Beach visitors were treated to the unusual sight of horses galloping across Weymouth beach in a polo tournament.
Riders swapped the polo field for the beach in the first tournament of its type on Weymouth’s famous golden sands.
The tournament at the Pavilion end of the beach was organised by York University Polo Club, which was joined by clubs from Bournemouth University, Edinburgh University, and Reading University.
In total 24 players split into eight teams of three – in two divisions, beginner and intermediate – riding 16 horses from the Hampshire Polo School.
Conor Crozier, 20, the University of York Polo Club president, was the primary organiser of the event.
He said: “For a first event we wanted to keep it small on a Monday.
“Most of the time polo is on a farm and in a field. We wanted to put polo in a public space to get the public included.
“We are hoping to rival Sandbanks one day. Weymouth has good access, a nice open beach, the sand is not too deep and a willing council. If all goes swimmingly, we would like to do it again.”
Ordinarily, polo is played on fields in the summer and in an arena in the winter.
Taking to the beach is unusual and done as a fun, more casual event.
The British Beach Polo Championships is held in Dorset at Sandbanks beach in Poole during the summer.
Charles Clamp from Bournemouth University said: “We do a few tournaments with York University, but this is the first time we have done a beach tournament so it’s more for fun, and seeing how the ponies react. We would come again.
“I think the horses are enjoying it. The sand is deep, so they are working harder but we have a few horses so by rotating them they don’t get too tired or risk injury.”
Some of the teams came from the other side of the country to participate. The players from Scotland’s Edinburgh University travelled eight hours to attend and stayed overnight in The Royal Hotel.
Fernando Acero of Edinburgh University, 25, said: “Playing on a beach in an open space is a fun experience.
“We would come again for polo.”
York/Royal Vet School
York (team 2)