sabato 19 gennaio 2013

Polo, a prestious Club in Tuscany right at La Selva's door

If you like Polo, or are interested in checking it out for the first time you may be in luck while staying at La Selva Agriturismo Holiday Villas in Tuscany.

La Selva's neighbour in fact has a prestious Polo club, Villa Sesto Polo Club owned by Riccardo Tattoni.  You can see it beyond from our road, cradled in a sloped valley a short distance below our Villa Felciai and Villa Fabbri.  

Polo:  an extraordinary exhilarating exciting experience!

It is fascinating to watch a polo match no doubt about it!  Villa Sesta Polo Club hosts international tournaments during the finer weather seasons (April to October) and it's open to the public.  It is a perfect location nestled in an outdoor amphitheatre of nature.  The club welcomes spectators and enjoys sharing their passions of the world of Polo in a very pleasant social atmosphere.  The dress code is not as one would think.  You can go as you are - no need for fancy clothes, hats and such as one might imagine - decidedly casual, though the parking lot is full of some very sleek vehicles!  

Viewing a game of Polo is as exciting as you'd expect!  It is amazing to watch the horse, or "ponies" as they call them - all the stop and starting, the turning around practically on one foot.  At first I was concerned for the animals but they seem to enjoy running after that ball!  They appear to do it on their own accord - and with gusto though hard work.  They've been training since they were very young.  

The "ponies" are in complete symphony with the rider - something beautiful to witness.

I found it memorable hearing the "crack" of the "stick" hitting the ball as the rider bends and twists over in unlikely yet elegant positions.  They are hanging on to nothing but the reins, galloping at full speed after the ball avoiding collisions on "ponies" who intuitively know the strategy.  The athletes are mostly (but not all!) from Argentina and are amazingly agile and good with horses.  

The other thing that gave my spine a tingle is the sound of thundering hooves as they collectively rush across the field.  

The riders often get into pileups and knots - it is interesting to watch them extricate themselves without for a moment taking their eyes off the ball.  They risk getting their legs crushed or a mallet smacked on the head in these circumstances - it certainly is a dangerous game on so many levels.  
Outside the playing field there is a lot of coming and going with fresh horse being exchanged often during the match.

The ball is made from a very hard, yet light material.  It's like Styrofoam highly compressed to a very hard compact form - you wouldn't want to get hit with it, another danger that looms for the players and their horses.  The ball gets a dent in it with each strike so they need about two dozen new balls each game!

In the evening they get out the wine, build a bonfire and grill up huge racks of typical cuts of beef rib, pork and sausage - a specialty of the Argentinians.  And they are very good at it!  It's all very jovial.

The manager Juan Luciano Bozzi organizes Polo practice and lessons for beginners and players of all levels.  They are available to do single or group lessons guaranteeing high safety level of the rider and horses.   Our son Leone took tutoring for about a year with Juan when he was around 14 years old (he already had experience with English riding) - it was an extraordinary exhilarating experience. 

Last I heard a single lesson of 1 hour is €140 including the horse, teacher and all the gear supplied by Villa Sesta Polo Club

I don't have this years' (2013) tournament calendar yet but I will post it when I do!

We've got some other fascinating neighbours but I'll save those other blogs!

Sherry Mason
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Photos courtesy of Villa Sesto Polo Club

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