Polo Valley Ladies Week
On November 4th I once again headed to one of my absolute favorite places on this planet, Polo Valley. Fall in southern Spain is perfectly pleasant, around 20 degrees celsius during the day and sunny most days. Driving into the lovely polo resort near Sotogrande, my whole body fills with excitement and relaxes at the same time, a weird phenomenon. I was driving into a week of polo with some absolutely lovely ladies.
We started off with a stick and ball session Monday afternoon, where we met each other, got introduced or re-introduced to our ponies and our teachers Pablo Roldan and Stevie Mc
Every time I come to Polo Valley my excitement for polo gets exponentially bigger, and my skills get exponentially better!
The program for the week was:
Monday: Afternoon Stick and Ball followed by a group training sessions
Tuesday: Morning group training followed by a stick and ball sessions and afternoon chukkers.
Wednesday: Morning yoga session and afternoon tactics lesson (a well deserved break for my muscles)
Thursday: Morning group PT session hack in the mountain, afternoon chukkers in the arena.
Friday: Morning yoga session followed by stick and ball and chukkers in the afternoon. Friday night we had a lovely
Saturday: Morning stick and ball and afternoon game 1 of the tournament. We played round-robin as we were three teams in total.
Sunday: Final tournament day, we played in the late morning followed by an amazing paella lunch by the barn.
And all the amazing breakfasts, lunches and dinners the Annas prepared (Polo Valley has quite a few staff to ensure all guests have a comfortable and relaxing stay, where all they need to focus on is their polo and chilling between training, both cooks are called Anna).
The first stick and ball practice
The first set of practice chukkers made me a little nervous, I hadn’t played chukkers in over a year! So the thought of bumps, hooks and trying to keep up made my stomach churn a bit. Luckily for me I was out there with some awesome ladies and coaches, Pablo and Stevie gave me the exact right amount of encouragement and push, while the ladies (Michaela, Leanne and Kat) were nice and didn’t bump me hard. I did let them just have the ball whenever they were going for it, haha.
Playing chukkers in the arena was super fun, I had never done that before, I had actually only had 2 lessons in an arena before. On the big grass field I always get left behind because I don’t canter very fast, I stay at a comfortable speed. I can see the play unfold in front of me, I’m just too far away to be part of it. In the arena it goes much slower because of the size (this was also a small arena, so we played 2 on 2). I was in the game a lot more, had contact with the ball a lot more, I even managed to hook Stevie’s mallet a few times (much to his surprise, haha). Conclusion: I will definitely play more arena polo in 2020.
I was very proud of myself in the tournament, yes we were the bottom team out of three, but I was happy with my own improvement and how courageous I was towards the end of the week. I was going faster, getting in the game, blocking and hooking and I even rode Leah off once. I scored a goal in our first game, a missed by a few inches in the second (but at least I was close).
My improvement on the field was due to a few factors, firstly, as I got to know the ponies better I felt even more confident and comfortable on them, I knew their gait and trusted them fully. Secondly, riding and practicing almost every day makes your muscles sore but improves your skills massively! I was truly amazed at how much I had improved in skills and confidence in just one week, imagine what could be done in Polo Valley’s 7 week PIP course! I would practically be a pro 😉
If you would like to know more about the PIP course check out this IGTV post or anything else about Polo Valley send me an e-mail at Diana @ PoloPeoplePlaces.com or DM me on Instagram.