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June 21st, 2017

Playing polo at Estancia Los Potreros

Charlie Thomas

By Charlie Thomas
Travel Consultants

Charlie in our Product Team recounts his experience of learning how to play polo at Estancia Los Potreros in Argentina.

The signs were all positive.

“If you play golf or hockey then you have a real advantage” explained Lou, “as playing polo requires a similar technique and tempo”.

My eyes lit up. I’m a decent golfer, I thought to myself, playing polo should be a breeze.

I mounted my horse, Ayalla, a robust criollo and named after a former Argentinian footballer (surely another positive sign?) and trotted up and down the pitch honing my technique; reigns in my left hand, mallet in my right, lean to the side slightly, hit the ball, try not to injure Ayalla in the process, trot on, repeat. Easy.

Practice over, we launched into a 4 team round robin tournament with 7 minute chukkas. My team - the Ralph Lauren baby pinks - looked extremely strong on paper, combining experience with youthful exuberance:

1. Lou, a keen polo player and today’s referee - it’s always helpful to have the ref on your side!
2. Polly, one of the estancia’s riding guides.
3. Julia, a fellow guest who had ridden a lot when she was younger.
4. Me, Charlie, first time rider but with a golf swing like Cordoba’s very own swashbuckling, no nonsense Angel “El Pato” Cabrera.

On reflection, however, perhaps pink wasn’t the strongest choice of colour to strike fear into the opposition as the Ralph Lauren baby pinks lost all four of their chukkas. We had our moments but it was a tale of missed opportunities, summed up when I had a chance to strike first blood in a penalty shoot out for 3rd place and failed to hit the ball.

But as all sports stars say after a humiliating loss, “there were a lot of positives to take” and this morning was no exception. This had been a fantastic opportunity to take part in one of Argentina’s favourite past times in a safe and non-competitive environment. The day before I had ridden a horse for only the second time in my life but at no point did I feel out of control or scared as I chased down fellow guests trying to hook sticks (aka tackle). Guests staying at Estancia Los Potreros will all have the opportunity to play polo at some point during their stay and I would thoroughly recommend it.

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