A Morning of Polo in China
Wherever I go I always try to find a polo club, so on a recent trip to Tianjin, China, I reached out to my friend Rebecca who knows everyone in the Chinese polo scene and she connected me to John Fisher, the polo manager at the Goldin Metropolitan Polo Club in Tianjin.
John kindly sent a car to pick me up at my hotel. Driving through the massive metropolis that is Tianjin was quite astonishing and then to roll up to this vast open and green 220+ acres estate, was really a breath of fresh air.
When I showed up the weather was a little tricky, with a light drizzle and some fog. I caught just the last of the morning chukkers the guys were playing as the rain came down.
As their chukkers ended John and Agustin (club pro) came off their horses and greeted me in true polo player fashion, horse, mallet, whip and helmet in one hand, extending the other to say hello. We all chatted for a bit and Agustin took me to meet the ponies.
I had the pleasure of riding Judge, who coincidently my friend from Dubai, Lauren, knew from when she worked in Australia at the Ellerston farm 10 years ago, the polo world really is tiny!
The rain had lightened up, but the field was already a bit choppy and muddy, so we opted for the arena. Agustin gave me some tips and quickly became my cameraman (thank you, Agustin!). I mainly practiced going straight to goal and scoring in as little hits as I could and turning with the ball, something I am still not very confident in as my riding muscles aren’t super strong, but slowly and surely. I also practiced my nearside (at a walk or trot) whenever I could.
After some stick and ball fun, we went exploring the grounds a little, checked out all the barns. The Tianjin Goldin Metropolitan Polo Club has 250 stalls, 2 grass polo fields, 1 sand arena, exercise tracks and a cross-country trail wrapping around the estate. The polo and equestrian club offers lessons to beginners, from pony club level to adults up to seasoned players who want to practice and improve. Foreigners visiting the city can also join in for a stick and ball session or chukkers and horses are available to rent for tournaments. Tournaments have package deals including accommodation and horse hire to make it simple for foreign visitors to join in on the fun.
Following our little trail ride around the grounds, it was time to head over to the hotel and meet up with Paris Luo, a lady doing great things for women’s polo.
Paris started playing polo only a few years ago but has like most of us fallen completely in love with the sport and dedicates a lot of her time to playing, organizing and growing polo. She has started a new company and initiative called Polo 1003, with the mission of making polo more popular, especially amongst women, in China. The company will be building smaller polo clubs around China to make the sport more accessible. Check out our full interview below, where we talked more about her initiatives and about her teaming up with the Women’s International Polo Network (WIPN).
Visiting the Tianjin Goldin Metropolitan Polo Club was an unexpected treat, anyone in the area should go check it out. Watch one of their big tournaments or try out a beginner lesson for yourself, or practice your skills while in town and join a tournament. Message me here if you would like to know more and get in contact with the polo manager John Fisher.
My top, I wore here is from the Hurlingham Polo 1875 lifestyle collection, click here to shop.
This post was made in collaboration with the Tianjin Goldin Metropolitan Polo Club and contains affiliate links, read more about what this means here.