Say what?! Yesterday, the word polo meant shirt or car to me. Together with the lovely women from Equestrian Entrepreneurs, we went to the Norwegian Polo Club based in Moss, just 45 minutes outside of Oslo, to play polo! On the list of things Matilde would never ever do (until today) is riding a thoroughbred on a huge, open and windy field with the reins in my left hand! Add some dangerous balls and the word sport, and I’m on my way to the best hiding place! I still struggle with the memories from the gym class in primary school, everything that ends with the word ball is on my NOPE-list. Football, basketball, handball, “kanonball”, they all tend to end up in my forehead and I HATE THEM (and the people sending them in my direction)
So when Nick (awesome polo-dude) told us that the balls used in polo are solid plastic and reach a speed of 150 km/h, I was even more terrified and thought that my brand new Scharf-helmet (proudly sponsored by Scharf Norway) at least would save me from the bruises this time.
But before it was our turn I got the chance to watch Nick and Linn play, and I will never forget the sight of Linn cantering around in the sun, hitting the ball perfectly over and over again! It was super impressive to watch the more experienced riders do it, and I got some really cool photos.
When I got up on the lovely mare I would spend some time on this afternoon, I was literally shaking. I’m used to cold blooded horses and Batman. My balance is not the best, I’m tall, clumsy and terrified of falling off – and even more scared of riding horses I don’t know in an open field because I have had too many flights towards the North Pole on bolting horses in my life so far.
But for worst case scenarioes, the horses here were equipped with a”Jesus-strap”, to hold on to just in case, haha!
And guess what, today was the best! I went from shaky and nervous to super excited with the biggest smile ever in only 15 minutes, and when I managed to hit the ball for the first time, nothing, except from Nick saying “stop”, could stop me.
The horses were really well trained, extremely well behaved and my mare did absolutely everything I asked her and made me feel very safe. It was not difficult to ride them at all, and I’m used to neck reining, but I always keep the reins in my right hand, and I also ride with longer reins than you do when you play polo. Nick was the best teacher ever, super funny, explained everything with words we all understood (proper names for the different positions and equipment would be greek for us, I guess! I seriously thought chukka was that weird animal who is always photobombing people in the US.)
My horse proved all the rumours on thoroughbreds being crazy false, she was so calm, relaxed, responsive and easy to ride, clearly highly educated and cared for with lots of love and patience. Such a wonderful feeling to ride a horse like that! She handled all my clumsyness and mistakes with such patience and I had a very, very nice experience on horseback. Now I want a thoroughbred too! The only problem with the polo pony was the mane. Or, the lack of mane! I mean, in my world, horses should have at least 1 meter of mane. ;) I was chocked when I looked down and found their shaved, odd-looking hair style. I wonder how a thoroughbred would look like with thick, black hair extentions …
At the end we had a “match” and split the group into two teams and I managed to score, haha! From walk/halt, moving the ball centimeter by centimeter … Lol!
Afterwards we had dinner and it was an absolutely amazing afternoon. Thank you so much guys, and thank you Thea and Nick for welcoming us!
If you are in Norway and wanna play polo, check out www.norwegianpoloclub.com! No experience needed what so ever, just head there and try!
Peace, love and polo hugs,
Matilde and the Perfect Polo Pony