Chukkers at Jerez Club Polo Del Sol
On my quest to visit as many polo clubs as I can, my latest adventure took me to Jerez de la Frontera, a sleepy yet elegant and historic town in Southern Spain. Jerez is about an hour and a half drive North-West from Sotogrande, one of the melting pots of polo in Europe. The drive is beautiful, through a reserve with rolling hills of green and rivers on a smooth highway.
When we, Kegan and I, arrived in Jerez the temperature was still quite high despite it being almost 6 pm, but it was a dry heat opposed to the humid heat down by the coast. We met up with Marion and her team. Marion runs the Argentina Polo Academy near Pilar, Buenos Aires, Argentina, in the winter and in the summer she and her husband run the polo school and club in Jerez, called Club Polo Del Sol.
A lovely facility with 2 full-size polo fields, 1 practice field and a huge indoor arena. The club also hosts showjumping and dressage events, but its main focus is polo. They have been hosts to the Spanish Championships on several occasion and polo players come from all over Spain and the rest of Europe to the club, especially in the winter months when everywhere else is too cold and wet for polo, Jerez has the perfect climate. Marion hosts a New Year’s Eve tournament and party, with guests from all over who come together for a fun week of polo and festivities.
Wehen we arrived our horses were already getting tacked up, Marion managed to squeeze us in for the afternoon practice chukkers. Kegan is currently 2 goals and could give the fellow players a run for their money, whereas I was just focusing on not crying again (my emotions tend to overwhelm me slightly when I play chukkers at a new place).
I am still at a very beginner stage of polo, even though I have been learning for a few years now, it is always very inconsistent because of my lifestyle and when I started I had never sat on a horse before. Almost every time I get on a horse it is at a new place, a new horse and new people. So I often get overwhelmed with emotion, emotions of fear, of excitement, of being a badass and at the same time a wuss, a lot goes through my mind within seconds of stepping onto the field (I’m sure I am not the only one). So every time I do go onto a polo field I am pushing myself out of my comfort zone and mostly I grow from it. I learn to calm myself down, to remember what I know and trust myself and my abilities. It also helps when I have really good people around. Kegan gave me a good peptalk, which first made my cry like a little girl, but then I pulled myself together and cantered off and hit a ball in the sweet spot and made it soar, telling myself “I can do this.”
I joined in on two of the chukkers and then stepped off the field so they could go fast and actually practice, as everyone had been very sweet and set the pace down a lot for me. It went from club chukkers to Diana’s instructional chukker, with everyone telling me (in a nice way) what to do and hitting balls to me, even my opponents. And I scored a few goals (with a bit of help getting the ball down the field).
The final chukker I tapped out and enjoyed watching from the sideline with a trusty canine companion.
I will definitely go back to Club Polo Del Sol and hopefully, I can go a bit faster next time and not hold everyone back. Hoping to one day be able to join in on the tournaments and polo holidays.
Thank you Marion for a great experience.