La Low Goal
12 months ago, I was sat here in front of this very same monitor, contemplating how I was about start an online magazine when I possessed little, if any skills, contacts or ideas that would be at all relevant. 1 year on, and very little has changed. But, somehow, we have done it. 12 issues, one printed special, countless guests and literally thousands of reads. And for all that we owe you a massive thank you. No matter whether you are a contributor, critic, photographer or an anonymous reader, La Low Goal relies entirely upon all of you and we are extremely grateful.
Going forward, we want to hear even more from you, after all, this is your magazine. Whether you’ve got a controversial opinion, new venture, good tournament win or even just a funny picture of your horse, send them in. La Low Goal can be whatever you want to be, and is made up of whatever you want to share. Get your voice heard and get noticed. We are open to anyone, whether you’re a 6 goal pro or a -2, we want something from, and hopefully have something, for everyone. Even if you don’t have the time or don’t feel qualified to write yourself, send us any suggestions for articles, send us your tweaks and suggestions and send us your opinions and feedback on what we do produce. The best way for us to gauge what you want to see is by you letting us know.
For the meantime though, we’ve got yet another issue jam packed with opinions, match reports and top tips on how to improve your horse and your polo. From the new ‘The Basics’ series looking at some of the fundamental skills beginners must master when taking up polo, to the highly contentious issues regarding the FIP. We’ve also got tips on horse welfare from Dodson and Horrell, looking at feeding towards the end of the season, as well as an introduction to carrot stretches and what they can do for you. The normal suspects are back, Ignacio gives his thoughts on umpiring and Chukka Wellness returns with an update on the Ladies Polo Foundation’s training day. Elsewhere we have a wealth of club news and tournament write ups, including the recent Alumni Polo Network tournament, and a look into the HPA’s ‘vision for polo’ document, and its possible outcomes.
So, ladies and gentlemen, don your party hats and get stuck in. Its a cracker.
by low goal for low goal
Contents Page 4
Ignacio Fernandez Llorente - Umpire / Player
Opinion - HPAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Vision For Polo
FIP - A failure or success?
The Basics -Rising canter and the half seat
Junior HPA - Hipwood, Rocksavage and Buckmaster results
Jeniffer Little -Maintaining condition towards the end of the season
Chukka Wellness - Ladies polo foundation training day
Carrot stretches -How they can help your horse
Gear Guide -Bridles
Alumni Polo Network - Details of the inaugural Alumni Polo Tournament
Club News - Match reports from all over the UK
Mercy Ngulube - On Power of Polo and her introduction to polo
Ignacio Fernandez Llorente Umpire / Player Many times the polo players on the field consider that they have certain rights, such as: That the umpire should explain and discuss their decisions. A player through screams and gestures demonstrate that they have disrespectful attitudes towards the umpires, they simulate fouls by changing lines or claiming fouls that are clearly nonexistent, giving indications to the umpires at all times, or giving their opinion of each of the umpires decisions, players who try to show that the umpire does not understand anything. All those players should have to remember that they are playing polo, and not soccer. The rules of polo have small variations, but they are applied practically the same throughout the world. I copy what the Argentine polo regulations say: "The task of the umpire is a task of responsibility that deserves respect for this person and their decisions, even if he could believe it wrong in any of them."
Playing polo is a pleasure, but it will cease to be when there are continuous fouls or discussions that disturb and distort the atmosphere of cordiality that must reign among those who practice and enjoy polo. No player may claim an infraction to the umpire or require explanations about the incidents of the game, or expect explanation of the decisions taken in the exercise of their roles. This does not inhibit captains to discuss other issues of the game with the umpires. The words "harmful conduct to the game", include not only dangerous moves, but also disobedience of players and oﬀensive or disrespectful attitudes towards the umpires. The behaviour of the players on the field of play is very clear. It is very clear what is right and what is wrong. It is up to you (umpire, player, spectator, commentator, journalist, fan, etc.) to make polo look like soccer or not.
When you miss a 30 yard penalty
5 YEARS ON… The HPA’s ‘vision for polo’ documents all the proposed changes that the HPA are working towards over the next 5 years, covering topics from handicapping, to foreign relations and development.
I am currently staring at a 7 page document, catchily titled
‘An HPA Consultation Paper Developing a Vision for Polo over the next 5 years - adapting the sport and responding to the key challenges polo faces today’.
And… it seems to make a lot of sense.
You weren’t expecting that, were you? No, its not flawless, but the issues raised are very real ones, and the solutions suggested, while vague at times, are realistic and, at face value, seem workable. Not everyone will be a fan of all of it, I am not, and I know of people who would be less pleased, but life is about compromises, and this ‘vision’ seems to strike a good balance that I could see inviting more people into the game, reversing polo’s decline. The document sets out 6 key areas in need of adaptation, which are as follows.
Growing the game The HPA recognises and accepts that the sport has slipped into decline, with membership and patron numbers slipping by 20% from 2008, and current membership numbers hanging around 2700. Although they aim to bring people into the sport at all levels, the main aim is of course at grass-roots level. This initiative is being met by producing a growth committee headed by MHF Polo. This will see a number of clubs joining forces to market the game, using a number of channels including social media to promote opportunities to experience and watch the game. The HPA also plans to work more closely with SUPA to reduce the number of players giving the game up after leaving full time education. 0 goal and 2 goal national leagues will also be set up with regional heats followed by national semi-finals and finals to giving more purpose to low goal polo, while a new categorising system of amateurs and pros will provide amateurs with more opportunities by enforcing that at least 1 amateur besides the patron is needed in teams up to 8 goal.
Handicapping Perhaps likely to become one of the most controversial elements of the vision is the section and handicapping. While the new regulations oďŹ&#x20AC;er up more opportunities to English amateurs and low goal pros, many foreign players may lose out with the new system, and existing teams of pros and patrons be broken up, a disadvantage to both parties. The proposed regulations are a extension of the current measures taken to keep low goal polo open. Currently there are limits on the highest handicap a single player can be in low goal tournaments, and a limit on the combined handicap of the two best players on the team. This is set to be further restricted with both maximum handicaps being decreased throughout the low goal levels. The aim of this is to improve the standard of polo by spreading the handicap more evenly throughout the team, reducing the emphasis on one player. However many pros over 3 goals would oppose this kind of change as many may struggle to find enough games in the higher goal levels to support themselves.
Elsewhere limits have been set on handicaps for foreign players, where they can only play 1 goal below there highest international handicap, and, if under the age of 18 must play oďŹ&#x20AC; there highest international handicap. This helps to make polo fairer by avoiding situations where these players have a unrealistically low handicap due to playing infrequently in the country.
The HPA are also adamant about implementing their controversial system which debuted to a â&#x20AC;Ś mixed reaction last year. This sees the -2 handicap purely as a introductory handicap, and almost all players are moved up to -1 after their first year playing. This is meant to decrease the disparity in the low handicaps, but would require a shift in tournaments held, as now the standard for a particular level, say 0 goal, would be lower as everyone has higher handicaps.
The HPA Development committee is proposed to be more heavily structured as new levels, U14, U18, U21, U25 and sen implemented. This would also give the committee more direction as each level can be tasked with improving a certain as players game. This program would also support teams of these players participating in VL tournaments, helping the play and get noticed in more important tournaments.
The HPA also aims to set up a mandatory vocational program to support player who drop out of education at 16 or 18 to acquire a real qualification.
New patrons would also be able to be supported by the program, allowing them to improve to a level where they can pla chosen tournament standard.
Photo: Stephen Wall Photography
Behaviour and Animal Welfare This is another area where the HPA are continuing to further their current agenda, implementing new rules such as the carding system and regulations on whipping. These regulations are also likely to be extended to foul language, spur use and horse management. In particular bad language and unpleasant behaviour is set to be clamped down on in order to make the game more appealing to new players.
Investment in umpire education is set to continue, in the aim of improving the standard of umpiring and clamping own on these issues.
Foreign Relations The HPA is keen to remain open with other polo governing bodies, however it accepts that there is uncertainty, mainly due to Brexit which could hurt the relationship with non British players. The HPA also sees that implementing rules to prioritise English players over their foreign counterparts may sour relationships, but this system only mirrors that which Argentina and the USA already implement.
The HPA also want to confirm a rolling 3 year schedule of international events, allowing better organisation of team, and more importantly, sponsorship and promotion. This should help the success of each of these international events, boosting poloâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s popularity.
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Commercial and Governance Although vague, it is obvious that the HPA aims to establish a Commercial Activities board, in charge of licensing, sponsorship and events, in order to more eďŹ&#x20AC;ectively raise the revenue needed to to implement many of the afore mentioned plans.
Furthermore the overall governance of the HPA is set to be modernised with the aim of streamlining decision making processes.
Verdict This outline for the future of polo is not for everyone, yet it seems to accept that the greatest problem polo faces is its reputation with the outside world, as this has the ability to bring new members, sponsors and spectators to the game, giving it a new lease of life.
Everything from the more traditional style of the development system to the handicapping designed to prioritise amateur players to the animal welfare regulations is geared towards an influx of new, and therefore low goal players. This may annoy or even inhibit the ability of established patrons and pros to enter teams and continue as they have done for many years. Yet the HPA obviously feels that in order to combat the decline of the sport, these measures are required. And I agree.
STOP PRESS The HPA has recently released some feedback on their ‘Vision for Polo’ document. On the whole this is positive, yet there are a couple of minor alterations people have put forward. Almost all of this is focused on the, predictably controversial, handicapping section.
The -2 handicap is still aimed as being an introductory handicap, although this idea is taken further as a -1 should be moved up to a 0 goal handicap as soon as they are safe, understand the rules and have contributed to a team which has reached the finals of a tournament. This continues the realigning of the -2s and -1s seen last year upwards through the 0,1 and 2 goals handicap to avoid the ‘bottleneck eﬀect’.
Elsewhere U-turns have been made on both the 22 goal handicap and the regulations regarding under 18 players from abroad. Now the separate 22 goal handicap looks set to remain solely for the 22 goal high goal, rather than also being expanded to include 18 goal games, and under 18 year old players will be included in the wider regulations forcing foreign players to play a maximum of 1 goal lower than their highest international handicap, when originally it was proposed they would have to play oﬀ this, maximum handicap.
Somewhat unsurprisingly, major criticism has also been levelled at the further handicapping regulations set to be introduced for the lower goal games. People dislike the upper handicap
limits set for each level as it makes life more diﬃcult for high level pros. An alternative proposition for all tournaments from 2 to 10 goal would see all the minus handicap players eﬀectively play of 0 gaol handicap, as their handicap is not subtracted from the positively handicapped teammates. This automatically limits the highest handicap a player can have for a certain level as they can’t add -2s and -1s to their team to balance out a higher handicapped pro.
Apparently this would make it simpler to understand while maintaining current standards of play at each of the handicap levels. However surely this could stunt the development of minus goal players as it would be entirely pointless for a team to include these players when they may as well use a 0 goal player. Therefore they would get fewer games and less of a chance to improve.
Finally the suggestion has been made to get rid of half goal handicap goals and simply award full goals in all games. This would make the game easier to understand for casual fans who are not accustomed to the handicapping system while handing more advantage to lower handicapped teams.
The HPA continues to request any thoughts and comments on the paper, as it aims to build a vision for polo which the majority of players can benefit from and work towards.
ailu FEDERA N I NTERN
ropo P Olo
“Almost exclusively, across almost all sports, international competition is the pinnacle”
Think the world cup, the olympics or the world championships. Elite sports people delight in representing their home nation, in competing against all of the other countries in the world. All this, for the chance to become, definitely, the best at that particular sport, in the entire world. The stakes are higher than any other competition, the attraction greater, the spectators more numerous, the financial benefit larger…
But not in polo. In polo, we have sporadic, and apparently random international fixtures, at a range of handicap levels, pretty much depending on what the weakest side is able to muster together. And the FIP World Championships? Thats a 14 goal. Medium goal.
Now, before I get into bashing the FIPs approach, I do sympathise with them, and I can see the direction they are trying to approach, their aim of ‘strengthening polo’s global appeal’ from. But personally I think its wrong.
The FIP has set the handicap limit at 14 goals as they feel this is a limit which is achievable for some of the smaller countries, allowing more teams to compete, while still maintaining a good level of polo, higher than most people would find at their clubs. With more countries involved, and with
a realistic shot at taking home a decent position or perhaps even the win, there is the potential for an even bigger audience, from all over the globe. People are meant to be invested in there own country, and if they are part of the ‘World Championships’, they will watch the live broadcasts and become more interested with the championships and polo as a whole.
However I see it somewhat diﬀerently. In no other kind of international competition are the top teams or players handicapped to neutralise their advantages? People tune in to watch the Olympics or world championships to see the best of the best do what they do. Personally, when the Olympics are on, I enjoy watching a vast array of sports, which realistically I have little or no interest in, but I become unexplainably interested and excited by the competition, and the stories of some of the best competitors in history. I am not interested in an average taekwondo player, or a middling canoeist. No, but I would be interested in the best of each of these disciplines, even though I know little or nothing about them.
“If somebody is better than someone else, they deserve to win, simple as that"
Surely this is exactly what other people viewing polo are going to feel. I propose that the World championships is run as an entirely open tournament, no handicaps, no regulations. Argentina can turn up with Cambiaso, Facundo Pieres, Sapo Caset and Hillario Ulloa for all I care. And yes, everyone else is going to get thrashed, but thats how it should be. If somebody is better than someone else, they deserve to win, simple as that.
Perhaps fewer teams will enter, but there would be nothing stopping any country, even if they only had a 0 goal team between them, from sending a team. Maybe they would finish last, or maybe they could spring a surprise, but surely the prestige and the experience would be enough to attract teams, no matter of their chances of winning. We don’t play the football world cup at high school level to allow every country in existence to enter and be within a shout of
winning, so why should we do a similar thing for polo? As far as I can see it is just hurting the games reputation, as people will not take it seriously when they know the standard is not nearly as good as it could be.
Admittedly this kind of international model would have its drawbacks. For instance people may argue that the sheer inequality between the better teams like the USA and Argentina and the smaller ones like Germany and Switzerland would make the games predictable and therefore discourage spectators. This is a fair assumption, as the balance between unpredictability and fair sport is a hard one to find for many diﬀerent games (take formula e and Formula 1 for example). However I feel with the correct marketing this can be overcome. Every football world cup, literally millions of fans support the English side, yet deep down we all know we don’t have a chance in hell oﬀ lifting the trophy. Why should
polo be any diﬀerent? And when finally someone breaks the stranglehold that lets face it, Argentina would have, thats going to be all the more special. We all love an underdog, and no matter how good the Argentines are, they cannot win forever. Furthermore the kind of exposure polo may create for itself by showcasing the best polo on oﬀer, may lead to more and more people taking up the game, by default raising the maximum levels in those other countries as time goes on. The dominance of top teams like Argentina would only push others to topple them, growing the sport in the process.
Maybe it would be less exciting. Maybe the games would be less unpredictable. Maybe fewer teams would enter, but at least the games would be pure, proper polo. That’s what fans need to see, and thats what we need to show them if we want to be taken seriously.
The Flip Side
Polo’s current aim is to introduce itself to more and more people, especially those who would usually not come into contact with polo traditionally. These people will likely have very little experience of the game, and many will not even be able to tell diﬀerent handicapped tournaments apart. They do not know or care about the handicaps of the players or their roles within the team, only wether the game is close, exciting and fun to watch. They wouldn’t know Facundo Pieres if he was stood in front of them, and therefore have no desire to see the likes of him and other 10 goalers play over anybody else, especially if it is the the detriment of the game. Sure if you set Jorrocks children oﬀ in front of them they may begin to catch on, but for the most part, medium goal is more than suﬃce to attract many of these potential fans of the game. Perhaps as they become more aquainted with the game they will discover the high goal and lose interest with the lower
handicapped international games, but by this point the FIP has already succeeded in introducing these people to the sport. For the devout players and fans, yes you could view these games as artificial and disinteresting as it is not the ‘top' level, but we have to remember that if the game is to continue to strive it needs to have a solid grounding of beginners and supporters, and these are exactly the people who will be drawn to tight, unpredictable international games, especially when a 'world championship’ is on the line. Polo needs to be exciting and engaging at all costs, only then will fans come to watch. Fans bring opportunities to the sport, as they provide income, the potential for new players, helping clubs and coaches, and new sponsors which only go further to promote the game and invest in the clubs and teams. Polo needs fans. And fans want close polo.
Basics Everyone has been there. The sinking dread as your instructor mutters those awful words…
“you don’t need sticks today, its a riding lesson” Yet, the lessons learnt here are perhaps the most important of any you will learn in polo. So many beginners focus far too much on the swing and game play in their early lessons, and as a result their lack of riding ability comes back to bite them further down there line.
The single most common issue that beginners face is forgetting to rise into their half seats to take their shots. Far too often we see people cantering around, sat deep in the saddle and swinging unsuccessfully for the ball from there. Convincing new players to use this half seat is incredibly diﬃcult, especially with non riders as they feel unstable and vulnerable in this position. Furthermore, even experienced riders often struggle and forget all they have learnt when they make the transition to canter, due to the relative lack of standing in canter in more conventional equine disciplines.
In order to combat this issue, we often build up, starting at a halt, showing and explaining the half seat and allowing the instructors to tweak the position to give a more balanced and stable hitting position. The most important thing to remember here is to encourage a triangular base, where the toes are pointed inwards. This angles the knees into the saddle and helps keep the player stable in the saddle. Once this position has been set the riders can slowly build up in walk and trot, attempting to hold the position for as long as possible. This may be diďŹ&#x192;cult for some, as often this position demands a lot from the thigh muscles of inexperienced players. Most will be able to adopt the position in walk and trot as the gait of the horse is less oďŹ&#x20AC;-putting for their balance and most will already be aquatinted to rising trot, so standing in the saddle is already natural to them.
In canter however many people seem far less comfortable. Reasons for this vary from simply the increase in speed, the diďŹ&#x20AC;erent gait or the lack of experience standing in the saddle. Usually this can be fixed by teaching players rising canter. Very similar to rising trot, rising canter allows the players to learn to stand and become comfortable in canter, without having to put too much strain on their legs and balance with the half seat. Some will find it come naturally to them, however others may have to follow other players to understand and match their timing. As soon as the players have found this timing, it is almost impossible to unlearn it. Over time the use of this rising canter will make them much more likely to adopt the half seat in canter and therefore adopt the correct hitting position.
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1. one of the two upright posts, often padded, wooden or woven, which form a goal, where points are awarded for scoring between them 2. an offensive weapon often used to attack and dismount distracted players. See below:
HPA The Flannels British Junior Polo Championships is split into three categories, for diďŹ&#x20AC;erent handicap teams and aged children. These begin at Hipwood, for players under the age of 14 with a team handicap between -8 and -5. Next up is Rocksavage, for players under the age of 17 and with a combined handicap between -5 and 0 goals. Finally Buckmaster is open to players under 19 years of age, with teams ranging from 0 goals to 4 goals.
24 Photo by Alice Gibbs
Hipwood La Oma and Park Place made it to the finals of Hipwood to battle it out for the Smail Cup, with the three remaining teams, Cowdray, Twyford and Oxford polo fighting it out in the subsidiary for the Emerson Trophy. In this the Cowdray team managed to win both their games and take home 3rd overall in Hipwood.
In the final, Tallulah Murphy had to be substituted in for Beltran Laugh on the La Oma side ,due to Belteran having to go back to school in Argentina. Despite this setback the La Oma side played well, with Noah Hyde picking up all 4 of his teams goals. Unfortunately the Park Place team of proved too strong, beating out the La Oma side, 7-4 thanks to the goal scoring of Louis Hine, Catalina Lavina and Varara Boradina, all who were supported by the young Tani Darritchon. From left to right:
Catalina Lavinia, Bavaria Boradina, Tani Darritchon, Louis Hine
Park Place: Tani Darritchon, Vavara Boradina, Louis Hine, Catalina Lavinia La Oma: Tallulah Murphy (replacing Beltran Laulhe), Talan Dudd, Billy Cooper, Noah Hyde Cowdray: Ruby Hickmet, Ollie Drewitt, Will Millard, Rufus Ulloth Twyford: Shrey Rawal, Aramay Sheikh, Lucas Stern, Hector Rogberg Oxford Polo: George Copcutt, Archie Heseltine, Billy Barlow, Marcos Pejkovic
Rocksavage The Cheshire team of George Smith, Ed Morris, Connor Kay and Oliver Conway-Johnson took the win in rocksavage beating the Home farm team (William Drewitt, Ollie Heard, Catalina Lavinia, Robbie Slatter) 7-4,1/2 at Flemish Farm.
The subsidiary was an American Tournament held between the three teams, Henley, Madams Farm and Stoneyhill. Both Madams Farm and Henley managed to beat the girls of Stoneyhill but drew against each other. Madams Farm ran out the winners on goal diďŹ&#x20AC;erence, taking home third position.
Cheshire: George Smith, Connor Kay, Ollie Conway-Johnson, Ed Morris Home Farm: William Drewitt, Ollie Heard, Catalina Lavinia, Robbie Slatter Madams Farm: Timi Badiru, Bilal Dantata, Tomi Ojora, Ollie Davis Henley: Barney Hughes, Ruby Hickmet, Minty Clarry, Benji Mancini Stoneyhill: Jemima Walker,Lucy McLaughlin, Kiki Severn, Beanie Bradley
Photo by The Art Of Polo
From left to right: Ed Morris, George Smith, Connor Kay, Oliver Conway Johnson
Buckmaster Buckmaster, the highest level of Junior HPA for under 19 year olds only saw three team entries this year. In the group games both Longdole and Kirtlington beat Cirencester, handing each a place in the final against one another. The game was fast and close throughout as the teams went into the final chukka with 3 goals apiece, only to both
increase these to 4 each towards the end of the match. Within seconds of the final bell the Kirtlington team fouled, anding a penalty to the Longdole team which they duly converted, giving no time of the Kirtling time to equalise. Therefore Longdole ran out the winners of Buckmaster.
Photo credit: www.alicegipps.com
Longdole: Kiki Severn, Monte Swain-Grainger (replaced by William Drewitt in the 3rd chukka), Alfie Hyde, George Deverall Kirtlington: Toby Bradshaw, Fred Thame, Johnny Beck Brown, Lucas Monteverde h. Cirencester: Denis Antonov, Louis Heard, Ed Walker, Jack Aldridge
26 Photo credit: www.alicegipps.com
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MAINTAINING BO TOWARDS THE EN Jennifer Little RNutr MSc Bsc Hons
As the summer progresses towards the end of the polo season a common concern can be issues around maintaining weight and condition on playing ponies. The demands of the playing season can result in undesirable weight loss and measures may be required to prevent this from occurring. Body fat (also called Adipose tissue) functions as much more than just an important energy store. The adipose tissue enables the body to store some vitamins (called fat-soluble vitamins), protects the internal organs, helps to maintain body glucose levels and functions to insulate the body.
Underweight horses with below optimal body fat have been shown to be at a greater risk of contracting other diseases, poorer athletic performance and lower lean muscle mass.
Before any alterations to feeding rations are made its important to firstly asses their current body condition. Body Condition Scoring involves assigning a score of 0 to 5 to each section of the horse and an average of the three scores for the final Body Condition Score, see images 1 & 2.
Image 1: The three sections of the horse
ODY CONDITION ND OF THE SEASON
Image 2: Body condition scoring A more detailed explanation of carrying out a BCS assessment with a downloadable weight tracker is available at https:// www.dodsonandhorrell.com/news/fat-scoring.
The ideal Body Condition Score for a playing polo pony would be 2.5-3, if the score is below 2.5 changes to the feeding ration may be required. Weight gain is achieved when energy or calories consumed exceeds the amount being used for the maintenance of all bodily functions plus those being used for exercise. Horses can obtain calories from fibre, carbohydrates, protein and fats. Digestive health demands that fibre makes up the largest proportion of a horses’ diet, providing at least 2% of the horses’ body weight per day. However, fibre often doesn’t
provide the highest calorie density, so additional feeds are required in order to achieve desired weight gain.
Facing the scenario of needing a horse to gain condition it can be tempting to increase the volume of their current hard feed. This will achieve an increase in total calories consumed and possibly the desired weight gain. If the weight gain is only achieved when exceeding the manufacturer’s recommended feed intake, there is likely to be a provision of other nutrients such as starch above the optimal levels for health and performance. If the increase is within the feeding recommendations it may still result in undesirable behavioural, such as over excitability. The added complication of 29
increasing the amount of hard feed given is that the daily ration will need to be split into a greater number of feeds throughout the day. No more than 2kg of a concentrate feed should be fed at one time, this is due to the relatively small size of a horseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s stomach, approximately the size of a rugby ball for a 500kg horse. Increasing the number of meals required in a day can be problematic and time consuming depending on stable management.
Oils (e.g. soya oil) can also be used to increase calories in a smaller volume than with hard feeds. However, oils can be messy, costly and unpalatable when fed at the required levels (250ml-500ml) for weight gain. The inclusion of oils at this feeding rate also increases the need for additional antioxidants such as Vitamin E. Therefore, if oils are being used for weight gain, a daily vitamin supplement will also need to be added into the ration to compensate. Alternatively, the hard feed can be switched for one with a higher energy density, allowing for more calories to be provided in the same volume. Hard feed such as Elite Sports Muesli provides more calories via oils rather than starch when compared with some comparison diets. This can encourage body condition gain
without the heating aspect of higher starch alternatives. In situations where changing the hard feed during the season isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t appealing the addition of Dodson and Horrellâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Build & Glow to their current feed is an outstanding option. Build and Glow is in a pelleted form, much like a small nut and is fed at just 100g/100kg bodyweight per day. It encourages weight gain and the building of condition through a blend of palatable oils and protein levels, supporting muscle development and top-line condition. Build and Glow is balanced with antioxidants containing additional vitamin E, negating the need for extra vitamin supplements. Build and Glow can be conveniently added to their current diet without the mess involved with oils or the volumes required from upping hard feed levels, it is non-heating to avoid undesirable behaviour such as over excitability.
Throughout the year it is important to routinely asses and monitor a horse or ponies body condition and make alterations to rations or workload where necessary, to ensure the body condition score never drops below 2.5 or exceeds 3.5.
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Chukka Wellness had the honour of oﬀering their fitness services to The Ladies Polo Foundation’s first training day
The LPF Ladies Polo Foundation was set up to provide the training and tools to the younger polo generation allowing them to maximize their potential within the sport.
Within the foundation there are 6 ambassadors - all top UK female polo players including Nina Clarkin, Tamara Fox, Rebecca Walters, CC Colthurst, Tiva Gross and Sarah Wiseman.
The first LPF training day was held at Cirencester Polo Club where attendees received coaching on an array of diﬀerent polo skills from some of the ambassadors.
Chukka Wellness were glad to oﬀer their support in the form of fitness training sessions and some give away goodie bags. Each group session began with a mobility routine followed by some muscle engaging exercises, fun team exercises and to finish oﬀ some strength work using resistance bands.
The aim of the fitness session was to raise awareness to players that fitness training doesn’t mean spending hours in the gym or sweating away to see results. You can still create a quick and eﬀective workout using minimal equipment that can be performed anywhere, how about the polo field, your living room or even on the yard!
We also wanted to stress that there are simple strategies you can implement into your training programme to reduce the risk of injury. Players who suﬀer with common polo injuries such as ongoing back pain, shoulder tightness and weak wrists tend to strap everything up to mask the injury. But inevitably the body will give up and players may be forced to retire early for good!
We thought we would reiterate this message to LA LOW GOAL readers and share with you Chukka Wellness’ top tips on how to reduce the risk of injury.
1. Build out a personalised polo-specific dynamic warm up that targets any ‘problem’ areas. It only needs to be 10 min max and try to complete the warm up before every ride. (see our Instagram for some inspiration) 2. Eat for recovery – Protein helps build and repair muscles so make sure to have a protein filled post workout snack or meal. Examples: Chicken wraps or Egg on toast. 3. Trigger Pointing - Grab a hard ball (tennis ball, trigger point ball) and place it in any sore muscles adding pressure until it has fully relaxed. Trigger pointing allows you to work deeper into the muscles and helps to release them quicker than foam rolling or stretching. (We have a whole trigger pointing video in our 6 week pre season exercise programme) 4. Swimming is a low impact activity that can help to reduce muscle soreness and keep the body moving. If you have access to a pool, we recommend trying some gentle swimming and walking backwards & forwards in the pool. Just by implementing a few body maintenance strategies into your weekly schedule can make the world of the diﬀerence and prolong your play time!
The next Ladies Polo Foundation training day will be 15th September. To book your spot and have the opportunity to train with some of the best female British UK polo players and Chukka Wellness please email
5. Trigger Point We want to keep all of the muscles around the ankle joint mobile too. Grab a hard ball (trigger point ball or a tennis ball) and place it in any tight areas in the lower calf muscle and sole of your foot. Gently add some pressure over the ball until you feel the muscle gently relax.
For more mobility and stretching routines along with nutritional advice and strengthening routines - check out our 6 Week Pre Season Exercise Programme at www.chukkawellness.co.uk
In other newsâ&#x20AC;Ś Chukka Wellness have partnered up with the recently launch Ladies Polo Foundation. An organisation created to offer support for the development of womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s polo. The LPF is hosting a ladies training day at Cirencester Polo Club August 12th 2019. The training day will include an exercise & nutrition workshop hosted by yours truly followed by lessons from some of the top uk female polo players and a tournament to finish. Only a few spots left, to book yours contact firstname.lastname@example.org To learn more about the Ladies Polo Foundation visit - https:// www.lpf.chukkawellness.co.uk/
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Carrot stretches WHAT ON EARTH???
Make your horse stretch to reach a carrot. Obvious really!
The horse is encouraged – using a carrot – to stretch as far as his abilities allow. This is known as an active stretch or a dynamic mobilisation stretch.
WHY WOULD YOU?? Active stretches (carrot stretches) are a great way of enabling your horse to increase flexibility, core strength and balance whilst gaining or retaining a full range of motion. They harness the horse’s natural range of motion, build core strength and improve flexibility while ensuring their is no use of force or resistance which may be caused whilst encouraging bend with the use of tack. Using a carrot you can encourage diﬀerent motions including rounding (flexion) and side to side (lateral) bending. During each exercise, the horse moves to gradually stretch its muscles. The horse should never be forced into a position, as this could result in over stretching or injury. Practicing carrots stretches daily should yield results within 2-3 weeks.
WHEN SHOULD I DO THEM? Carrot stretches are most eﬀective when performed after the horse’s normal exercise. This is because joint mobility and muscle stretch is enhanced when the horse’s body is warm and likelihood of injury caused from over stretching is reduced.
HOW DO I DO THEM? The theory is easy: You hold out the carrot and the horse reaches for it.
HOW DO I DO THEM CORRECTLY?? Firstly choose an area with good, level, non slip footing. This could be an arena, large bedded stable, or level paddock. The horse should only have a headcollar on and should start stood square and balanced. Carrots should be cut in half length wise to decrease the total amount needed for each session. During all stretches, the handler should stand close to the horse but be aware of their own positioning in case the horse becomes unbalanced and they need to step clear.
Encourage the horse to hold each position for a few seconds, followed by a moment to allow them to relax their muscles and return to neutral before the next attempt.
Perform three to five repetitions of each exercise, four to six days a week or as regularly as possible.
Begin gradually. Over time you can increase the stretch by bringing the carrot a little further between the legs (with the chin to knee, or chin to fetlock exercises), closer to the chest (chin to chest) or further back toward the hind end with the lateral stretches.
LATERAL (side to side) BENDING EXERCISE 1. Bending to the shoulder
The handler should stand near the shoulder facing away from the horse. Use the carrot to encourage the horse to stretch around your body toward the girth. Try to get the carrot 1-2 feet away from the horses side and no higher than the flank.If the carrot is higher, some horses will hollow their back rather than rounding it, so the benefits of the exercise are lost.The horse should bend evenly through the neck with minimal rotation of the head I.e Try to keep the ears at the same level, this encourages the horse to truly stretch through the length of the neck, rather than twisting. Hold the stretch for a few seconds. Slowly increase the length of each stretch as the horse becomes more familiar with the activity and build up to 10-15 seconds.
Benefits: Loosens up head/neck and neck/shoulder junctions, increases flexibility in vertebrae of the neck by loosening up surrounding muscles
2. Bending to the hip around handler As the horse progresses, extend the stretch from the level of the girth, towards the hip.
Benefits: Loosens up neck/shoulder junction, increases flexibility in vertebrae of the neck by loosening up surrounding muscles, stretches the muscles and thus aids in developing range of motion in the front limb. This is a good stretch for the rib cage and shoulder
3. Bending to the hind fetlock Stand about three feet away from the horseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hindquarters, facing forward, and holding the carrot in the hand away from his side.
â&#x2013; Hold the carrot about two feet away from the horseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s side, entice his chin to reach as far back and down as possible.
The horse should develop an increased range of motion over time as flexibility improves, so keep encouraging him to stretch further down and back.
Benefits: This carrot stretch stimulates maximal lateral bending of the neck and spine and helps activate the abdominal and pelvic stabilizer muscles.
FLEXION (rounding) EXERCISES
The horse’s head and neck should remain straight and in alignment with the middle of the body throughout the exercise, without twisting to one side. The ears should remain level with each other.
4. Chin to Chest Stretch
Stand at the horse’s shoulder, facing forward, and
holding the carrot in the hand closest to the animal.
■ Hold the carrot in front of the chest, encouraging him to bring his chin toward his chest, and hold the rounded position for a few seconds.
5. Chin to knee The handler should stand near the horse’s girth, facing the same direction as the horse. Use the bait to encourage the horse to stretch down to the level of the knee. The horse should bend evenly through the neck and back. The head is level and the back is rounded. Hold for 10-15 seconds.
6. Chin to fetlock It’s important during this exercise to ensure the horse’s forelimbs are placed far enough apart to allow his head to pass through them.
■ Stand at the horse’s girth, facing forward and holding a carrot in
the hand closest to the animal.
■Pass the carrot between the horse’s forelimbs and entice the horse to lower his chin toward his fetlocks, encouraging him to bring his chin down between his forelimbs, and hold the position
for a few seconds.
Benefits: This stretch encourages deep flexion in the horse’s lower neck
7. Chin to the girth line Benefits: Opens/releases head neck junction, nice stretch for ligaments of the top lineExtension stretch
EXTENSION EXERCISE 8. Extension to the front down Benefits: Stretches/releases tension in ligaments of the top line
POSSIBLE ISSUES Particularly in the beginning, a horses may shift its position or take a step towards the carrot instead of completing the stretch. Some horses may need to take a step back to regain balance as they begin to develop core strength and control. Blocking the horse’s path with a wall a the gentle hand can discourage unwanted movement. Always ensure you stand in a safe position relative to the horse and maintain enough space around you to be able to step back if necessary.
ENHANCEMENTS Chin to chest - As the horse becomes more flexible, encourage him to bring his chin closer to his chest or underside of the neck to increase the degree of flexion in the mid- to up- per neck.
Chin to knees, and chin to fetlock - As the horse progresses, extend the stretch between the knees
RESULTS The end result of regular carrot stretches include,
Improved strength and balance
• Enhanced range of motion
• Suppleness of the neck and back
• Reduce potential for athletic injury
• Rehabilitation of musculoskeletal injury
And a horse that looks forward to spending time and exercising with you.
or down and back between the fetlocks towards his hind limbs.
Some horses may lift the heals of their front feet or slightly bend their knees as you extend the stretch but this is normal and should be allowed.
“WHY WOULD’NT YOU?”
So now you’ve picked your saddle(s) up, but thats not going to go far without a good bridle, after all, how are you going to steer and stop? So, here you are, a run down of where to pick up a bridle or two.
So whats the choice?
Budget to exclusive, lets take a look.
Once again it is very important to bear in mind that second hand tack is a goldmine for many polo players, as tack can be picked up at a fraction of the price it can be brand new. Once again, the big place to look out for these deals is on Chukkout polo on Facebook, its always chocker with knocked down price polo tack. However if you’re keen on getting your hands on some shiny new bridles, we’ve lined up a couple of places where you can get hold of them.
Roxtons Argentine Leather Polo Bridle £55 A bit of a cheat this one, as Roxtons currently have a 50% off sale on. However the Argentine made leather bride, with noseband, headpiece, cheekpieces, broadband and a set of reins at this price is a bargain.
Stablecare Chukka Polo Bridle and reins £120 Towards the budget end of the scale stablecare.co.uk will sell you their polo bridle, made out of full grain brown leather for a very reasonable price. Obviously this doesn’t include the bit or any of the add ons (drop nose band, martingale, breast plate, running reins, etc) but is a good pace to start for a low budget bridle.
World Wide Tack Stevens Snaﬄe Bridle £128 Made from dark Havana Leather with white stitching this bridle is only available in one size, but does come with ta pair of Stevens leather reins.
Porto Polo Gold Range Pelham Bridle £185 Made of the finest English leather, this bridle comes with two sets of reins and your choice of a rope of leather cavesson nose band. It is suitable for Pelham bits although one is not included, andPorto polo do sell bridles for suitable for other bits too, such as gags.
The Polo Shop Complete polo bridle ÂŁ200 A complete polo bride made from brown English leather. Including 2 sets of reins, a drop noseband, cavesson noseband and cheek pieces, this bridle has almost everything you need to hop on board.
Calcutt & Sons Polo Gag Bridle ÂŁ220 A complete heavyweight polo bridle from saddlers Calcutt & Sons. Includes a drop noseband and 2 sets of reins all made from high quality English leather.
S&K classic Polo saddle - suede PRODUCT INFORMATION Together with professional polo saddle makers S&K has developed and designed the handmade polo classic suede saddle to meet the flexible requirements of polo. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a lightweight saddle soft and gentle to the horseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s back and giving the unique seat and grip support for the player. Comes in custom made sizes to fit the horse perfectly with traditional tree. For more information contact horseroof.com
Picture: Brown suede with white top & side leather.
Colours: Brown suede (colours of top & side leather by choice/custom made)
Alumni Polo Network
All photos by Stephen Wall Photography
The Alumni Polo Tournament debuted for the first-time last weekend, where graduates and students alike came together from across the UK to re-live their university polo days. The tournament was hosted by the Alumni Polo Network, which is a new social media platform run by Warwick University graduate and Warwick University Polo Club exPresident, Ara Shikhalislami. Ara has started the Alumni Polo Network to promote more accessible and affordable polo to players when they leave university. Most people struggle to find polo clubs where they can continue playing the sport that they love, unless they pay extortionate fees to become seasonal members of clubs. The Alumni Polo Network hopes to alleviate this obstacle by providing graduates with access to polo without paying these annual fees and promoting the sport through weekly casual group lessons and tournaments like this one. The Alumni Polo Tournament was organised by Ara Shikhalislami (Warwick University Polo Club alumnus) and Sam Boreham (University of Nottingham Polo Club alumnus), who are both wellknown in the university polo community as good friends of the Schools and Universities Polo Association (SUPA). They both also played together in the SUPA England team, where they returned from Wicklow Polo Club in Ireland as Champions of the Tri-Nations Tournament in 2017.
The event was held at University of Nottingham Polo Club and Warwick University Polo Club's home grounds - Offchurch Bury Polo Club in Leamington Spa. The day consisted of over 40 chukkas, and although this was the first tournament of its kind, there were a staggering 19 teams competing that day from 10am until 6pm that evening. Chukkas were spread throughout the day, quite similarly to the schools and universities SUPA tournaments. There were also a selection of food & drinks vendors for players and spectators to enjoy, as well as an Awards Ceremony and Exhibition Match – Ara and Sam managed to pull together some of the top players in the UK to put on a fantastic show for the spectators and tournament players, which they both also played in. Over 11,000 photos were taken of the 19 teams
throughout the day by professional polo photographer, Stephen Wall Photography, who has captured some stunning shots of the players amidst all the action and adrenaline.
x “a staggering 19 teams competed on the day” 49
â&#x20AC;&#x153;Most people struggle to find polo clubs where they can continue playing the sport that they loveâ&#x20AC;?
Tournament sponsors of the event made a feature at the Awards Ceremony backdrop, which include StaaG Fashion, Polo Valley and RJ Polo, to name a few. Winners of the tournament won some wonderful custom medals and enjoyed taking pictures popping some Champagne and lifting the 55cm Silver-plated trophy. There were also some fantastic prizes donated, including tickets to the Gold Cup Final 2020 by Cowdray Park Polo Club, some mallets from Polo Splice and even some incredible Yerba Mate essentials from South American store, Urushop.
â&#x20AC;&#x153;the event is sure to return next year in an even bigger and better capacityâ&#x20AC;? With the positive feedback and support from SUPA, the event is sure to return next year in an even
bigger and better capacity, maintaining the momentum that Ara and Sam have built for this tournament. Ara has high hopes for the Alumni Polo Network and hopes to use this as a medium to promote the sport of polo to more people throughout the UK, and to give people a chance to play with friends and be part of an exciting event like this without having pay unnecessary fees. Make sure to follow @AlumniPoloNetwork on Instagram and Facebook for the latest news and be sure to drop them a message if you would like to get involved in next yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s event.
Druids Polo Game, and well done to Xanthos who won by a goalâ&#x20AC;Śmeaning they got the biscuits with chocolate on.
â&#x20AC;Śand what a weekend it was! Thank you to everyone involved in The Print on Demand Cup.
What a great weekend, thank you to who all came out. The winners of the August Challenge were Red Tigers, well done to Tonic for putting a great fight.
Congratulations to Killyfaddy Beef for winning The Last Days of the Raj 4 goal and that sweet trophy.
It was an incredible weekend of polo and hereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the pictures of the big silverware! Congratulations to Maize Dulce the Blue Jacket winners.
Congratulations to Los Chinos for winning the RJ Polo Jack Williams Cup 4 Goal in a close final 5-4 against Virgo Stone. Well done to Cotswold Airport for winning the Subsidiary final 8-4 against Indubitable.
Congratulations to Virgo Stone for winning the Wilson Trophy (8 Goal) in an exciting game 7-6 against Los Chinos. The subsidiary final was won by A W Jenkinson 5-4 in another close game against Irongate.
Looking back at a fantastic weekends polo for the annual TVPC Houldsworth Cup. A close fought game culminating in a fifth chukka golden goal.
Congratulations La Rosada 4 goal team on winning the Lousada trophy. Smiley happy faces after a great weekend of polo at the All Ireland Polo Club
This weekend saw teams from home get together to play our annual ‘Charle Phillips Tournament’. ‘Paynes Turkeys’ won overall with White Rose Black coming a very close second. The subsidiary final was won by ‘The Ice Co’ with White Rose Green as runners up. Ehab Allam was awarded a very well deserved MVP. We would like to thank James Phillips and the Phillips Family for their generous sponsorship and continued support of this tournament and our club as a whole.
Brilliant day out yesterday at the Bramham Bronze Horse Tournament. Thanks to the Bramham team for the great day, evening and all the hospitality. And to top it off, we won. 55
56 Photo by Katy Hayward
“Change your line, change your life” sounds a little funny when a) you’ve never played polo and b) you’re in the haze of alevels and trying to figure out who you want to become. Nevertheless, I was persuaded to come along and try something new.
I was anxious about falling off a horse! ‘Power of Polo were hosting a one- day course and I had the chance to both learn to ride a horse and play polo. To begin with, I had absolutely no confidence that the latter was going to happen well and I was anxious about falling off a horse! However, that day I discovered that actually… I may not be a perfect polo player (handicap of -1804628640824 might apply to me) but I
could do what I didn’t think I could do! That day with Power of Polo encouraged me to look outside of my comfort zone and not simply dip one foot in the pool of uncertainty but dive right in and be unafraid of what might occur. ‘It’s hard to believe it has been almost 5 years since that day. Since then, I’ve had a lot more opportunities to play polo (probably bringing my handicap to -13173!) and had incredible opportunities to network with people I would not have had the chance to meet otherwise. People often assume when I say that I play polo that it is a world full of people that they couldn’t relate to, but it isn’t. What I’ve loved about being involved with Power of Polo is the range of people I’ve gotten to ride with and play alongside. Power of Polo has opened the way for me to meet so many other inspiring young people and I’ve really cherished the opportunities it has brought me. ‘This past year, Power of Polo enabled me to be a part of my university polo society
Photo by Olee Morris Photography
Photo by Katy Hayward
and this was one of the highlights of the past year. Whether I was facing a busy week of dissertation work, wedding planning or travelling – I looked forward to being able to relax and take some time out to ride and play on the weekends! I think this year has taught me the most about that little phrase. What does it actually mean to ‘change your line’? For me, it meant taking time to take time in every situation to reflect, smile at what went well and make a decision to move forward intentionally with the attitude to win. Learning this has massively paid off, and in the space of 3 weeks I had the privilege of playing a chukka at Guard’s Polo Club, getting married and graduating. Now, whenever I hear ‘change your line’, I remember that it has literally changed my life.’ 38 3858
Katy Hayward, CEO and Founder of Power of Polo on Mercy’s journey, ‘When we first set up Power of Polo many people questioned the value of the sport to young people like Mercy. How can you impact change in young people’s life without changing their circumstances, how can the sport of kings possibly help? ‘Well, we have learned it all depends on the model and how you work with partners. We continue to build on our success and learn from our failures. Mercy’s success is echoed by more and more young people coming through the programme where polo is helping them to change their mind about what they can achieve and believe in a better life, after all to make any change you have to start there.’
Photo by Olee Morris Photography
About Power of Polo Power of Polo is a new and unique, national charity. Our mission is to positively impact the lives of anyone facing social, economic or health challenges, utilising the sport of polo. Our strap line ‘change your line’ refers to how this sport can help you to change the direction of your life and is taken from the most important rule of the game – the line of the ball. Our model is one of partnership, collaboration and facilitation. Many polo clubs are keen to provide charitable programmes but do not
have the necessary infrastructure to be able to perform, sustain, monitor and evaluate them. Power of Polo provides this support by bringing together charities, polo clubs and other relevant organisations with the common aim of making these programmes a reality and facilitating the programmes by providing assistance with financing, training, monitoring and evaluation. Starting with a youth programme we are aiming to build the charity with new partners and participants from all walks of life. We have built youth leader positions within our courses as an opportunity for appropriate young people to develop skills which can help them towards their careers in the future. It is our hope that by being a focal point for the charitable aim and by sharing the work being done by individual organisations with the wider polo community, we can be a catalyst for growth.
Power of Polo Details Find us: www.powerofpolo.org.uk Talk to us: email@example.com Support us: www.justgiving.com/powerof-polo Follow us: @powerofpolo Registered Charity 1162382
#lalowgoal Saving the nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s scrolling fingers
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This months submissions
Gus, Gary and Sadie
@triskelionpoloclub Saturday saw Foraging Vinters battle CPS for the Dowry Farm Trophy.
THATS A WRAP FROM US!
@gill_polo Poloâ&#x20AC;Ścan be played at any level not just the highest. Its fun and teaches you a lot about being part of a team. 62
This Monthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Contributors: -
Ignacio Fernandez Llorente The HPA Jenifer Little Chukka Wellness Alumni Polo Network Mercy Ngulube Power of Polo Stephan Wall Photography Nick Goode Gill Polo Katy Howard Olee Morris Photography Clare Hamilton
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