Polo Advice - New
Lines on Polo Ponies
by Eduardo A. Amaya (polo instructor)
(The following was presented by
Marco Focaccia at Siam Polo Round Table - June 2007)
The following list of bullets can
be very helpful in reviewing your knowledge and perspective on polo and polo
ponies. Read through this and you can agree, disagree, or modify the following
points -- It is food for thought and a forum to invite comment, so that we can
all improve and enjoy the art of polo. (TC)
- A polo pony will do anything it is taught.
- Everything a horse has learnt in years can be ruined
- Persuasion is the appropriate term when breaking-in a
horse. That is to say, patience and control never in an aggressive way.
- A relaxed horse learns, whereas a nervous horse learns
nothing at all.
- Horses are a lot like our legs. Be smart when choosing
- A good horse makes the game easier, whereas a bad
horse makes it complicated.
- A horse that does not stop or jumps is not good for
- When you are playing a horse without even noticing it,
you can be sure it is a good horse.
- An ideal horse should be small, very sturdy and
strong, and with great stamina.
- A horse must stop through learning and not by force.
- If a horse has a tough mouth, there must be a reason.
However, it will surely not be softened by force.
- Pain can be the limiting aspect when it comes to the
performance of a great polo pony. Therefore, if a good horse refrains from
doing something it used to do well, it is letting you know that something is
- No horse is evil, but man can turn it into an evil
- Hitting a horse with a tack is an aggressive and
- Treat horses the way you would like to be treated.
- Never vent your rage on your horse.
- A new horse must learn how to work at walking pace and
then continue learning as the speed gradually increases.
- Figuratively speaking, a new horses must firstly be
fitted with a gearbox and lastly with the breaks, paying less attention to
speed which in time will gradually be acquired.
- A horse learns by repetition, and we must devote much
time to achieving the positin of the head, the neck profile, and teach it how
to stop without jumping.
- Riding crops are the way to communicate with a horse.
- To get to know a horse, we must feel it, and the only
way to know everything about it, as regards polo, is by playing the horse.
- To know about its structure, we must observe a horse's
stance and the way it moves, whereas to know about its sensitivity, we must
- A mouthpiece for a horse is like a key to a lock.
- A good horse follows its muzzle.
- You should not make your horses do things they are not
trained to do for they will learn to be losers.
- The worst possible alliance is between a new player
(beginner) and a new horse, since neither will learn anything at all.
- Anxiety is a damaging factor in the learning process,
whereas calmness is beneficial.
- The more you move while riding your horse, the more
you complicate its movements.
- Not everybody knows what a good horse is like because
they have never ridden one.
- In the case of a playing horse, we must focus on ease,
speed and stamina.
- We must lead a horse using our intelligence and not by
- Do not waste your horse's energy, so you will always
have it when you need it.
- A good horse stands out far more when it comes to a
shifting positions than in the actual running.
- Whoever sits on a horse must learn the mechanics of
the animal's movements.
- Avoid being a prisoner to your horse's reins. Handel
them freely (loosely). This is good for you and your horse.
- You must be good at handling the reins and totally
familiar with aids. The latter are the means of communication between a rider
and a horse.
- The reins are the link that completes the chain
between the horse's mouth, your hands and the game.
- Getting used to controlling a horse with both hands is
of vital importance, since 95% of the time we play we are controlling the
horse and we spend only 5% hitting the ball.
- Good hands do not exist without an adequate use and
support of all other functions of the player's body (aids).
- Independence between one hand (or both) and the
player's saddle is indispensable. The rein lays the key to good control.
- A harmonic, healthy and well-balanced horse will offer
solid support as regards its mouth. And, the more sensitive the horse's neck
and the lighter the head, the lighter it will be.
- Horsemanship applied to polo is a very particular and
different type of horsemanship to that which is used in other equestrian
activities, since it assembles two fundamental aspects, namely on the one hand
a good control of the horse and on the other hand, a clear aptitude to hit the
- A bad rider lacks rhythm.
- The more you use the stirrups (platform) the more you
take advantage of your horse.
- A riding crop is a lot like salt - it proves
detrimental when used in excess.
- Whenever a play begins at a standstill, before the
ball is set in motion, prepare you horse by tapping it with your riding crop,
collect the reins and give it a soft tap using your heels. Consequently, your
horse will be ready to react quickly.
- If you make a mistake during the game, your should
never get your horse nor your team-mates involved. They are not to blame.
- Forcing a heavy or unfit horse is a cowardly act adn
we will pay for it since this will ruin the horse.
- The rider's character is passed on to the horse.
- end -