Women’s polo is the fastest growth area in the sport, with female players offering a “different skill set to bring to a team other than just muscle strength”.
According to Warwickshire-based Dallas Burston Polo Club, women now make up almost half of its members, while the number of female players has risen 10 per cent on last year.
However club officials believe more can be done to encourage an upsurge in player participation.
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“It’s important to encourage more women into polo as so much advertising and marketing is centred around male polo players with girls looking glamourous by the side of the pitch,” said Ella Cloake, the club’s marketing manager.
“Of course there’s a lifestyle element to it, but women are just as tough, just as competitive, and have a different skill set to bring to a team other than just muscle strength.
“Polo clubs have a duty to ensure their female members are given the support and encouragement they need to thrive.”
Cloake said that the introduction of two ladies’ fixtures at the club’s annual Polo in the Park offered women the opportunity to play in front of 3,000 spectators.
Among its growing female membership base is Elizabeth Taylor, who joined the Southam-based club in 2015. Playing off a handicap of -2, the 29-year-old played her first tournament in August this year.
While the self-employed veterinary nurse is passionate about the game, she has seen first-hand the challenges that women face in the sport.
She said: “There was an incident where a male player accused me of fouling him, and continued to make comments throughout the game, despite the umpires and other players deciding in my favour. I don’t think he would have made the accusation to a male player.
“Many women compete in eventing, which requires nerve, skill and stamina, so why should the door be closed to polo?”
Taylor believes that more women are put off due to the “perception of the game”.
She added: “More needs to be done, especially at the grass roots level, to show women that it’s not a sport just for men. The times have changed and I hope that next season we will see even more women joining the club.”
Organisers of the annual Chestertons Polo in the Park have announced details of this summer’s jamboree. Taking place from June 3-5 at Hurlingham Park, Fulham, tickets have been released at early bird rates. England will return to play on the coveted lawns for an international fixture on June 3. Tickets start at £10. Details here.
Team Cartier’s stranglehold on the Snow Polo World Cup ended on Sunday. The three-time winners were beaten by Team Maserati in the final, their team consisting of Rommy Gianni (1), Dario Musso (7), Luciano Vazquez (2) and Frankie Menendes (6).