As the summer wraps up and we head into fall, a new polo season is upon us: Arena Season.While the summer series highlights the thrill of the game played before thousands of spectators, the arena is where it all begins for most. The fundamentals of polo, and most importantly, riding, are taught within the walls of the sandy outdoor arena at Newport Polo’s Private Training Center, just a few miles north of the Polo Series’ BD Field.
Though the basics of the game are the same, the arena brings a different feel thanks to the compact playing area and smaller 3-a-side teams. The inflatable leather-clad ball resembles a small soccer ball, giving a bigger target and more energetic play as it ricochets off the arena walls. The contained arena provides an ideal starting point for first-time riders and players to get comfortable with fundamentals and make the first foray into the exciting competition for which polo is best known.
Our expanded Autumn lesson schedule starting on Oct 1 includes weekday and weekend sessions, welcoming newcomers anytime with open enrollment. Sign up to receive the schedule by private, spam-free, email subscription.
Newport Polo’s experienced Certified Polo Instructors provide individualized attention in every group lesson for players to get used to polo’s team format right from the start. Professional polo equipment and expertly-trained thoroughbred polo horses are provided to participants at this level. The most important part of polo is, of course, the riding, with skill-building in every lesson until each participant reaches proficiency. When learning to play in the arena, you are provided with a safe, enclosed place in which to focus on honing the riding skills that will ultimately make you a better player. All interscholastic and intercollegiate programs are played in the arena format, and everyone from kids to adults begin learning in that same controlled way.
Polo lessons are conducted in peer groups for maximum benefit, separated by age and skill level. Players will advance to join club chukkers for continuous play as a stepping stone to competitive polo. Monthly tournaments for those who reach proficiency offer the chance at trophies and even prize money on occasion. One standout from the newest class will receive the coach’s superlative, Rookie of the Year, at the annual awards banquet. A brief winter hiatus will give the ponies some much-deserved time off before arena activities resume in the spring. While most make the transition to the grass for the summer season, the quick-paced, exciting sport of Arena Polo proves to be one that keeps people coming back in the fall when you just need a little more polo, along with some enjoyable camaraderie, before the winter sets in.
Check out these pages to learn more about Newport Polo’s 30-year history of training new players. See you in the arena!
Photo by Scott Trauth