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Horse is force fed ice by polo player to lower its body temperature
.high protein diet, pace cause horses to be susceptible to heat exhaustion.
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'Elite sport' a challenge to both mount
By JOEL KATZENSTEIN
and SCOTT BOWER
Tar Heel Staff Writers
One doesn't hear much about polo these days. There's
an occasional news piece about Prince Charles falling off
his pony at the Royal Grounds in London. And, of
course, there's the apparel and cologne labels made fa
mous by Ralph Lauren.
For the most part, however, polo isn't exactly high pri
ority news for Sports Illustrated or ABC's Wide World of
Sports. Even ESPN, a pay cable sports station that gives
coverage to almost every sport known to man, rarely, if
ever, mentions the sport of kings.
This really doesn't come as much of a surprise when
one considers what goes into the game both physically
and financially. For starters, the rules tend to be very com
plicated. Only four people can play at any one time on
one team and the person who has the straightest path to
ward the ball has the legal right of way. Such strategy isn't
always easily determined when the player and the pony
are racing at speeds that often exceed 35 mph.
Needless to say, it is also a real trick to stay on an ani
mal that constantly darts across the field in quest of a ball
that isn't much bigger than an ordinary baseball. One lo
cal team, Polo South, recently played a match against a
team called Washington, 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
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 d
Therefore, it stands tq
afford to participate on
ception) polo has been
Originally played exclus
is actually derived frorl
Nowadays, however, the
every description from
A day at tne poio gt
spectators as well as the
to attract people from
known as the polo cad
horse lovers both rich
Cars are driven throif
right up to the field. Ta;
take form, and to an
look more like a large-s
match. Mercedes are par
parked next to Rolls
pick-up trucks. . .and
outnumbered 2-to-l (i
same admission price (if
ror participants, pole
but spectators are guar!
interest be ponies or pi
D HE L I V HE IRl Y
12" Pizza with one topping only $3.95
16" Pizza with one topping only $5.95
PIZZA & CHICKEN DELIVERY
Mon.-Thurs. 4 pm-1 am
Fri. & Sat. 4 pm-2 am
Price Includes Tax
G.nnrDr-n c..npnn'-;in? qnn
AH Canvas '
Open weeknlghts til 8 pm
slight cosmetic fciemtshes - .-
(Next to CranvillD Towers)
133 W. Franklin
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t v aw -w' -J Li U
Assorted Flavors Q(
ft n7. Ran w
Good Thru 7933 Qi
8 The Tar Heel Thursday, July 7, 1933