Jamaica’s equestrian star Julian Hyde and Jamaica’s polo team member Luke Clarke recently combined their efforts to host a joint camp for the two sports at the Kingston Polo Club and Equestrian Centre.
It was the first time the two sports were coming together under one umbrella and the pair thought the five-day exercise proved quite useful for both sets of students.
The coaches said because the two sports use horses, it was easier for one set of students to gravitate to the other sport, and Hyde believes his kids were excited to learn a new sport.
“Both sports use horses, so we came together because he (Luke) has a few polo students and under the (COVID-19) circumstances, we thought we should merge both sports and give my children a taste of polo and vice versa with the polo riders.
“We had 12 kids and they learnt a lot. They were very excited to try something they always wanted to, and on the last day, they were able to show some of the riding skills they learned and we had a polo exhibition game. So it turned out really well and everybody learned a lot,” Hyde said.
Clarke was also glad his students got the opportunity to get first-hand horse riding lessons, which he believes will only enhance the players’ polo-playing skills.
“Both (sports) have to do with horses, and the first thing about polo is learning to ride a horse. So everyone who has participated in ‘equestrian’ already has a knowledge and experience of riding and knowing how to deal with horses.
“So polo would come more naturally to someone who knows how to ride and is involved in equestrian, than someone who has no experience with horses,” Clarke stated.
WILLINGNESS TO LEARN
He added that the equestrian kids, who have been riding for a very long time, were extremely passionate about learning polo and were raring to go from the start.
“When they get something else to do with horses, they are ready. It was very easy to teach them, and I see talent that can possibly represent Jamaica in the future,” Clarke said.
Even though the camp turned out to be a success, Hyde and Clarke are both hoping for competitions to return soon. While the polo season finished in July and will not resume until next January, Hyde hopes equestrian sport will see some form of competitive activity before the year closes out.
The two coaches are also looking at making the partnership and the camp an ongoing venture.
“I have spoken to Luke and maybe we will keep another one closer to Christmas, but we want to keep this (camp) as a regular thing,” Hyde added.
Clarke is hoping for something similar at least every summer.
“We want to try to get new players. It (camp) is open to inexperienced people, not just equestrians. We will do this in the future to try and get new members and try to improve those already playing,” Clarke said.