Polo lesson at South West Polo
First prize of our Instagram competition, ‘Snap & Win’, is a polo lesson with ‘South West Polo’ set up and run by Andrew Burgess, current captain of Team First Great Western,Team Cornwall and a Hurlingham Polo Association approved Club Instructor. We have been lucky enough to have worked with Andy Burgess since the beginning of polo and without his help and contacts in the polo world, Polo on the Beach would not be possible.
South West Polo is based just outside of Wadebridge in north 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 and the only polo club in Devon and Cornwall.
Andy 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! You don’t even have to be able to ride to enjoy polo. Andy has horses for all abilities so if you just want to learn how to swing the mallet at a gentle walk then you can still enjoy a lesson.
The lesson kicks off with the general rules and kit that you need to stay safe. Then you learn the basic swing which forms the basis of all the movements. Once you have mastered this with your feet on terra firma, it’s time to get on the pony and give it a go 5ft off the ground, without losing your balance. Andy’s ponies are used to waving mallets and so give plenty of patience to the novice polo player.
Once comfortable with the pony, holding the reigns in one hand and the mallet in the other, you start by hitting stationary balls in a straight line at walk. This can lead on to a line of balls finishing off with one positioned in front of the goal, firstly approaching at walk and then on to canter. Polo ponies don’t tend to do much in trot. If you are a competent rider, you can start the hour lesson with no experience of polo at all and end with a short one on one knock around at canter.
“A polo lesson is great fun and a good way to learn a new sport. We guarantee that after watching the professional polo players at this year’s event you’ll be itching to get in the saddle yourself!”
Andrew Burgess, Southwest Polo