If you were looking for an excuse to break out your paisley suit, Sunday was the occasion.
The ninth annual Lehigh Valley polo exhibition was held at Braden Airpark to benefit Equi-Librium, a charity that uses horses as healing therapy for various physical, mental, behavioral and developmental challenges.
The teams and field were smaller than a usual 10-acre, four-on-four match but still put on a show for the assembled audience, who watched six horses plus a mounted referee run up and down the field between two goals, thwacking at the ball with long mallets.
While the athletes themselves may have been champing at the bit the overall atmosphere was rather relaxed, as much social as sporting. The exhibition itself almost seemed secondary to getting out and enjoying a September Sunday under gray but (mostly) forgiving skies.
And it was welcoming. Anyone could come out wearing jeans, and there was of course a good representation of polo shirts. But venture near the VIP or tailgate tents where spectators were wearing suits and sundresses, sporting frilly hats and smoking cigars, and one might feel a little self-conscious.
Even the fanciest dressed, however, wandered out onto the field at halftime to stomp the divots and take a couple swipes with the mallets.
That, above all, seemed to be the point of the day: enjoying an event most rarely get to experience. That was the message for young Theodore Fiedler, of Center Valley, who was quick to scoop up a polo ball that went skidding out of bounds.
“It’s always fun to teach my son about new sports,” said dad Daniel. “Even if it’s new to me, too.”
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Steve Novak may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.