By Chris Chaney
The Cincinnati Polo Club, fresh off its most recent clinic and adding new members from across Southwest Ohio, are primed to start their slate of games for the 2013 season, which includes a batch of home games played on their very own field.
“Going into the season, things are shaping up pretty well,” Cincinnati Polo Club member Kit Collins said. “We haven’t gotten to play outside much because of the rain, but we’ve been able to work out the horses and the way the club is going with the clinics, we’re beginning to think we might need some new horses.”
The club’s “Learn to Play Polo” clinics have grown in popularity and word of mouth has spread around the area and even up to Dayton, where some interested parties decided to come down and see what the club was all about.
“We had eight people at the last clinic,” CPC secretary Rev. Torie Front said. “Of them, one has already joined the club. Another is planning to and another is a college student who has since been out for another lesson. A father-son team has been talking about buying a horse and joining the club in September. It was a pretty productive clinic.”
The clinics, which start out by teaching the attendees about the basics of polo from rules and technique and end with a horseback scrimmage, have done well in debunking some of the elitist stereotypes that cloud the sport. Moreover, the club has made an addition to its facilities in the past year that they hope will bring even more people to the sport, not only as participants, but as spectators as well.
The club planted their own regulation-size field last year and has cared for it in hopes of using it this summer to host some of their competition in lieu of having to drive two hours to Columbus or Lexington to get a game.
“The new field is pretty much just grass right now because it’s been too wet to cut it,” Rev. Front said. “We’re hoping that it will be dry enough here for a while so that we can mow it down and have our first home game coming up. It’s regulation size and all the rain has helped it to come in really nice. Now, we just need to cut it down so the ball will roll.”
Manufacturing a regulation-size field is no easy task and once the weather cooperates, the club’s home field at Wilshire Farms in Goshen will be the only one within a two-hour radius.
“The polo field is the hardest thing for any club to come up with because a field is 10 acres of grass kept like a golf course,” Collins said. “It’s the size of nine football fields, so it finds it very difficult to find a place to play if you don’t have a field. We’ve had to make due with a lot of different venues or we’ve had to travel great distances to play on a regulation outdoor field.
“By having a regulation outdoor field at our facility in Goshen, not only does it give us the opportunity to play there, but it also gives us the opportunity to invite spectators. That’s the greatest way to increase the awareness of polo in the community, and grow our club and grow polo.”
Due to the weather not cooperating through most of June and into July, the field has been unable to be cut down to the level necessary to host a match. As a result, the game scheduled for July 20 has been cancelled with the next scheduled match for the club slated for Aug. 3 in Columbus. They return home on August 17 to host Indianapolis.
While the CPC is playing the waiting game with the field, the club has forged a couple of partnerships with local companies and outfits that promise some more publicity going forward.
Already on the schedule for the middle of September, the club has joined forces with former Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Dhani Jones’ BowTie Causes to put on a match and a fundraiser on Sept. 15.
To stay up to date with the Cincinnati Polo Club, be sure to bookmark their website, cincinnatipoloclub.com and check the events page to see game times, locations and possible cancelations.