Equestrian Triathlon – Dressage, Jumpers and Polo Swap Disciplines
What happens when you take high-level equestrians from dressage, showjumping and polo and then put them on teams and make them compete in each others disciplines? Entertainment for spectators! 🙂
This past Sunday we witnessed some of the great stars in polo, such as Gonzalito Pieres, Nacho Figueras and Nic Roldan, show their horsemanship in dressage and showjumping.
I met Nic as he arrived and he told me “I have jumped a bit before, just messing around, but I have no clue what to do on a dressage horse. It will be a lot of fun.” Nic definitely gave the spectators a show.
The event, hosted by Neil Hirsch with proceeds going to the Boys and Girls Club of Palm Beach County charity. Kathleen Gannon, one of the masterminds behind the event said she wanted to “mix things up a bit” and that we need to promote polo some more. Agreed! My whole mission is to spread the word about polo, so these events are great and a fun way of getting the other equestrian disciplines in for a little taste of the sport.
Dressage rider Juan Matute Guimón Jr. was one of the riders trying out polo for the first time, without any prior experience and just a quick intro by fellow team-mate and 8-goal player Nic Roldan and he was out there giving it a go and later exclaimed very enthusiastically that “it was really fun” and he understood why people got “so hooked on polo”.
I have actually had lessons in all three disciplines, just because it was what was available to me and since I only started learning to play polo and ride 3 years ago and had never been on a horse before, I take any opportunity I get to be on a horse, regardless of discipline. So I know the very basics of each, just things like how to hold the reins, how to position yourself and your legs (and there is a huge difference!) and how to give commands to the horse, which again varies quite a bit. (check out my blogpost about my first riding lesson here and my first polo lesson here)
To me, it looked like the dressage riders and jumpers did very well and looked natural in each others disciplines, as there are many similarities in riding style. They took to the polo riding style quite easily, going for the ride-offs and racing each other, with the biggest challenge being the mallet and figuring out the timing and distance to be able to hit the ball.
It looked like the polo players felt a bit less natural jumping over 60 cm poles and especially in dressage all three of them were shouting “Que hago ahora?” (“What do I do now?”) to their friends and family members. And all three disciplines showed how well you can train a horse and when the horse knows what to do, the rider will figure it out too 😉
All in all, it was a fun evening watching beautiful and talented horses, but the most beautiful of all were my roomie Philippa Davin’s Golden horses, displayed around the VIP area.
Thank you, Kathleen, Neil and the rest of the team for a great evening!
Check out all of Sheryel’s pictures from the night here on www.ThePoloPaparazzi.com