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North Carolina Newspapers

The daily Tar Heel. (Chapel Hill, N.C.) 1946-current, July 07, 1983, Page 10, Image 10

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1 ..I..,. I uv - v - - ' " It r1 J fe .v- POLO 7 " J 9 sport' a challenge to both mount and rider -i 7CWCTCIW 30WER )rs t hear much about polo these days. There's news piece about Prince Charles falling off he Royal Grounds in London. And, of s the apparel and cologne labels made fa ll Lauren. t part, however, polo isn't exactly high pri- Sports Illustrated or ABC's Wide World of SPN, a pay cable sports station that gives most everv SDort known to man. rarelv. if k the sport of kings. doesn't come as much of a surprise when what goes into the game both physically y. For starters, the rules tend to be very com- Y four people can play at any one time on the person who has the straightest path to !ias the legal right of way. Such strategy isn't determined when the player and the pony speeds that often exceed 35 mph. say, it is also a real trick to stay on an ani- tantly darts across the field in quest of a ball h bigger than an ordinary baseball. One lo ci South, recently played a match against a ashington, and as an incentive to remain in the saddle, anyone falling off his mount had to buy the team a case of beer. Danger is present for the mount as well as the rider. At a recent match at Quail Roost in Durham spectators wit nessed the near death of one of the ponies. A knowledge able spectator surmised that the pony almost died from acute stress and heat exhaustion. Especially active and competitive ponies are kept on a high-protein diet which makes them susceptible to high blood pressure and heat exhaustion. The pony at Quail Roost was well-attended to as hun dreds of people rushed forward with ice and cold water to cool the animal. Despite the admirable cooperation of the audience, it was not easy to overlook the fact that the ani mals are pushed (often beyond their physical limits), and a question of cruelty and inhumanity in the name of good, clean fun came to mind. Some observers feel that when an animal is forced to exceed its physical limits the sport ceases to exist. Perhaps that is the reason polo doesn't get much publicity. Expense is one of the most prohibitive aspects of the sport. Standard equipment includes everything from leath er riding boots to a helmet, and mallets can cost anywhere from $400 to $800-and-up. However, that doesn't include other essential equipment such as the pony, riding gear and boarding facilities. Then there is training, food, health care, insurance, transportation, grooming and en try fees. The total can easily exceed $100,000 per year. Therefore, it stands to reason that only the wealthy can afford to participate on the field. For years (since its con ception) polo has been known as the sport of the elite. Originally played exclusively by members of royalty, polo is actually derived from the ancient sport of jousting. Nowadays, however, the sport is played by men of almost every description from all over the world. A day at the polo grounds is an exciting one for the spectators as well as the participants. Southern polo tends to attract people from all walks of life. Aiken, S.C., is known as the polo capital of the South, and it attracts horse lovers both rich and poor. Cars are driven through the gate openings and parked right up to the field. Tailgate parties of every description take form, and to an unfamiliar passerby, the grounds look more like a large-scale celebration of life than a polo match. Mercedes are parked next to Chevrolets, which are parked next to Rolls Royces, which are parked next to pick-up trucks. . .and although the curiosity seekers are outnumbered 2-to-l (in most cases), everyone pays the same admission price (usually $5 per person at one of the local grounds). For participants, polo can be dangerous and expensive, but spectators are guaranteed a good time whether their interest be ponies or partying. At ft I :: r : t i i is"- S4 2' v; 1 xtf Tom Smith of Raleigh, above, suits up for a polo match while his horse "Bear looks on. At left, an exhausted pony is sprayed down and wiped off. Such measures are necessary to cool off the overworked ponies and safe guard their health. PHOTOS BY SCOTT BOWER 4H , r i n i.j M W i Limited Suppiy nature! enly c r ' n'" oil 'X I . r:g. S37.G3 5:!3u.t cosmetic fjrr.ichcs 3m University square (Next to cranvi!!3 Towers) 133 IV. Fran!:l!n 942-1070 NATURAL LIGHT 99f 6-12 oz. Cans $2.39 HY-TOP Charcoal 1 $1,29 FRITO LAY Potato Chips Assorted Flavors QQrf 8 oz. Bag si'i'&f-.uj -1 Main St., Carrboro CHICKEN Leg Quarters , 39$ ib. COCA-COLA 2 Liter Good Thru Quantity Rights Reserved Bott,e ww IZ I Thursday, July 7, 1983 The Tar Heel 9

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