Polo: The New Football

By Caroline Woodman

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Sure, football can be fun to watch–I live for those last second touchdowns that send the student section into a frenzy—but there are also those long, drawn-out commercial breaks, time outs, and overtime that can make the game feel tedious.

With that little tidbit in mind, let me introduce you to the sport of polo. And, for the record, we’re talking the equestrian version, not water.

All photos by Piper Fisk, piperfisk.com

The second the referee tosses the ball in, mallets fly, players shout, and horses gallop. Within the first couple of heartbeats, the tiny white ball is hit the length of a football field, and a thunderous beat fills the air as the eight players rush to reach the ball first. 

Players “ride-off” each other, which is basically a fancy term for shoving the full weight of your knee, elbow, and not to mention, horse, into an opponent to push them away from the ball (funny sidenote: sometimes your horse will get really into the game and try to be helpful by riding-off one of your teammates). So polo’s like hockey, but with horses.

Filled with fast-paced blink-and-you-missed-it action, there’s not a dull moment in the match. But the match isn’t the only reason to attend: rows and rows of cars and tents will be lined up along the edge of the field, offering tailgating with front-row seats to the action. Grab a drink, maybe some brisket from a cookout, or if it’s someone’s birthday, try a stab at the pinata that will doubtlessly be present. 

You’ll find a mix of UT and St. Edward’s students milling about, some cheering on their friends from the sidelines, others practicing their sports photography skills, and still others “stick and balling” on the nearby practice fields.

It’s the perfect college sport: fun to watch, abundant tailgating, and perhaps most importantly, free.

Luckily, some of the best polo in the United States is located right outside of Austin in Lockhart. Pretty much every weekend you can find some sort of regional tournament or intercollegiate match.  

Got the polo bug yet? Come check it out at Two Wishes Ranch, located at 454 Hobby Horse Rd, Lockhart, TX.


Sat 2 – Sun 3

USPA SW Constitution Tournament

Sat 16 – Sun 17

Club Tournament

Sat 23 – Sun 24

USPA Teddy Roosevelt

Interested in playing, or just learning to ride? Contact the Texas Polo Team at universityoftexaspoloteam@gmail.com