Writer and mum-of-two Julie Cook jumped on a train and decided to go West. This week it’s polo. Forget horsing around – head to a beach where ponies, sand and surf combine for the most epic of sporting weekends.
Polo – no, not the famous mints, the sport. Historically, perhaps considered the game of the privileged few played in a grassy field, right? Not so!
Polo is loved by ordinary people far and wide. And there is a beach in sunny Cornwall where you can watch this most spiffing of sports with the sea breeze in your hair while the waves lap at the shore.
That’s right. Polo – on a beach!
To mark the three-day equine event returning this year from Friday, June 26 to Sunday, June 28, real ponies created a 64-metre sand drawing of a polo player on horseback on the Cornish beach. Seen from above, the impressive equine art is a whopping 54 metres (or 492 hands in pony speak) wide and 64 metres (582 hands) long.
The majestic image stretched over 400 metres end to end and took an estimated 3840 cantering hoof-prints and two hours to create.
That’s a lot of horse power. Renowned polo players Andrew Burgess and Rohan Kelly saddled up on ponies Tonka and La Sophia who became equine artists for the day. Reaching speeds of 40mph, the ponies kicked up the sand with the wind in their manes and created the stunning image.
Andrew Burgess said: “It was an incredible experience. As a professional polo player it’s not often you get to really cut loose with your horse like that. Galloping across those sands in the sun is not something I’ll soon forget.”
And how could anyone? Watergate Bay, just three miles north of Newquay, is a huge expanse of golden sands which stretches over two miles. With towering cliffs overhead and waves swelling in from the Atlantic, this beach is a draw for surfers, families and beach-lovers from all over the world.
And now, once again, this stunning South West location will set the scene for Polo on the Beach – a free event – which features incredible, edge-of-seat polo matches, great entertainment and live music.
Sadly for the ponies and their artwork, the tide eventually came in. Despite taking two painstaking hours to create, the art vanished as the sea returned to shore.
Leaving its mark…
But worry not – you can see the real thing for yourself, with no danger of any tide washing this amazing festival away. Just hop on a First Great Western train and you’re there…To book train tickets to this year’s top-class sporting event visit www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk www.watergatebay.co.uk/polo/