By Tiffany Law
During this summer I participated in the Thunderbird language program in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Our group had a chance to learn polo thanks to some detective work done by another student.
A Day of Polo
Today we went to a polo lesson in Buenos Aires, Argentina! We met with our guide and teacher for the day, Fernando Nieto, and headed out to the countryside. Fernando is a professional polo player and runs a polo lesson business in his spare time. We arrived at the farm where Fernando boards his polo horses and were greeted by a couple of farm dogs and a very vocal farm cat.
Fernando went through a series of demonstrations on how to hold the reins, control direction and speed, and most importantly how to stop. After horse-riding 101 we received polo helmets,
mallets and signed our legal waivers. Then we all mounted our horses with varying degrees of difficultly. When you are 5’2” and the stirrup is above your waist getting on the horse is the biggest challenge. Once in our saddles we headed to the practice field for polo 101.
Lesson one in polo 101 consisted of hitting the ball while not hitting your horse, other horses, other riders, etc. We rode back and forth across the field attempting to dribble the balls to the opposite end and into the goal. We continued our lesson with passing and scoring techniques and continued practicing until lunchtime.
We went back to the stables and had lunch in an old converted grain silo. The very vocal farm cat joined us and we eventually had to lock her out after she tried to steal some food. She sat outside the door and yowled for most of our lunch. After lunch we all got back on our horses and headed back to the field,
Fernando explained the basic rules of polo and we split up into teams. We then proceeded to have the world’s slowest polo match. We just couldn’t get those horses to move any faster! They knew we were amateurs and took full advantage of us. Afterwards Fernando drove us back to the city and we talked about polo in Argentina and the US. He informed us about a polo event in Arizona and said he would pass on more information.
A day of polo was one of my best experiences during my time in Argentina! If you are ever in Buenos Aires I highly recommend looking up Polo Elite and getting out into the country for a day.