Sunday, July 27, 2008


As summer has finally arrived in England, we decided to make the most of it, and head for a day out at the Cartier International Polo. The venue was Guards Polo club at Windsor Great Park, about 50 miles west of London. We set the alarm for an unusually early Sunday morning, and made it to Earls Court to catch the bus to the event. We had decided to go with a 'Tim the Tourman' tour as it sounded good, and was relatively cheap, although in hindsight they did almost nothing for us, other than provide the bus. Anyway, back to the Polo.

It is billed as the biggest event on the social calendar for the high-society folk. with 25,000 of our closest high-society friends joining us for a day out, on the hottest day of the year so far. The Retail enclosure included many overpriced items (such as £25 for a cap) however the highlights were the Porche stand, as well as a few Maserati's if you had a spare £100,000+. Unfortunately we don't have a garage, otherwise we would have bought a couple.

There were two matches on the day, with the Prince of Wales team v Hurlingham team as a leadup to the big game, England v Australia. Unfortunately Prince William was shooting down drug lords in Columbia & Harry was off volunteering in Africa, so they didn't feature this year. The Queen & Prince Philip couldn't be bothered watching (as the event has become far to commercial for their liking), so it was left to Prince Charles to be the token Royal.

The Prince of Wales team managed to win 8 points to 7 1/2. We still don't understand how teams score 1/2 points, so happy to hear any ideas as to the scoring system??

It had also taken us some time to figure out any of the rules. So here is what we managed to agree on:

1. There are 4 horses per team that get changed at each Chukka (or whenever the horse gets tired)
The slowest change of the day. This is usually done in one graceful jump!
2. There are 3 chukka per half and each chukka is 6-7min long (we think)
3. After each goal, ends are changed. Makes for very confusing viewing
4. Field is apparently the size of 10 football (soccer) pitches
5. There is a rugby 'line out' style manouver when the ball goes out of play
6. Goals are signalled AFL style by little people in white coats holding paddles not flags
7. The refs' horses don't get their tails wrapped up. Mustn't be quite as posh
8. You can't ride across the line of the ball (ie: in front of). Some sort of offside rule. Thats what our handout said anyway.

The refs
This guy seemed to lose everything after a knock to the head, but don't worry, after some quick first aid treatment he was back on the horse

In the 3 or so hours between games we had a leisurely picnic and tried to brush up on the rules. But more importantly, the girls headed out onto the field (or it may be a pitch) to 'stomp the divots' in true Pretty Woman style.
Okay, so maybe we created this one ourselves.

Before the big match of the day there was a march past of all the teams (plus a few ew hadn't seen before). What we weren't expecting was the hunting party that joined in. Very cute dogs.
Unfortunately the Australian team didn't quite live up to our expectations, as they came from well down to narrowly lose 10-9.
See rule 8
To the girls disappointment the big game had official 'divot dudes' that ran on at the end of each chukka. What were we supposed to do at half time?

There were quite a few sunburnt people by the end of the day, however we escaped (relatively) unscathed.
Fellow Queenslander's