February 09, 2005
Guards Polo Club

Today I discovered a place called Windsor Great Park. This place is amazing - and it is HUGE. It’s owned by Her Majesty the Queen. I always thought that this place was just a small piece of parkland in front of Windsor Castle - but instead I found out that it is a massive expanse of land occupying a significant part of the border betwen the counties of Royal Berkshire and Surrey.

Amongst the many places of charm, intrigue, history and Royal glamour in this park there is a sanctuary called the “Guards Polo Club” which is where the Royalty and all of its circle of “hangers on” come to watch and play the “Sport of Kings”: which is Polo. (The game where young men ride horses with sticks that they use to whack a ball around a field whilst mostly young women admirers in expensive dresses sip Pimms and lemonade and mingle with old and retired army-officer men who once-upon-a-time graduated from Sandhurst military college and pretend to know all there is to know about polo in the days of the British Raj in India - and who nowadays turn up to such prestigious sporting events in Rolls Royces which said young expensively-dressed women like to pose in front of.)

Anyway - there is a club-house here - which is where members of the Royal Family, their guests and other VIPs eat, drink and watch over the Polo match whilst dressed up in the highest of Cartier fashions. Whilst here on an eerily quiet non-match day - I imagined what it must be like when a full-on, full-scale Polo match is being held. I pottered around the clubhouse - and happened to notice a little statueette “trophy” on the sideboard in a hallway adjacent to the ladies and gents bathrooms. It was a figure of a turban-headed Indian polo-player on a horse. The inscription on the plaque said:

Presented to the Guards Polo Club by the Indian Army … 1992

It made me wonder who won the match that day.

A statuette presented to the Guards Polo Club by the Indian Army
(Located on a sideboard near the toilets in the Royal polo clubhouse at Windsor Great Park.)

Posted by jag at February 09, 2005 11:19 PM
I worked as a farrier for 10 years in New York before I changed jobs and moved to North Carolina. I worked for several polo players and got to know the game closely. It was mind boggling to see how much people spent on it. Historically it belongs to India. There are many interesting accounts of legendary polo players from Rajastan. Today the young players from Argentina are leading the game. Posted by: Fritz on February 10, 2005 01:37 AM
It all started here... http://www.indianpolo.com/manipurpolo/history.asp Posted by: Fritz on February 10, 2005 02:22 AM
That was a really long sentence. Really. Surprising to note how polo has played such a role in history, of both India and UK. I wonder who played the match that day. Posted by: sat on February 10, 2005 09:06 PM
I thought it was horse racing that was the sport of kings? The post reminded me of something in "The Great Gatsby." "His family were enormously wealthy -- even in college his freedom with money was a matter for reproach -- but now he'd left Chicago and come east in a fashion that rather took your breath away: for instance he'd brought down a string of polo ponies from Lake Forest. It was hard to realize that a man in my own generation was wealthy enough to do that." Posted by: Sivani on February 10, 2005 09:53 PM
Hi Jag, Thanks for stopping by my blog...led me to yours and the step by step recipes...really need them!! Posted by: Sukanya M on February 12, 2005 09:30 AM
Fritz: you worked as a farrier for 10 years? Fascinating. What do you do now? Thanks for the link regarding the history. Yes - I've heard that the Argentinians are the best at this game now. By the way - that clubhouse I was in: it's the same one where our Prince Charles met his new wife-to-be Camilla. It seems that Polo is also the place where future Kings and Queens get it together I guess. Sat: yes - wit was a long sentence in retrospect! Sivani: you might be right - maybe Horse racing is the sport of kings. yes - i can see the association in Great Gatsby. Polo has been adopted by the British aristocracy - so wealth and Polo go together I guess. Sukanya: Cheers! And thank you for visiting. Hope you find them useful! Posted by: Jag on February 12, 2005 01:22 PM
Jag: These days I'm working for this company.. http://www.vintagestudios.com/ the guy who owns the company finds containers of recycled wrought iron from around the world and then we reconfigure it into furniture etc A great job that allows me to use my blacksmithing skills creatively. I missed a chance to travel to India to watch a Polo tournament a while back, I hope to go sometime. They have the best party, Elephants on the sidelines , incredible color and location. The only other polo event that comes close is winter polo on frozen St Moritz Lake Switzerland. Posted by: Fritz on February 12, 2005 03:05 PM
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