Polo clubs in the District invite Washingtonians of all walks of life to “horse around.”
By Jonathan Sylvester
The game of polo is associated with beautiful horses galloping across large expanses of green lawn while immaculately dressed onlookers enjoy the spectacle. Think Tom Buchanan in The Great Gatsby or the English aristocracy. But three of the Washington area’s leading polo clubs say they want to make the sport accessible to a wider array of spectators and participants. They offer lessons for enthusiasts at all skill levels, and they encourage anyone and everyone to come watch.
A 50-mile drive from D.C. through scenic horse country will bring you to Virginia International Polo Club, or V.I.Polo for short, at 21515 Trappe Rd. in Upperville. Although V.I.P. might suggest elite status, the club prides itself on making polo accessible to spectators and participants from all walks of life. Maureen Brennan, the founder of the Virginia International Polo Club, said the club’s polo school supports players of all skill levels and financial backgrounds while they learn the sport.
“A student can enter the leagues and play matches without having to own a horse,” she said. “They can play with other beginners, more advanced players and very helpful professional players.”
Matches are scheduled all day Saturday and Sunday and several times during the week, she said, so that spectators have a wide opportunity of times to come out and watch. Admission is never charged unless it is a private or charity event.
So why watch polo? It “is the fastest sport in the world, not including motorized vehicles,” Brennan said “The synchronicity of horse and rider in a high-speed game is incredible.”
If you are interested in learning more about the Virginia International Polo club you can visit their website here.
Also, Virginia has Great Meadow Polo located on Old Tavern Road in The Plains. It offers an entirely different form of the sport – arena polo. The club built an arena and limits the game to three players on a side who battle over a small soccer ball. According to the website, that makes the sport more affordable, easier to learn and more exciting to watch. For adults and teens interested into getting into polo, the club offers a ten-hour program to teach the fundamentals. And, the club has a second mission. It raises money for the preservation of open land in the Virginia Piedmont and funding youth sports, family activities and education. The club also hosts a variety of themed events every Saturday. Food can be purchased on grounds or brought with you. No dogs, please. To learn more, visit the Great Meadow Polo website.
For Marylanders, 30 miles away from D.C. in Poolesville, the Capitol Polo Club encourages spectators to enjoy their weekly Sunday afternoon matches that begin at 3:00. Capitol Polo Club offers lessons for people of all skill levels.
For those looking for a great weekend excursion, grab your favorite polo shirt, hop in the car (it is a fairly long ride on horse) and head to the polo club nearest you. For the more adventurous, polo lessons are available. Boots and a few shots of courage are all that you need bring.