Snow Polo

the elegance of horse riders on ice.

Although it might appear as a hybrid riding, a bit English because of the saddle and the gear and a bit American because the horse is led with a single hand, the game of polo is actually a refined sport which requires a good athletic prepration both of rider and horse, strategy and respect for the rules. The first mentions of this game date back as early as 500 b.C. but the first rules were established in England in the 19th century. There are no precise data on the true origins of polo. It was probably born in the Middle East, where it was already practiced 2500 years ago in Persia and China. Polo then spread all through the East: Mongolia, Pakistan, Tibet, India, China and Japan. The riders played hitting a ball made of animal leather, and the game was called “pulu”. The English army discovered polo in India in the 19th century. Polo was the national sport of the state of Manipur and English officials learnt it from local people, who had actually copied a game played in Tibet. General Robert Stewart founded the first polo club in 1859. In 1870 all over British India polo was played on the small local ponies. The first Western polo club was founded in Malta in 1868 by the British officials who made a stop on the island during their journeys to and from India, while the first official polo match was played in England in 1989 in Aldershot.
It is impressive to see eight horse riders on the snow competing in one of the most fascinating disciplines in the sports field.
Either with the sun or the snowflakes, the weather does not stop them, since horse and riders are used to challenges on the white surface of a frozen lake in any weather conditions. All the surroundings are enchanted with the elegance and skill of the eight riders on the field. In the background the imposing skyline of the snowy mountains make the scene even more fascinating. The first events of Snow Polo were held in 1985 in Sant Moritz, and then in 1989 in Cortina.
In the Italian resort matches were played in the first two years on the Lake Landro, below Mount Cristallo, then in 1991 the tournament moved to Lake Misurina, where it was held for more than two decades at the feet of the Three Peaks of Lavaredo and of Mount Sorapis. Today, since the ice field must comply with safety requirements, the Town of Cortina has offered to Polo Gold Cup Circuit, which hosts the event, the area of Fiames, an area which is highly appreciated especially by nordic skiers, located four kilometers north of the mountain resort. The charm of polo, whose origins date back to ancient times between Pakistan and Afghanistan, is mainly due to speed, team play and perfect symbiosis between horse and rider.