HICKSTEAD showground in Sussex is not only renowned for show jumping, but also hosts top class arena polo, which takes place there during winter.
The All England Polo Club was founded in 2006, and quickly became established as one of the premier Arena Polo venues in the country. It hosts tournaments throughout the winter season, including the International Arena Polo Test Match each March.
USA 10-goaler Tommy Biddle, who came to Hickstead for the first time in 2014, instantly became one of Polo at Hickstead’s biggest supporters: “This is the best surface I have ever played on. Hickstead has the best arena in the world!”
Founder member Jack Kidd attributes this success to the huge surge in popularity of arena polo in recent years: “In the past ten years the science of arena polo has evolved to create the most passionate, gladiatorial, fast game that I have ever played.”
The difference between summer and winter Polo is akin to that of football and five-a-side football. Arena is played with three team members, using a larger and softer ball than traditional polo, and shots and angles can be played off the boarded sides of the arena.
It is an ideal way to bring on young horses or improve those that are too much of a handful on the bigger summer pitch.
Make sure you are in the crowd to experience one of the highlights of the global winter polo season, as England takes on an international rival in the hope of winning the Bryan Morrison Trophy.
Head to Hickstead for an unbeatable winter day out, and enjoy a drink on the clubhouse viewing deck as you are treated to the spectacle of fierce, world-class polo action unfolding in the arena below you.
Another huge selling point of Arena is that it requires less horse power, thus eliminating the need for a large string of ponies. A club member could happily play with two ponies throughout the season, only having to rent an additional one or two for tournament days.
“The best way to understand Arena Polo is to experience it, after which players guarantee you will stop thinking of it as just a ‘winter fill in’ and grow to love it as a sport in its own right,” said a player.
For more information about Hickstead’s arena polo programme for the winter and spring seasons see https://www.hickstead.co.uk/polo