Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fields, Ponies, and My Lack of Hand-Eye Coordination

Steering a thousand-pound animal galloping full tilt toward a tiny ball on the ground, then swinging your arm to send it flying with a stick... Okay, so this wasn't exactly my level of expertise this afternoon, during my first time playing polo. I didn't gallop - at the most, I trotted, only to double back when the mighty slash of my mallet... connected only with the air. The whole time I kept worrying I would whomp my pony's head by accident. But it was still so fun! And the best part: I have now ridden a horse in England!

As different as polo felt from my usual equestrian bent, it was still a horse under me, and I could still gaze around to see the gorgeous scenery of the English countryside. The field where we practiced was massive, lined with hills and trees, and trotting around it to warm up I felt an overwhelming sense of content in being back in the saddle. Even if the skies opened and drenched all of us on the field, soaking through my breeches and matting the hair on the ponies' necks (ah, typical British weather). Hitting balls while on horseback was an interesting new challenge - I've never been known for my hand-eye coordination. My aim did improve by the end, and thankfully everyone that went out today was a total novice too, so we could all learn together. I kept marveling at both the cleverness and the patience of my pony: he would automatically make a beeline for any ball within twenty feet, and he put up with my erratic mallet-wielding skills. The silly human notions that horses tolerate.

I'd say more polo is in the cards for me, if it works out for my schedule. Hooray!

The best part - horses!!

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