Royal Leamington Spa Polo Club is attempting to bring the sport of polo, traditionally an upper class activity, to a wider section of society by allowing players who may not be able to afford their own horse to compete instead on pantomime horses.
‘The sport of kings should be open to everyone,’ said the club’s president, Jonathan Stares-Hune. ‘From my understanding, while poor people may not always have horses, they do sometimes have as many as two friends who could dress up as a horse and be ridden around a field. Obviously we wouldn’t want their relatives coming to watch them – it would lower the tone – but they could probably watch the highlights on Sky. All council houses come with satellite dishes, don’t they?’
The club believes that with pantomime season over it should be relatively straightforward for would-be players to get their hands on a horse costume, suddenly making the sport of polo accessible to the man in the street. However, at a trial last week a team of four players from a local council estate were soundly beaten as they struggled to come to terms with the game and their low-spec steeds.
‘I quite enjoyed it, but there were definitely some problems,’ said Gary, whose Sunday League ban for attempting to strangle an opponent has given him time to try new hobbies. ‘Having the front and back halves of a pantomime horse attempt to walk in opposite directions might be amusing on stage, but when you’re sat on top of it and there’s a bloke galloping towards you on a horse and swinging a mallet it suddenly doesn’t seem so funny. Plus every time the ball went past me and Baz and Dave tried to turn themselves round, some posh twat would shout ‘It’s behind you!”
Unfortunately the game ended in tragedy when a fat lad from Coal Lane tripped and tore a hole in his horse costume just below the knee, and had to be destroyed by a vet.