The newly-formed Deepwater Polo Club hosted its first clinic on February 1 and 2.
Ballyoch Horses, based near Deepwater held the clinic which brought together local New England-based horse sport enthusiasts from varying backgrounds including stock work, show jumping, endurance riding and campdrafting.
The weekend allowed riders to try their hand at polo with the help of professional coaches.
The clinic was run by former professional polo players Jen and Jock Mackay and Beau Blundell from Wirragulla Polo Club near Dungog, NSW, who helped approximately 20 riders of all ages develop skills and techniques as well as expand their knowledge of the rules of the game.
Deepwater Polo Club president Patrick Herde said he was overwhelmed by the success of the weekend and response from the local community.
“For most horses and riders, it was their first go at using a polo mallet,” Herde said.
“Jock and Beau were unintimidating teachers who took everyone through the game – from learning to swing with foot mallets to playing some nice, flowing chukkas on their own horse – while Jen showed everyone all about polo tack, teaching everyone how to groom and prepare horses so that they stay safe whilst playing.
“Some of the horses involved in the clinic were ex-racehorses that have been re-homed as part of the Ballyoch partnership with Racing NSW, so it was wonderful to see such a smooth transition to this type of horse work.”
The Deepwater Polo Club was established in 2019 after receiving state-backed funding of $20,000 to launch the venture.
Funds have so far been used to purchase a small amount of equipment and host the informal clinic for the local New England community.
The next step will be to build a field within the centre of the Deepwater racetrack.
“The weekend was met with such a positive response that now we have people heading out to buy their own polo gear and support the Club,” Herde said.
“We couldn’t have hoped for a better outcome, especially now with a bit of rain and green grass about, the Club has a bright future.”
With an abundant horse community in the New England, the clinic has helped the burgeoning club gain momentum to one day host its own tournament and ideally participate in a circuit with other districts.
Additionally, the establishment of the Club has had a positive knock-on effect among the local community, with food and supplies purchased from businesses including the Tenterfield Wizards Butcher, the Deepwater Bakery, Deepwater Brewing Co, Deepwater Top Pub, and Deepwater Foodworks.