cornwall resulted in the 10 minute dance inspired by the 1920’s, the seaside and polo. If you looked carefully you would have been able to see the children pretending to be sea creatures and the adults mimicking horsey movements. The 1920’s was chosen as the main theme as polo was particularly popular in that era and was actually an Olympic sport between 1900 and 1936, with Great Britain picking up the majority of the medals.


We hope you enjoyed watching it as much as we enjoyed performing it.

Polo on the Beach match report

A record number of spectators enjoyed a spectacular display of equine entertainment at this years Veuve Clicquot Polo on the Beach.


Now in its eighth year, the award-winning event hosted by Watergate Bay Hotel delivered an expanded programme of three polo matches and more entertainment than ever before.

Headline sponsor Veuve Clicquot brought their Airstream and Champagne Bar and parked up alongside delicious food and drink from The Beach Hut barbecue. Pop-up shops, Segway taster sessions from Cornwall Segway, The Stampede Stunt Company and an off road Land Rover experience took to the sand whilst Joules welly-wanging raised £700 in aid of Help for Heroes.






As the sun set on the first day, up and coming DJ duo ‘Billon’, hand-picked by Tinie Tempah, entertained crowds on the beach.

The opening game of the event showcased the UK’s first professional all-ladies beach polo match with teams from South West Polo and Veuve Clicquot starring a line-up of rising female players from across the UK.


Former Miss Wales and TV Gladiator Amy Guy captained Veuve Clicquot, joined by team mates Emma Boers and Charlotte Sweeney, who both hold a two-goal handicap. Rosie Ross, playing with a three goal handicap, captained Team South West Polo with Georgia Sweeney and Phillipa Fitz-Henry.


The match consisted of four closely-fought seven minute chukkas with competitive play from both teams. At half time, Veuve Clicquot held a narrow lead of half a goal, but in the fourth and final chukka South West Polo fought back, led by Phillipa Fitz-Henry, who harried the opposition to secure the seventh and winning goal for her team.


Rosie Ross completed a lap of victory in the arena, waving the flag of St Piran to mark South West Polo’s victory of 7 goals to 5.5.

During the half time treading in Watergate Bay Hotel had a surprise up their sleeve. A flash mob performed by over 100 local school children and community groups around Newquay and Cornwall broke into a 1920’s inspired dance choreographed by CScape and Dance Republic2, all supported by FEAST.



Following supercharged displays from the ladies teams, the high goal Watergate Bay Trophy match between teams from First Great Western and Joules got underway.

Representing First Great Western was Caspar West (3 goal handicap), Andrew Blake Thomas (5), and captain Jamie Le Hardy (7). Tim Vaux (4) returned to the sand as captain of Joules with team mates Daniel Loe (3) and Richard Blake Thomas (5).


Joules started with a two goal handicap advantage, but after intense back and forth play First Great Western scored their first goal of the match through Jamie Le Hardy. Richard Blake Thomas quickly retaliated, scoring with a long-range shot from 25 yards just before the hooter sounded.

First Great Western pulled level for the first time in the third chukka thanks to a penalty scored by Jamie Le Hardy. A goal from Richard Blake Thomas restored the lead for Joules, before his brother Richard scored for First Great Western with a spectacular long-range shot.


A thrilling fourth chukka ensued, with the scoreboard level at six goals each following an early penalty from First Great Western. As the clock ran down both teams fought for the winning goal, with a great move involving all three players from First Great Western resulting in a decisive strike from Tim Vaux to take the win at 6-7.


Jamie Le Hardy won the trophy for most valuable player. Torda, ridden by Daniel Loe, was presented with a horse blanket as the Best Playing Pony by Cornwall Farmers.


Sunday began with a battle of the sexes. Three riders from Cornwall Farmers’ Patch & Acre saddled up for a Champagne relay race against three professional polo players. Cornwall Farmers were quickest around the course to claim victory.


Next up was the UK’s first ever Segway beach polo match between the professional polo players and Cornwall Segway. The Segway team were no match for the skills of the polo players, who showed that on horseback or Segway they are a formidable force.



The weekend ended with a final polo match between Team Cornwall Farmers and Team HSBC Rest of the World. Captain Daniel Loe (3), Tim Vaux (4) and Ben Marshall (1) were flying the flag for Cornwall against Amy Guy (0), Algy Sim (3) and team captain Richard Blake Thomas (5).


Chasing an initial lead by HSBC, the Cornwall team fought back to level the scores at four goals apiece going into the final chukka. In a dramatic move Tim Vaux scored a victory goal seconds before the final hooter blew, with Cornwall winning the Carrs Land Rover trophy by 5 goals to 4 to the delight of the crowd.


Polo on the beach will return in 2015. We’re looking forward to it already.

Player profile – Amy Guy


Handicap: 1 goal

A former Miss Wales and ex-TV Gladiator, Amy Guy was also a member of the Great Britain show jumping team. Relatively new to polo, Amy plays and trains at Ascot Polo Club and is a member of Udo’s Choice team. This is Amy’s first time at Veuve Clicquot Polo on the Beach.

How long have you been playing polo?
This is only my second year playing. I’ve ridden all my life and I used to be a show jumper and stunt rider so I’m very familiar with horses.

How has your past riding experience helped you on the polo field?
You learn a lot quicker because you haven’t got to concentrate terribly much on what the horse is doing. You’ve just got to learn the tactics of the game and how to actually hit the ball.

How does women’s polo differ to the men’s game?
There is very little in it actually. It’s one of the things I really like about polo. There aren’t many other sports where women and men get to play on a level field. Women tend to be a bit more vocal and perhaps even a bit more aggressive than the men. Agility-wise men and women are pretty much the same out there.


What’s your polo career highlight so far?
I joined the Welsh national ladies squad last summer which was quite a big step up for me. We have also just won a 6 goal arena tournament with the Udo’s Choice Team which was fantastic.

Have you tried surfing before?
I tried once very badly on my own and got completely exhausted because no one told me how to duck a wave. If I do go surfing I’ll definitely want some instruction with the Extreme Academy.

How do you maintain your fitness for polo?
When you’re playing polo two or three times a week and you’re exercising a lot of horses it’s a pretty good work out in itself. I did recently run the London Marathon and I’ve got another challenge coming up with the Olympic cycle around London. I think its 120 miles so I’ll be swapping the saddle of a horse for the saddle of a bike.

What are your future goals within polo?
It’s only my second season on grass so I want my handicap to go up by the end of the summer. I’m such a beginner so it’s just about improving my game and getting better horses.

What are your top tips for women looking to get into polo?
Contact your local club and give it a go. Everyone is very friendly when you get there and very helpful and it’s an awful lot of fun.

7 1/2 minutes with Jamie Le Hardy

7 1/2 minutes with Jamie Le Hardy

Based at Cowdray Park in West Sussex, Jamie Le Hardy has been playing polo professionally for twenty years and is a member of the current England squad. This is his sixth year at Veuve Clicquot Polo on the Beach.


What does a typical day entail for a professional polo player?
We’re up early to check the horses before riding and schooling in the morning, and then meetings with sponsors, patrons, and maybe teaching the odd lesson. In the afternoon I might play a few matches or simply practice, and then in the evening I’m either out with clients or organising the following day.

Do you travel much for polo?
My summers are always spent in Europe during the season, and then in winter I’ll sometimes play a bit of snow polo in Europe, or travel to the Caribbean, Australia, India, or Pakistan to play professionally. I recently went out to play in Pakistan which was pretty interesting. Amazing people, great food and a very different culture.

What is your career highlight to date?
Definitely winning the Gold Cup – The British Open – with one of the most amazing players in the world, Mexican Carlos Gracida, who sadly passed away a few months ago. He reached a 10 goal handicap, the best you can get, by the time he was 25 years old.

This year there will be Segway polo at Watergate Bay. Have you ever played polo on something different?
I’ve tried playing camel polo. It was great fun until my camel decided to bolt. That was a little bit scary, but I survived much to the hilarity of those watching.


With such a busy schedule what keeps drawing you back to Polo on the Beach?
I just love the event. It has grown immensely and wonderful to see the crowds get bigger every year. It’s amazing to get down to Watergate Bay and enjoy a couple of days by the sea in what normally is a very busy summer. I love surfing so I’ll definitely be getting in the water if there are some waves.

Is it difficult riding ponies that don’t belong to you?
We’re lucky in polo in that the horses are so well trained that you can get on pretty much any horse. If you ride well and connect with the horse quickly then you know the horse will go well for you. You get adapted pretty quickly.

How does playing on sand compare to grass?
At Watergate Bay we have a very firm surface and we’re playing with the arena ball. Sand is a really good surface to play on. The horses like it and we play a very fast and open game. It’s a smaller field so I’d say beach polo is more spectator-friendly.

Last year you played for Team Joules who won by a single goal. Is there much rivalry between the teams at polo on the beach?
We’re all good friends so the competition gets quite intense out there because we all want to beat each other. I think it’ll probably be the same this year; neck and neck and a very tight game.


Cornwall Segway

Cornwall Segway, based at Hendra Holiday Park, Newquay and Goonhilly Satellite Station, Helston and the experience includes on-road, off road, obstacle courses and racing. This year at Polo on the Beach they will be running a series of taster session for £5 a go, and competing in our first Segway polo match on Sunday 6th July. The polo professional will be taking on Cornwall Segway so it will interesting to see who comes out on top, polo players or Segway riders, both teams will be learning a new skill.


Although they’ve been riding the Segways for eight years in Cornwall, Segway Polo is relatively new, but is an exciting addition for both them and their customers. Currently Cornwall Segway are the first practising Segway polo team in the UK and Sunday 6th July will be the first proper match on UK soil (or sand!). If all goes well Cornwall Segway will be off to play some German teams in the Zurich Cup tournament later in the year.



Segway polo started in 2004 in America, it uses a smaller pitch and you play with two teams of five, the rules have been adapted from bicycle polo and horse polo.

Segways are very easy to use, the hard bit is learning the rules to polo, and with top speeds of 13 miles an hour, they can turn really quickly. A little cheaper than a polo pony, Segways cost around £3,000 second hand.


The team run weekly ‘open’ practice sessions (currently on Wednesday evening) which are open to all.  For those wanting to have a go, they can book a 90 minute session.  This will include some training in riding the Segway, using the equipment and practice match session at £30pp.  It is incredibly easy and great fun.  At the moment a few hundred people have tried Segway Polo with Conwall Segway and we have around 20 regular practicing players, with more newbies coming every week.

They also offer group sessions for corporate events, birthdays, stag and hen parties.  We also do some Segway racing and timed laps!!


Segway polo match – Sunday 6th July 3:45pm

Our guide to Polo on the Beach #POTB14

We’re getting very excited that the eighth year of Polo on the Beach is almost here. Polo one the Beach attracts some of the country’s top polo players and we are especially looking forward to our new ‘all ladies’ match.

Whether you’re a Polo on the Beach veteran or a newbie, here’s our guide on everything you need to see, bring and do while you’re at Watergate Bay.


What day to attend

On both days the action kicks off in the arena at 1:30pm and goes on into the evening on Saturday 5th July. Music, food, drink and retail will all open on the beach from midday both days.

Saturday 5th July – This is our main day of polo featuring both the ladies and the mens’ professional matches. Expect high goal polo and plenty of action. There will also be two performances from Stampede Stunt Company, as well as Segway and polo demonstrations, and a few surprises.

Following the trophy presentations the DJ’s and music will start and go on until sunset.


Sunday 6th July – The hotly anticipated rematch from last year between Cornwall and the Rest of the World will take place on Sunday 6th July at 4:30pm. Team Cornwall won convincingly last year so with the home crowd behind them they will be looking to do the same this year.
There will also be Segway and polo demonstrations and our first ever Segway polo match with Cornwall Segway.


Things to do

There is more than ever to do on the beach at this year’s polo. Aside from the arena entertainment there will be Segway taster sessions on the sand; £5 for 20 minutes, Joules Welly Wanging all in aid of Help for Hero’s, and straight from Glastonbury, the Great Western Challenge from First Great Western. This giant sized scalextric set will feature a south west railway route with all the key landmarks including the Tamar bridge, Sailsbury White Horse and the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Polo spectators will battle it out for the best time, with prizes to be won!


And, don’t miss the Veuve Clicquot Petenaque set by the Airstream, ready for anyone who wants a quick game in-between matches.


Things to win

There will be prizes to be won with the fastest lap time with the Great Western Challenge including a FGW annual rail pass and official match polo shirts. You will also be able to win Joules prizes with the Joules Welly Wanging.

If you are into your photography, or just have a smart phone, you need to enter our Instagram competition. Take a picture of Polo on the Beach, upload to Instagram and include the #potb14, for your chance to win a selection of six prizes.


Things to buy

This year there’ll be lots of lovely things to buy so you need to bring your pennies. They’ll be a Joules retail pop-up, where you will be able to buy the official Joules match shirts and a Cornwall Farmers, Patch & Acre retail pop-up selling all things equine and dog.


What to eat and drink

You won’t be able to miss the yellow Veuve Clicquot Airstream serving chilled Champagne by the glass and bottle (and magnum), complete with VC garden furniture, deck chairs and the Veuve Clicquot Petenque which proved so popular last year.

Alongside it is The Beach Hut barbecue and bar. And, there is always The Beach Hut restaurant where you can make table reservations, and Venus takeaway.

The Living Space in the Watergate Bay Hotel will be closed on Saturday 5th July and Sunday 6th July to non-hotel residents.


What to wear

What to wear to Polo on the Beach can be a bit tricky, it can go from blazing sunshine to cloud and wind in an instant. A pair of wellies is a must, there will be lots of Joules ones about, layers are key and a jacket.

The one must wear item is the official Joules match polo shirt for team Joules and team First Great Western. These can be bought online before the weekend.


What to bring

Yourselves, your family and friends. Dogs, Watergate is dog friendly all year round, but please keep them on a lead. A picnic blanket, sunglasses, wellies and a coat, a smart phone for the Instagram competition or a camera to snap the polo internationals, and some cash (there aren’t any cash machines on site, although some of the outlets will have card machines).


What to keep an eye out for

Look out for our free programmes which gives you all the details you need to enjoy #potb14. The rules, the players, the ponies and competition details.
Don’t miss Jamie Le Hardy, our England international which is playing at 6:00pm on Saturday 5th July. Or, Amy Guy, ex Gladiator and Miss Wales who will be playing in the ladies match at 4:30pm.

Radio Cornwall will be broadcasting live from Polo on the Beach on both days, as well as keeping the beach entertained with music, so keep an eye out for roving reporters.

And, all our social media updates throughout the weekend @poloonthebeach #potb14. Please share and send us your pictures.


We look forward to seeing you on 5th and 6th July.

Veuve Cliquot Airstream bar

You can’t miss the Veuve Clicquot Airstream at this years polo on the beach.

For the first time this summer, Veuve Clicquot embarks on a tour of the UK, taking its glamorous 50’s style Airstream to key season events and festivals around the country. The ‘party on wheels’ combines art, design and a DJ space alongside a bar serving bottles and magnums of chilled Veuve Clicquot.


Tinie Tempah’s record label, Disturbing London, have hand picked incredible DJ talent to perform at several key sporting and festival events this summer. These include Goodwood Festival of Speed (17th -21st June), Veuve Clicquot Polo on the Beach at Watergate Bay(5th -6th July) and Festival No.6 (5th -7th Sept).

Polo’s not polo without Champagne. Treat yourself to a few bubble by the glass, share a bottle or even a magnum!


Pull up a Veuve orange chair, sip Champagne and play petenque in the sand, whilst enjoying the match.

Blagger’s guide to Polo on the Beach #POTB14

With the English high-goal season upon us and Polo on the Beach just around the corner, here are the main points to guide you through a day watching world-class polo. The rules of beach polo are slightly different to that of grass polo, with adaptations largely due to the smaller size of the pitch.


What is high, medium and low goal polo?

Polo players are rated on their ability, and are given a handicap which ensures that matches will be fair. Polo handicaps start at -2 for beginners, and end at 10 goals, for the world’s best players; unlike golf, the higher your handicap, the better a player you are. In the UK the top handicapped player is 8 goals.

In order to form a team, the four players’ handicaps are aggregated to form a team handicap. Beach polo only has three players per team as the pitch is much smaller. Low goal polo is when the team handicap of the four players ranges from -8 to 8 goals, medium goal from 12-15, and high goal from 18 upwards.

Polo on the Beach is classified as a high goal match as is the highest beach polo played in the country. In 2013 team Joules and team First Great Western had a handicap of 15 goals to 16 goals respectively and was the highest ranked beach polo match of the year.

How are handicaps decided?

By a committee of players and officials at each club, and these are checked and confirmed at the end of the season by the governing body of polo, the Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA). Men and women play together and therefore are handicapped in exactly the same way.


A 40-goal team, that’s pretty good and pretty rare isn’t it?

Ten goals is the highest handicap a player can have. Therefore a 40-goal team is the highest you can have. There is one such team in the world at the moment: the La Dolfina team in the Argentine Polo Open comprised of Adolfo Cambiaso, Pelon Stirling, Pablo MacDonough, and Juan Martin Nero. You can’t get better than that.

Source: Claire Milford-Haven,


How many players in a beach polo team?

Two teams each made up of three players. The players in each team are numbered 1 to 3. Player 1 is the attacking position, player 2 is the midfield position and player 3 is the defence. There is only one umpire in beach polo. No player is allowed to approach the umpire during play. Due to safety all polo players must play right handed.

How big is the pitch?

The ground is a fenced area 100 yards long by 50 yards wide. The goal posts, positioned at each end of the ground, are six yards apart. Beach polo pitches are similar in size to arena polo pitches and are about a tenth of the size of a grass pitch.


How long is the beach polo match?

The full game is played over four chukkas. The first three chukkas are six and a half minutes long. The last chukka is played for six minutes dead, unless there is a draw, in which case a knock out chukka is played. The clock does not stop when the ball goes out of play – in beach polo the clock is only stopped when a foul has been committed. There are intervals of three minutes between chukkas and five minutes at half time, to “tread in” the playing surface. Ends are changed at every goal scored. This is due to wind and sun direction.

How long can a pony play?

Ponies can play a maximum of two chukkas in an afternoon with a rest of at least one chukka in between. There is no limit to the height of ponies but they are usually between 14.2 and 16 hands.

What is a foul?

A player following the ball on its exact line has the right of way over all other players. Any other player who crosses the player on the right of way close enough to be dangerous commits a foul. Penalties vary according to the degree of danger and closeness of the cross. No player may hook an opponent’s stick unless he is on the same side of the opponent’s pony as the ball. Dangerous play or rough handling is not allowed – a player may ride an opponent off, but must not charge in at an angle.


Polo glossary

Appealing – Claims by players for a foul, expressed by the raising of mallets above the head.

Back shot – Backhand swing, changing the flow of play by sending the ball in the opposite direction.

Bump – When a player directs his pony into the side of an opponent’s pony. See Ride off.

Check and turn – To slow the pony and turn safely.

Chukka – Term used for period of play in polo.

Goal Judge – An official goal observer appointed to signal by waving a flag over the head if a goal is scored, or under the waist if no goal.

Goal – Anytime the ball crosses the line between the goal posts, regardless of who (including ponies) knocks it through.

Handicap – Team play is handicapped on the basis of ability. A team’s handicap is the total of its players’ goal ratings. The team with the lower handicap is awarded the difference in goals at the start of the match.

Hands – Unit of measure for the height of a horse, one hand equals about four inches (hh).

Hit in – After the ball crosses the back line, the defending team knocks the ball back into play from their own back line.

Hook – Catching an opponent’s mallet in swing below the level of the players shoulder, to leave the ball for a teammate.

Leave it – A call to ride past the ball so that the team mate behind can hit it.

Line of the ball – The imaginary line produced by the ball when it is hit or deflected.

Nearside – The left hand side of the polo pony.

Neck shot – Hitting the ball under the horse’s neck.

Offside – The right hand side of the polo pony.

Pass – To hit the ball forward or laterally to a team mate.

Penalty – Numbered from 1 to 10, a free hit is awarded to the fouled, from a set distance determined by the severity of the foul committed.

Ride off - Two riders may make contact and attempt to push each other off the line to prevent an opponent from striking the ball.

Safety – Also known as Penalty 6, a defending player hits the ball over his own back line.

Swing – Hitting at the ball with the mallet using one of four basic shots: forehand, backhand, neck, and tail.

Tail shot – hitting the ball behind and under the horse’s rump.

Throw in – When the umpire starts or resumes the match, he rolls the ball down the center of a line up of players and horses.

Time out – An umpire may call a time out when a foul is committed, an accident occurs, or at his or her discretion. A player may only call a time out if he has broken tack or is injured.


Joules match day shirts #POTB14

For the fourth year our team sponsors, Joules have created two colourful shirt designs for the mens’ professional polo match, taking place on Saturday 5th July at 6pm.

Both shirts can be purchased ahead of the event online, or on match day itself from the Joules pop-up shop right on the beach. Pick the team you want to win and wear their shirt to support them.

Team Joules will be sporting a blue polo with contrast red and white side panels.


Whilst First Great Western will be playing in a striking orange with navy diagonal panel.


Both shirts are part of the official Watergate Collection from Joules’ spring summer 2014 and come in sizes S to XXL. Priced at £59.95.

Choose your team and show your support by wearing their polo shirt to Veuve Clicquot Polo on the Beach this year!

Eight years of Polo on the Beach

In eight years we will see over 15 different polo players (quite a few like to come back) and 40 horses taking part in 11 polo matches on the beach (five of which in the last year), with eight different winner trophies all expertly created by local talents and our polo captain Andy Burgess from South West Polo.


Take a look at the different team shirts, some of which have featured in the Joules Spring Summer collections.











Sponsors +

Veuve Clicquot Joules First Great Western Cornwall Farmers Land Rover HSBC Radio Cornwall