Polo Has a Long Tradition in Rancho Santa Fe

Polo Has a Long Tradition in Rancho Santa Fe
Not just for the upper crust, polo at Rancho Santa Fe is great for a family outing, people-watching, mingling and generally having a good time. Although polo’s reputation is as a sport for the wealthy and well-connected, officials at the San Diego Polo Club that plays the sport in Rancho Santa Fe say that is a misconception. Their club members love horses and the sport and have lots of fun playing.
The grounds have a special activities area designed for children, so many members and visitors bring their children to polo matches. Of course, match-attendees of all ages enjoy stomping divots.
The Game
Polo matches typically last about two hours and is divided into four to six periods known as chukkars. Known as one of the oldest team sports, the fast-paced game hails from Persia and was first played as early as 600 B.C. and was played in China, Japan, India and across the Arabian and Asian worlds. The modern version of the game was adopted from a Northern Indian game called pulu and is played in over fifty countries. It is similar to hockey, but played on horseback. Although the horses are referred to as “polo ponies,” they actually are full-sized, full-grown horses. It is a rough game, but in true sportsmanlike manner, the contestants shake hands afterwards.
Intermission Fun
During the intermission the entertainment often is a fashion show or an equestrian demonstration such as dressage. Each halftime also traditionally includes a champagne divot stomp—where spectators enter the field and “stomp” the chunks of grass kicked up during the match back into the holes.
Polo in Rancho Santa Fe, California
The first recorded polo match in California to place in 1906 on Coronado Island  and was brought to Ranch Santa Fe in 1982 by Willis Allen and harry Collins. When visiting a polo match, the club supplies rules and a glossary of terms, as well as instructions on how to watch, so spectators new to the sport can enjoy the match. Both the ponies and the players are considered the athletes of the game. Spectators have the option of tail-gating or enjoying the Player’s Club with drinks and snacks available, all on a Sunday’s afternoon.
Charity Events
The San Diego Polo Club supports several charities including Prince harry’s favorite—Sentebale—to benefit orphans in Lesotho, Southern Africa, Awakenings Heart Institute that benefits senior victims of stroke or injury, and TERI that supports autism, developmental and learning disability programs.
Learn Polo
The San Diego Polo Club offers polo lessons at Rancho Santa Fe, too. The first lesson is free and teaches polo basics, history, hitting techniques and the rules. Other classes from beginner to advanced teach strategy move the student from arena ball to Cancha Pequena, or grass polo.

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