Some visitors have their first polo experience in Barbados and it’s not difficult to see why because it’s a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. The international polo season starts just after Christmas when the island is buzzing with visitors and returning nationals. The season runs through to May and teams from all over the world visit our polo fields. Barbados has a healthy reputation for hospitality on and off the field, and is now firmly on the world polo map as a destination where the sport flourishes and the social scene excels. Much of this is due to generous patrons within the sport, top quality sponsors and government support.
In an era where sports tourism has developed out of all recognition as a niche market, polo in Barbados has been a shining example of a sport that brings visitors to the island and boosts the economy.
New polo centres have sprung up in recent times, and their facilities and ambience are terrific, but for many people the heartbeat of Barbados polo still remains at Holder’s Polo fields.
A Little History
The first horse polo match in Barbados was played in 1884 according to the historical record. British cavalry officers brought the sport with them from Great Britain. It was a game that suited the Barbadian lifestyle where horses were part of everyday life, and a number of wealthy plantation owners had their own stables. Horses were the means of transport and communication across the land, and horses worked the land to help in cane harvest and sugar production.
Polo was organized by the Polo Club which was founded in an ad-hock but professional manner by the cavalry and the landlords. Polo playing continued until 1929 when the Polo Club was suspended for 10 years.
Restarting at the Garrison Savannah in 1939, the club and polo have been a going concern on this tiny Caribbean island ever since. The original polo club has overseen the development of three playing grounds in addition to the first one. Fields are at Holders, Lion Castle, Waterhall-Apes Hill and Clifton.
Polo at Night
For it’s second year Apes Hill Polo Club will be hosting the Virgin Atlantic‘s Polo Under the Stars. Get ready for a night of sport and lively entertainment on Saturday, March 26th from 7:30pm. For more information, please visit their website at apeshillpolo.com.