Love to give polo a go, but feel a bit daunted by the fast pace and skill? Polo club director Claudia Aylott tells us more about how to get involved and what makes a polo pony.

Anyone can try polo – no riding ability is necessary and all the skills can be learnt together.

The riding style is more Western, with very different commands to traditional English riding, so complete beginners won’t feel out of place as established riders will also need to master this new way of riding.

The most important thing is not to be scared of sitting on a horse.

Cruise control

Polo ponies are incredibly versatile and know their job well. They will go at the speed that is best for their rider. They seem to know if they are carrying a beginner who is learning to hit the ball, the slower they go, the more likely it is that the rider will hit it!

Off the track

Polo ponies can be of any breed or combination of breeds, but many have a high proportion of Thoroughbred blood.

One of the most popular options for playing polo is an ex-racehorse. These are bought off the track and can be retrained relatively quickly.

This may take anything from one to three years, but we’ve seen some ex-racehorses play polo after just a couple of months. It very much depends on the horse and to what level they are being trained.

Team player

There are over 600 polo establishments in the UK that teach polo. The majority offer polo taster sessions, which see you playing polo within a couple of hours.

It’s a thrilling sport with many aspects to master – that’s what makes it so interesting and addictive. You can play at any pace or level and thoroughly enjoy it.