Just lately I’ve enjoyed colouring in my calendar weekends with new experiences and opportunities to meet people beyond my own circle. I still enjoy a Saturday night getting ready at 10pm to enjoy a cocktail on Ponsonby Rd but switching to a 10am ‘get ready’ time is taking on a new appeal. Particularly getting ready for fashion, music and sporting events like rugby, cricket or the Karaka Million.
I attended the NZ Open for the first time out in Clevedon last year and until then, my only experience with Polo was watching Vivian Ward turn heads in her wide brimmed hat on Pretty Woman. This month I experienced the Urban Polo, an urban take on the traditional game and an opportunity to open the sport up to a wider audience, bringing it into the inner city. Played on a significantly smaller field, Urban Polo brings its spectators closer to the game, ponies and action.
With its mix of sunshine, social mingling, music and some of Auckland’s finest hospitality, the Heineken Urban Polo has established itself as one of summer’s most talked about events, popping up in Auckland, Christchurch, Hamilton and Wellington.
For those of you who are new to this sporting summer highlight like me, the guys at Urban Polo have shared a few tips to help get you through as if you are an event regular:
- Two teams, 3 players on each side.
- Players are designated ‘attack’ or ’defence’. Each has the job of furthering their own goal tally while preventing the other team scoring.
- The game begins with a throw-in, ball is rolled between the teams.
- The line of the ball is a ‘right of way’ established by the path of the ball – player who struck the ball last has right of way.
- Teams change after each goal is scored.
And of course there is the fashion! But what exactly is the fashion brief for an Urban Polo? Simply put a garden party/urban lens over what you would expect to wear to a day at the races. Fascinators and hats are not an expected element to an outfit, however most welcome. The urban polo is an opportunity to integrate pops of colour, a tailored pant or a flowy dress or skirt. Have fun with accessories, statement jewellery, bright bags and with this dodgy weather I’d add a blazer draped over your shoulders just in case. I don’t think I need to state the obvious, but don’t try your luck with a pair of stiletto heels – wedges, block heels or sandals.
I recently spent a morning out at Ainsley Polo, the breeding and training ground for some of the worlds best polo ponies. Living and working in the city, I rarely get to see the countryside at this time of the day, it was incredibly idyllic. I watched the players during a practice game. It’s such a peaceful sport, so graceful. The sound of the ponies as they galloped by made me re-think my inner city lifestyle! Ainsley Polo also offer Polo lessons, whether you’re a total beginner or a seasoned polo player – they will have you covered with the best teachers in the game. I’m excited to try one myself next month. Head over to their site for more info: www.ainsleypolo.com
Photos by Tori Hayley