I took time out to go on a family holiday to Sri Lanka. It was beautiful to get away with the family, when we can get the kids undivided attention. The teenage boys will soon grow out of wanting these holidays, so we cherish our time with them as they are all growing up so fast. For me, it was a period that I didn’t have to see, think or ride horses. As much as I love horses, it was a holiday away from them.
Looking ahead to 2018, the Thai Polo Open is set to be played in early January with six solid teams. Dropping the handicap range down two goals to 10 to 12 goals makes the RMPA’s International League more accessible to other teams. We hope to have six teams in the Malaysian legs, the RSPC Open, Royal Pahang Classic and RMPA International League Final, later in the year.
The FIP Snow Polo World Cup was cancelled as Metropolitan Polo Club could only mount four teams. I did six tours as FIP’s Tournament Director of the FIP Snow Polo World Cup, so I was sad to see this go, especially as there is a project to get Snow Polo into the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games.
If there is a lesson to be learned from this cancellation, it is that ponies age, and it is easier to replace a string gradually, rather than all at once.
Most teams that play the high goal in Malaysia know this, and have a program to buy six or more horses per year. By selling the same number as they buy, their string remains the same size, while the local market has access to horses that have played high goal. The new ponies get assimilated into the string without too much pressure on them the first year.
Many professional players will make a package out of selling horses to go along with their services. This has drawbacks, and a few poor horses can cost a pro his job. Sometimes it is better to have some distance from them and use an independent horse dealer, if you can find one.
With the Merdeka League and National Championship suspended again, players will have to rely on club polo for low and medium goal polo. With Terengganu Polo Club on the verge of a comeback to polo, there could be some interesting club tournaments. We are all waiting to see how the RSPC League (-2 to 2 goals) will function, and what will happen in Putrajaya.
Here is the 2018 Malaysian Polo Calendar.
Not one to hold my breath, I have a few projects that could spice things up, and I hope that it will keep the momentum going in local polo. I’m hoping 2018 does not turn into a holiday year.
Wishing my readers all the very best for 2018. May all your polo and equestrian dreams come true.