The noble and ancient sport of polo has come to Yucatán in the form of the Yucatán Polo Club, located in Komchen. Polo is a 2000 year old equestrian team sport. It originated in Mongolia, and was brought to India, where the world’s first polo club was founded in 1856. The British adopted the sport and brought it to Europe. From Europe it spread to North and South America. For the last 75 years, Argentina has been the center of the polo world, home to 6,000 of the world’s 14,000 polo players.
Polo is played on horses, also called “polo ponies”. Polo ponies are not a specific breed, but rather a horse which fits the desired characteristics required for polo – speed, endurance, quick stops and quick acceleration, calm temperament and fearless nature. Polo ponies typically measure 1.60 – 1.70 meters at the shoulder, and are descended from Quarter-Mile or Appendix horses.
There are two types of playing fields for polo – sand and grass. The regulation sand playing field is an oval area measuring 100 m by 50 m, enclosed by a 1.50 – 3 m high fence. The regulation grass playing field measures 300 m by 150 m, with 20 cm high wooden boards on the longitudinal sides. Polo on the sand is a typical way for players to learn polo, as initially the playing speeds are slower than on grass; and the cost of playing on sand is lower than for playing on grass, as fewer horses are needed for one game.
The teams are made up of 3 players for sand, and 4 players for grass. The weakest player is typically on the front offensive position; the strongest player plays defense and sets up his teammates for offense through passes. Each player has a handicap, ranging from -2 for a beginner to +10 (typically there are only 15 players in the world at any one time with a +10 handicap). For the sake of tournaments, the sum of the player’s handicaps constitutes the team handicap, and teams of equal or similar team handicaps compete against each other.
The thrill of polo comes from the unique combination of a fast-moving horse sport combined with the thrill of a racket sport, all played in a team environment.
Men and women, beginners, and advanced players all play together on the same team. The spirit of polo is one of mutual on-field support, followed by active post-polo socializing among friends.
Polo has been played in Mexico for the past 100 years. There are currently 9 active clubs and 150 players, with several more in the development phases. In 2008, Mexico hosted the 8th World Polo Championship in Mexico City, with 8 teams competing.
The Yucatán Polo Club was started in 2006, and moved into its current facilities in Komchen (about 15 minutes north of Gran Plaza) in 2007. It currently has an oversized sand arena, measuring 120 m by 80 m, which allows the speed of grass play, as well as a regulation size grass field of 150 m x 300 m.
The players practice Wednesdays to Fridays, and play structured matches on the weekends. For more information, call cell. 9991 27 23 94.
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