Perhaps nothing has surprised me more about Hawaii than learning that polo is a popular part of island culture. No, not the swimming pool game (“Marco”), the one that looks like jockeys playing golf on horseback.
Although polo is played on the mainland US, that’s not what gave rise to the sport here. Polo came to Hawaii through an Australian cowboy visiting from India in the 19th century, according to the Hawaii Polo website. I have not attended a polo match but Ashley from Hawaii Aloha Travel has, and she is helping us to learn about it.
“Polo has become really popular here on the North Shore. You can choose to sit on the ocean-side where most it is picnic-style. Most people have a little barbeque and wear their swimming suits. It can get hot watching the game so they just jump in the ocean to cool down. Many people bring their dogs, too. I love to watch the dogs interact and play. The other side is the Polo Club side, which is a totally different outlook. You see people more dressed up and ‘prim and proper.’ My husband and I love both sides and switch it up throughout the season.
The horses are taken care of with so much love. It is a lot of exercise for them but they only have to play one chucker and then they get to rest. (A chucker is a period of play). At the end, the horses are taken to the ocean to cool down and then back to the stables for dinner. After the game, everyone is dancing and smiling.
The polo season on the North Shore begins around April and has just ended. The closing day of polo had over 2,000 people show up! There were sky pers between chuckers, a live band and a car show. The second to last game had over 1,000 spectators. Jeff and I always tell the players ‘we really like your office’ because these people are doing what they love and they have true passion for the sport. Even though the amazing season has ended here on the North Shore, it is now being played on the Waimanalo field and then it will be in Maui, so these guys play year-round. This polo field is a slice of paradise for sure!” By Ashley Larson. Ashley’s profile: Escape the Beaten Path