Ponies power to glory
THE Pony Club polo travelling circus is on the move. For four weeks, children aged 6 to 21 and their ponies tour round some of the best grounds in England, playing in friendly and then qualifying tournaments. Hurtwood Park, our latest stopover on Friday, was founded at the foot of the Surrey Hills by Kenney Jones, who played drums for the Small Faces and The Who.
Nonie and Rufus were assisted by their grooms (who also happen to be their parents) to prepare for the six-minute chukkas. Bandages have to be artfully wrapped around the ponies’ legs to protect them from the wooden ball, which can travel at high speeds when struck well. Studs need to be carefully screwed into the hind shoes to give extra grip for Warrior and Ellie. The Cowdray team plays in yellow, which made a startling contrast to the Hampshire Hunt’s bright crimson. The Meynell, from Derbyshire, looked smart in turquoise.
The championship finals take place in just over a week’s time at Cowdray Park, where, only 10 days ago, the best players (and ponies) in the world vied for the Jaeger-lecoultre Gold Cup. The winners were the King Power Foxes, whose patron’s family also owns Leicester City football club. I know at least one 11-year-old boy hoping to emulate the success of both those teams. RU