Article & Photos by: Christine Zhang
If I’m being honest, whenever I used to hear the word “polo” (which admittedly wasn’t too often), I’d imagine posh, preppy, British men seated gracefully on majestic horses, posing like the Ralph Lauren Polo logo. So, when Summerhill Polo graciously invited Thirty Seventh and other local bloggers to watch a polo match at their Maryland location, I anticipated a slightly stuffy experience not too different from Julia Roberts’s first polo match in Pretty Woman (minus Richard Gere and his skeezy lawyer, of course). I could not have been more wrong. In the place of the glamorous yet uptight pastime I had imagined, I found a thrilling, demanding, and action-packed sport. I mean, you try precariously balancing on a horse galloping at roughly a bajillion miles per hour while hitting a tiny white ball with a wooden stick. Whether you’re familiar with the sport or a total novice like me, keep reading for the inside scoop on the Summerhill Polo experience.
When I first arrived at Summerhill Polo’s Poolesville location (roughly 45 minutes outside of DC), I was greeted by the picturesque sight of rolling green hills and wooden fences that stretched out for miles. As we pulled up to the barn, we were warmly welcomed by the staff and given carrots to feed the horses. Our guides would point to the polo ponies saying things like “This one was a star horse in its prime,” or “This one has seen more of the world than all of us combined,” as I seriously considered my chances of having a Freaky Friday moment with one of these majestic globetrotters.
Then, we went down to the field to try out polo for ourselves. We started off slowly by passing the ball around while on our own two feet, before graduating to hitting from atop a wooden horse. Finally, the top of our class (not me) went on to try their luck on horseback.
After lowkey struggling for a bit, it was time for us to leave it to the professionals. As we kicked back and enjoyed refreshments, the polo players galloped out of the barn and onto the field, hooves thundering against the grass as they stormed past us. They seemed to be flying; the horses were running so quickly that the players had to switch them out every few minutes to avoid overexertion.
For anyone who loves horses, or has ever felt the need to burst the DC bubble and escape into a more bucolic setting, Summerhill Polo is worth the trip. I left the farm feeling refreshed and (almost) ready to return to the city’s 9-5 office grind. Although I certainly won’t be the one charging down the field anytime soon, I would definitely return to watch another match!
A huge thank-you to Summerhill Polo for giving Thirty Seventh the opportunity to experience a professional polo match! Be sure to follow Summerhill Polo on Facebook or @SummerhillPolo on Instagram for more information on their upcoming events.