Author Archives: Watergate Bay

Ponies on the Platform

It wasn’t your everyday commute this morning in London.


This morning  ponies and players from First Great Western’s professional polo team made an appearance at London Paddington station. They welcomed bleary-eyed commuters off the First Great Western early morning services, at the official launch of Veuve Clicquot Polo on the Beach.

First Great Western team players Richard Blake Thomas and ex-gladiator Amy Guy took to the saddle on two polo ponies in this rather unusual setting. Apparently this is a first for First great Western!

First Great Western, who sponsor Polo On The Beach, will transport spectators down to Cornwall this weekend as well as the team who make Polo on the Beach possible, the players and grooms. But they’ll be traveling by high speed train with 2250 horse power, driven by a power car weighing in at 70 tonnes and stretching to almost 18 metres in length, as opposed to a 1 horse power pony, varying in weight and standing at 14.2 – 16 hands high.


With only 5 days to go we can’t wait for the weekend!

Polo on the Beach 2013 #POTB13

An estimated 8,000 spectators attended Veuve Clicquot Polo on the Beach this weekend enjoying a programme of high goal polo matches, equestrian stunt displays and a unique kitesurfer versus polo pony challenge, as well as the Veuve Clicquot Champagne deck, The Beach Hut barbecue & bar, Joules welly wanging and the chance to win the Joules flowery Mini.

Polo on the Beach 2013

The action started on Saturday afternoon with a kitesurf versus polo pony challenge. Horse power proved dominant for Andy Burgess who rode Shrivar, a former racehorse, to victory in a race along the beach against world-record holding kitesurfer Andreya Bennett.

Andreya Bennett and Andy Burgess

Andy Burgess then enjoyed further success in the polo arena as his First Great Western Cornwall team put in an impressive performance against the Veuve Clicquot Rest of the World team, winning by 13 goals to six. Rob Brockett’s opening goal within 20 seconds of the klaxon got the match off to a flying start, putting the Rest of the World in the lead. Cornwall soon came back through goals from Tim Vaux and Daniel Loe taking them ahead by the end of the first chukka, from which point their lead became unbeatable.


Sunday’s entertainment began with a spectacular display of stunt riding from The Devil’s Horsemen, whose Cossack riders have appeared in films including Warhorse, Braveheart and Les Miserables.

The Devils Horsemen

The highlight of the weekend came with a high goal polo match between teams from Joules and First Great Western starring England international Jamie Le Hardy and Europe’s best arena polo player, Chris Hyde.

Team FGW

Team Joules

The match was the best seen at the Cornish beach; there was never more than two goals in it right from the first chukka. Andy Burgess, who captained the First Great Western team, said: “It couldn’t have got closer; for the first three chukkas there certainly wasn’t a goal between us. It was a brilliant game. The luck went with them, in the last chukka I missed a couple of vital hooks on my marking player.

Main match

“When you’re playing this level of polo if you miss a hook or you miss a ride off then they score. We got a bit unlucky, hit the post a couple of times, but Joules deserved to win. They played really well together and it was a great game all round.”


Food and drink was provided by Veuve Clicquot, Asahi and The Beach Hut. A menu of beef rendang, halloumi with cous cous and classic Beach Hut burgers were served and met with great reviews.


This really was the best year so far, we’re not sure how we are going to top it! Any ideas?

Chris Hyde & Jamie Le Hardy

International polo players Chris Hyde and Jamie Le Hardy have confirmed they’ll be playing in this years Polo on the Beach making it the highest handicapped beach polo match this season!

Chris Hyde


Handicap: Nine goals

Chris is Europe’s highest ever handicapped arena player at 9 goals. He captained the successful England team beating America in February 2013 at Hickstead and also won the St Moritz Snow Polo in January this year with Team Cartier. Chris was then named World Polo Tour Most Valuable Professional Player. This will be Chirs’ first time to Polo on the Beach and we are delighted to have him playing this year. It really highlights the calibre of the polo which is played on Watergate Bay.

Chris Hyde

Image by Tony Ramirez –

Jamie Le Hardy

Jamie Le Hardy

Handicap: Seven goals

Jamie has been playing polo for 25 years, starting at the age of 12. He has played in over 40 countries around the world, captaining both England and Scotland on numerous occasions. He’s won nine national opes during his polo career as well as many other prestigious titles. Jamie is a regular at Polo on the Beach and has been playing for team Joules for the last few years.

Jamie is a Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA) Qualified Coach and runs his own Polo tuition school ‘Le Hardy Polo‘. He likes to get involved with lots of sports and loves to surf whenever he can.


We are looking forward to welcoming both Chris and Jamie to Polo on the Beach!

Polo on the Beach scone recipe #choosecornish


There will be plenty to eat and drink throughout the polo weekend. Open from 12 midday – 8pm each day there will be the Veuve Clicqout Champagne deck and The Beach Hut Barbecue and bar right on the sand next to the polo pitch. Neil Haydock’s afternoon tea of Danish open sandwiches and scones with jam and Rodda’s clotted cream will be served in the hotel during the the House Party VIP reception on Sunday 19th May, along with lots of other delicious dishes. Check out the full menu for the House Party.

But, If you can’t make it to Veuve Clicquot Polo on the Beach this year you can still enjoy a proper Cornish cream tea by making your scones at home. Take a look at Neil Haydock’s recipe for scones using Rodda’s Cornish clotted cream, all in support of the Cornwall Food and Drink campaign #ChooseCornish.

Makes 12 scones
500g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
15g baking powder
100g caster sugar
100g salted butter, diced
250ml milk
1 free-range medium , lightly beaten
227g pot of Rodda’s Cornish clotted cream
200g good-quality strawberry jam

Rub the flour, butter, sugar and baking powder together to form a crumb.
Add the milk and form a smooth, soft dough with your hands.
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to 2.5 cm thick and cut into rounds with a 5cm cutter. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Brush the tops of the scones twice with the beaten egg.
Bake in the oven for approximately 15 minutes. Do not over-bake them or they will be dry.
Serve warm with the Rodda’s Cornish clotted cream and strawberry jam – The perfect Cornish cream tea.

Watch the recipe video

Neil Haydock Scone Recipe

Music at Polo on the Beach

As well as two adrenalin pumped polo matches we have a great line up of live music each evening.


On Saturday 18th May Adam Isaac will be taking to the stage. Adam has built a strong southwest following over the past 10 years playing a mixture of rock/pop original songs and covers at many music venues and festivals. In 2009 Adam supported Devonian lass Joss Stone and in 2012 made it to the quarter final stages of BBc’s ‘The Voice UK’ with the legendary Sir Tom Jones as his coach.


Sunday 19th May sees AlBenAza take the mic. AlBenAza is a band with two styles. On the one hand they are an acoustic trio that focuses on three part vocal harmonies, but on the other they are an instrument swapping, beat boxing, rock, reggae, funk band. AlBenAza has supported the likes of KT Tunstall, Seth Lakeman and Alabama 3 and played at festivals such as Beach Break Live and Maker Sunshine Festival.


And the live music doesn’t stop there…


Winter Mountain and Revolver, will be playing into the night on Sunday 19th at the VIP House Party at Watergate Bay Hotel.

Winter Mountain hail from the shores of Cornwall and Donegal, playing a blend of melodic folk songs. Whilst Revolver, a cover’s band, will be playing a mixture of rock/pop tunes you will all recognise and be sure to get you on the dance floor!



If you’d like to make a real event of Polo on the Beach and attended the VIP House Party you can book your tickets here.

Team polo shirts

Polo on the Beach 2013 see’s the return of Joules and First Great Western as our team sponsors. And once again Joules have provided the great team polo shirts which you can purchase ahead of the event online. There will also be a Joules stand on the beach so you will have the opportunity to buy them on the day.

The shirts will be worn during the Watergate Bay trophy professional match between team Joules and team First Great Western on Sunday 19th May at 5:30pm. Pick the team you want to win and wear their shirt to support them.

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


Whilst First Great Western will be playing in a colourful check shirt.


Both shirts are part of the official Watergate Collection from Joules’ spring summer 2013 collection and come in sizes small to XXL. Priced at £59.95.

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

Gerard Naprous and The Devil’s Horsemen

Are you familiar with films such as Braveheart? Gladiator? And Les Miserables?

Thought so.

Well, The Devil’s Horsemen, performing two Cossack stunt shows on Sunday afternoon, have featured in all of these plus many more film and TV appearances! We are delighted that one of Europe’s leading horsemasters and stuntmen, Gerard Naprous, will be bringing his Devil’s Horsemen and eight horses (from a troop of 70 horses) to perform at Veuve Clicquot Polo on the Beach.

The Devil's Horsemen in The Duchess

Despite being in such notorious film productions the Devil’s Horsemen have never before executed their Cossack performance on a beach! This is a Devil’s Horsemen first!

The Devil's Horsemen in action

The Cossack performance is going to be truly spectacular. You will witness riders hanging at impossible angles from horseback, vaulting, or even standing on the saddle whilst the horse is tearing along at full gallop! The riders need more than just physical fitness, gymnastic ability, they need a taste for danger!

The Cossacks originated on the great Russian Steppe, descendants of Genghis Kahn whose Mongol Cavalry was the most effective in military history. These battle techniques have been transformed into a spectacular display of acrobatics on horseback.

The two performances will be on Sunday 19th May at 3.00pm and 4.30pm on the polo pitch.

South West Polo Club

South West Polo lesson

First prize of our Instagram competition, ‘Snap & Win’, is a polo lesson with ‘South West Polo’ set up and run by Andrew Burgess, captain of Team First Great Western and Team Cornwall and a Hurlingham Polo Association approved Club Instructor.

South West Polo is based just outside of Wadebrige, Cornwall and welcomes anyone to try their hand at polo. They cater from beginner lessons through to playing chukkas at home and travelling to play at other clubs in the UK. It is one of the only polo clubs in Cornwall.

Andrew  has taught people of all ages how to play polo over the years and even had one client who started lessons in his sixties as a way to keep fit!

On their string of experienced school-master ponies south West Polo can tailor your lesson to suit your requirements, from a beginners introduction to Polo, swing technique on our wooden horse, the rules of Polo, instructional chukkas and team play.

We guarantee that after watching the professional polo players at this years event you’ll be dying to have a go yourself!

South West Polo lesson

Dreya Bennett: kite vs horse challenge

Dreya is a familiar face at Watergate Bay, having kitesurfed and surfed here for most of her life. A seasoned competitor on the kitesurf world circuit and not to mention a former champion of the TV show Gladiators!

Dreya will be taking part in our Kitesurfer vs Polo Pony challenge at Polo on the Beach on Saturday 18th May at 2:30pm, so we thought we’d introduce you to her.


Check out that orange wetsuit and board you certainly wont miss her! Dreya will be representing Veuve Clicquot in the kite vs pony challenge.

How long have you been kitesurfing?

Henry Ashworth who set up the Extreme Academy got me into kitesurfing about 12 years ago (I was 28). Dreya also established the first Kitesurf school in the country with Henry Ashworth.

Career highlights

The biggest highlight for me was the first event I ever managed to go with Flexifoil to Cape Verde Islands; this was before it became a World Tour Event and just a few of the top riders were there. Being there, watching them and my first key kitesurfing event when I was still learning was amazing. I felt like I was at the birth of something really great and that those names would become iconic.


And, of course, another highlight was competing. Each competition brought with it new tests and challenges keeping me invigorated and excited about kitesurfing.  A competing highlight was actually beating Cindy Mosey who was five times world champion. (Beating her in one heat I should add, but none the less, a win!)


The Isles of Scily to Watergate crossing, that one was really special as it was dedicated to my best friend who tragically died in a kite accident in Germany. We set up the crossing to raise funds for a trust in her memory:

And I couldn’t leave out the Ireland crossing in 2005 sponsored by Veuve Clicquot. I left from Watergate Bay and travelled the Atlantic across to the Irish coast at Dungarven. This crossing won me two Guinness World Records: Longest Journey by Kite and Longest  Continuous Kite Journey by a Woman. the journey was 115.4 nautical miles or 132.80 miles in total. In fact this World Record still stands!

Watergate Bay

Watergate will always be extremely special to me – I grew up here, I got married here, I learnt to surf here, I learnt to kite here, I picked up half my scars here.


Kite vs Polo Pony Challenge


What conditions are you looking for on the day?

Perfect conditions would be a 20 mph westerly wind. I can ride in anything from 10mph winds but anything less than that would be hard. I don’t want anything with easterly in it as it comes of the cliffs and making my kite spin. I there is a southerly or northerly wind then I’ll be heading straight out out over the swell and back into it again which will make it much much harder.

How do you think you’re going to fare against your competitor Andy?

In think it’ll be really close actually but it will totally depend on the wind and how fast we can both run!


We are very excited to be welcoming back Dreya to take part in the Kite vs Polo Pony challenge and considering Dreya can reach speeds up to 40 knots we think its going to be a close call as to who will win!

Andy Burgess: player profile


Having played at clubs across the UK and abroad Andy decided to set up South West Polo to allow people to experience the ‘King of Sports’ for themselves. Over the past few years interest in Polo has grown dramatically with new clubs opening yearly. Watergate Bay Hotel and Andy Burgess got together back in 2007 to introduce the sport of polo to an new audience and seven years on we have certainly helped it become more well known in Cornwall and the South West.

Andy is integral to the organisation of Polo on the Beach at Watergate Bay, he was in fact the umpire in the first year.

Andy will be racing against Dreya Bennett in the Kitesurfer vs Polo Pony challenge. We managed to catch up with Andy to ask him about his career as a polo player and how he feels he will fare against Dreya.


How many years have you been playing polo?
I have been playing polo for approximately 20 years but riding horses since I was three.

What are some of your career highlights?
I have had many highlights over my career as a polo player but these are three that really stand out for me:
– Winning the Hamburg Open in 2001 as the only English player in an all German team.
– Playing for Belmont Polo Team in the Royal Berkshire Festival in 2000.
– Qualifying as a Hurlingham Polo Association Accredited Professional Coach.

Who can play polo?
Anyone really. I have taught people of all ages over the years and even had one client who started lessons in his sixties as a way to keep fit!
There are a growing number of Universities with polo societies inviting novice and seasoned riders to try out the sport.

What do you enjoy most about playing polo?
For me it is the speed and competitive nature of the sport along with the interaction with such amazing horses. You also get to meet some really great people along the way.

What do you like about riding/playing polo at Watergate Bay?
I love playing Polo at Watergate Bay and it has become very much the highlight of my Polo season. The sand  at Watergate Bay gives us, and more importantly the horses, an amazing surface to play on. Although there are other beach polo matches in the UK and around the world I feel this event is unique due to the spectacular location set below the towering cliffs and the Hotel.

Which horse will you be riding during the Kitesurfer vs Polo Pony challenge?
I will be riding Shrivar, an ex race horse. He is 15 years old from Irish decent. Shrivar a.k.a ‘Lofty’, can reach speeds up to 40mph and won ‘Best Player Pony’ at last years Royal Cornwall Show.

What conditions are you looking for on the day?
Dry would be nice! Ideally, I think Dreya would like a Westerly wind but but shouldn’t make too much difference to Shrivar and myself although we’d prefer not to have a head wind!

How do you think you’re going to fare against Dreya? 
I don’t know for sure, Shrivar was a very good racehorse during his racing career, but this is the first time I’ve ever raced against a Kitesurfer! I have done a bit of research on Dreya though and it looks like I may have my work cut out!


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