Summer polo season opens at King Family Vineyards this weekend

On Sunday, a Central Virginia summer staple returns to King Family Vineyards with equal doses of excitement and relaxation. It’s time once again to watch Roseland Polo in action.

From Memorial Day weekend through October, visitors can spread picnic blankets, settle into lawn chairs and take in a summer Sunday of the sport of kings as played by the polo club and its guests. King Family Vineyards’ tradition of welcoming community members to enjoy polo, wine and luxurious views of the Crozet countryside dates back two decades to founder David King’s passions for polo, wine.

Attending regularly can offer a chance to familiarize yourself with the sport. Stuart King, managing partner of King Family Vineyards, told The Daily Progress that the picturesque setting offers plenty of opportunities to learn more about polo.

“We have information on the website about polo, and people can pull up the QR codes,” he said. “Obviously, by watching you can learn quite a bit. We have an announcer who’s giving a play-by-play.”

Visitors have plenty of time to select a spot and get settled before the riders and horses appear.

“The gates open at 10 [a.m.],” Stuart King said. “We typically have some people show up to the gates a little early, and we drop the chain at 10 o’clock.”

Fans generally can expect to see matches at noon and 2 p.m. on an average Sunday. Expect to see four mounted players per team. A match is divided into four chukkers, each 7 1/2 minutes long. By the end of a match, 60 polo ponies will have taken the field.

Golf carts will breeze by with supplies of King Family wines, plus water and hats with Roseland Polo and King Family Vineyards logos to help keep summer heat at bay.

“Every once in a while, we’ll throw in halftime chukkers with the youth group,” Ali King, manager of Roseland Polo Club and its lessons program manager, told The Daily Progress.

It’s fine to bring a picnic from home, but no outside alcohol is allowed. It’s also important to stay aware of the match action even while you’re relaxing, because polo balls can reach speeds of up to 110 miles per hour, and they’re known to jump the perimeter occasionally without warning.

“The balls can come off the boards at any time,” Ali King said.

Keep an eye on the weather forecast and be sure to check the website and social media for updates. If field conditions are too wet for the horses and riders to compete in safety, Roseland Polo won’t take chances. Any changes or cancellation announcements will be made by 8 a.m.

Sunshine in the sky doesn’t always mean the playing surface has dried sufficiently from previous rains.

“We really have to pay attention to the safety of our horses and our riders,” Ali King said. “It can be a beautiful day and field conditions can be bad.”

If watching polo inspires you to find out what it’s like to join the fray, Roseland’s Polo School offers lessons for young people and adults alike. No prior riding experience? No problem. Classes are available for all experience levels.

Ali King said that a popular option is the Intro to Polo Experience. which begins with 1 1/2 hours of polo training on the ground working with mallets and then in the saddle. The lessons are followed by a guided wine tasting in King Family Vineyards’ tasting room.

She said that the intro course is a popular choice for corporate groups looking for a positive shared experience, offering both team-building time and sheer fun.

“We’ve had as many as 40 people at a time, and it’s a super unique experience,” Ali King said.

'There's no better feeling': Alana Benz’s late goal lifts Virginia women's polo team to national championship

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.