What an exciting weekend it’s been! Despite the rather surprising turn of weather, players from all over Zimbabwe came to compete in a polocrosse tournament. They represented Borrowdale, Marodera, Bulawayo and Antelope Park, as they were cheered on by the (somewhat chilly) spectators. This weekend witnessed some truly superior polocrosse; not least from our very own Marketing and Sales Manager, Isabel Juby, who played in her highest division yet!
One thing watching a polocrosse tournament is guaranteed to do, for any deep-rooted equestrian, is make them itch to be back in the saddle. A single photo can stir the memories of that unique adrenaline rush; galloping freely down a pitch, hotly pursued by your competition, to the delighted calls of support from the sidelines. Even if you’ve never played polocrosse before, you should most certainly try it. And, luckily, African Horse Safaris is offering the best opportunities to do so, with a Working Riding Holiday placement at Antelope Park, Zimbabwe.
So, what exactly IS polocrosse?
You might have already heard of equestrian polo. Polocrosse, then, as the name suggests, takes inspiration from this. Funnily enough, it also holds a lot of similarity with lacrosse; with new rules, a bigger pitch, and the addition of our favourite, four-legged friends! There are three players per team, and two umpires (referees), with the aim being to score as many goals as possible within four 6-minute “chukkas”. It is a fast-paced game that is truly exhilarating to watch and play. Therefore, it is an absolute MUST-TRY for a passionate rider.
This Weekend’s Tournament
For this tournament, we bid Antelope Park goodbye and travelled to the town of Marondera, just outside of Harare, where 18 teams were to play across four divisions; A, Upper B, Lower B and (the smaller, but no less fierce) Under 14s. This weekend’s games were mainly for fun, but nevertheless, we saw hot competition between the teams, with the A-division being won by Harare after some intense chukkas. The Under 14 division was endearing to watch, as the players cantered valiantly along the pitch on their trusty ponies. And check out Isabel; galloping flat out to give her opponents some fierce pressure as they race for the ball!:
Overall, the tournament was thoroughly enjoyable; the atmosphere was friendly and welcoming to new and old faces alike… even more so, after a few drinks beside the fire on Saturday night! It was a pleasure to watch players at the height of their game, as well as developing players, whose strengths increased the more invested in their chukkas they became. Moreover, of course, the ponies – without which this game would not exist- should be celebrated. All of the ponies ran their hearts out on the pitch, and the tournament gave many an experienced player the opportunity to give their green (young) ponies a taste of the game. Whilst the weather was somewhat more dreary than Zimbabwe deserved for this time of year, and the drive up was long, it was completely worth the trip.
Check out this cheeky pass we caught on camera, filming an A-division match! (link)
Playing Polocrosse at Antelope Park
Interns on the Working Riding Holiday programme with Antelope Park have the opportunity to learn polocrosse every weekend, when there are stick and ball sessions, followed by practise chukkas. It is an excellent way to get involved with the competitive and fun nature of the game, amongst other beginners. And, if your time here corresponds with a tournament, you might even get the option to show off your developing skills in a proper competition, representing Antelope Park!
For tournaments the Park will usually take their own horses, and promises a long weekend spent relaxing on the side of the pitch between your own chukkas, watching ponies thunder past and some truly spectacular play from the A-division matches. You’ll get to really immerse yourself in the world of African polocrosse, amongst other passionate players and supporters. Who knows; you might leave us a complete convert!