Learning to play polo in Open Door

Polo and its popularity grow year after year, especially in the season, with the possibility of attending in December to see the best performance in the world at the Argentine Open in Palermo. Thanks to this phenomenon, the possibility of approaching this sport is possible, now also, from tourism. There are few places that offer to teach it at reasonable prices, either to satisfy the initial curiosity or to practice it.

Such is the case of Argentina Polo Day in Pilar, a field-club that specializes in receiving local and foreign tourists all year round. And from other places like La Manea Club (Ezeiza) or Estancia Puesto Viejo (Cañuelas). Actually there are many more sites that offer polo, only that the prices are others.

Celia and Rubén, from Argentina Polo Day, met some years ago and did not separate anymore. Together with his daughter Valentina, three years old, they receive those who want to understand what this game that displays glamor is about.

Empanadas, wine and roast are part of the program. Photo: LA NACION / DIEGO SPIVACOW / AFV
Foreign voices are heard and only some locals: the small combi arrives at noon to Pilar on route 8. Once the gate is over, the hosts offer Salta patties from La Zoila (cooked on the grill with a secret that Rubén will not confess), along with a glass of Mendoza wine.

Immediately, the game-exhibition of four chuckers or times begins, in this case 10 minutes each. Each team has four players.

Gastronomic by profession, Rubén ends this part of the day with a asadazo: good meat, chutneys, salads and grilled vegetables. Everything is rich.

Finally, the future polo players go to the horses, manage to climb and have their first encounter with the ball.

“We differentiate ourselves from the bigger clubs like La Aguada, La Ellerstina, Pilará or Villa María because although there they are taught with other prices and other accessibility, the ultimate goal is the purchase and sale of horses. on the other hand, it is tourism and the players, “says Celia passionately, who left her job at the Endeavor Foundation to put energy into her own dream.

Under her attentive gaze, Valentina tells that Fiona and Tito are going to put on their stockings. Fiona and Tito are two horses: for her, they belong to the family. “The ball creates a line that no one can cross for safety, handicap goals represent the level of polo that is played, however, there are very good players who do not have the handicap they deserve for a cost or convenience issue,” reports Celia to those who do not know anything about this discipline.

All the details are explained on the court during the game, in English and Spanish. You feel the floor vibrate at the gallop of the horses, the land that covers it all, the adrenaline of the game: so close are the tourists that they could receive a bochazo if they do not take care of themselves.

The charged between the players when they lose the ball, the tricks, everything is seen and heard at close range, something that in other countries is practically impossible to live.

The sixty horses of the enterprise are raised in a corral. Although they are less protected than in the pits, “when they go out on the court, they are calmer, less stressed, Polo for all those who want and can, every day of the year: that’s our motto,” he says enthusiastically.

The Polo Club La Manea de Ezeiza is another place decontracted where to practice this sport. The owner, the sociologist Fabián Jayat, does not agree with the polo model of the magazine’s photo. That’s why here the climate is another, more familiar, and tourists are also welcomed to spend the day or the weekend and ride.

Upon arrival, the 15-hectare farm with aged trees offers a polo field with tifway flooring and tackling, horse sector with barbeque and bar and, 100 meters away, the house-barbecue-restaurant with grill, home and kitchen: the Infrastructure is simple, but very warm. A little further are the bathrooms and the pool.

“For those of us who are passionate about horses,” says Fabián, “playing polo is a unique and unparalleled pleasure, due to the adrenaline of the game, the contact with the animal, the camaraderie both on and off the court. .. Everything is combined so that the pole, in other latitudes considered the sport of the kings, has in our country a diffusion and a number of players unmatched in the rest of the world. ”

The manager of this area is Vitorio “Orco” Cutineli. “The horses that we use are, mostly, polo mestizos, although today the Argentine Polo race is growing, which, due to its attitude, aptitude and speed, is generating the animal necessary for the game,” he reports.

Other places such as Puesto Viejo in Cañuelas, opened in October this year, combine comfort with professional polo. Surrounded by 100 hectares, the house has 10 rooms and 3 professional courts for members of the club and guests who want to learn to taquear, with 400 meters of sloping track and stables with 95 boxes.

Puesto Viejo is a polo club registered in the association. Many of their partners have and assemble their horses at the facilities, throughout the season. Professional players from 2 to 6 goals share the club together with the amateur partners. The club organizes practices 4 days a week, which provides the opportunity for visitors to see a real game.

Phenomenon on the rise

This sport does not stop growing. And in recent years the feminine pole has been given great impetus. Such is his current association with “lo argentino” that even a traditional Salta winery, El Esteco, decided to honor the Argentine polo by producing a limited Magnum edition of Don David Malbec autographed by the polo player Gonzalo Pieres.

This current fashion that comes from yesteryear, but that of a time to this part became more visible ?? also occurs in urbanizations linked to the pole.

San Diego (Moreno), La Martona (Cañuelas, neighbor of La Dolfina and La Martina), Estancia Villa María (San Vicente), Chacras la Trinidad, Las Praderas de Luján (Open Door), La Cañada, La Pintada (Las Heras) , among many other old ventures and others that start, realize this move that is growing.

Last year the Tortugas Country Club de Pilar turned 80 years old. This neighborhood is the seat of one of the three open that make up the Triple Crown, where the best teams compete.

In turn, there are increasingly more places to learn to play professionally that open a little more, such as Polo One, the clinics of La Ellerstina or Centauro, on May 25, among many others. The movement is intense, much larger than can be counted in a single note.

Argentina Polo Day: route 8, km 70, Pilar. Reports: 15 3108 1025, celia@argentinapoloday.com.ar, ruben@argentinapoloday.com.ar

Polo day program: start the day with empanadas, wine and an explanatory talk about the polo and its horses. Then a full polo match exhibition of four chuckers is offered while explaining the basics of the match in Spanish and English. It is followed by a good barbecue or the vegetarian option, the pool and an initial class of polo. U $ S 160, per person with transfers included.

Polo Special Program: for no less than 10 people, mainly backpackers or language students, specially coordinated with an English institute, for example. The departure is once a week at noon, from 14 to 18, and includes polo match, transfers and empanadas with beer. $ 400 per person.

La Manea: Ezeiza, telephone: 15-6092-5956. The beginner polo classes have a value of $ 120 per hour and for advanced courses, of $ 200 per hour. It is not necessary to know how to ride a horse, since that is learned in school; Yes, have a special feeling with horses and be willing to enjoy a different feeling. The club is open all year. Phone: 15-6092-5956, www.lamaneapolo.com.ar

Puesto Viejo: Cañuelas, telephone: 5279-6893, www.puestoviejopoloclub.com.ar. Polo vacation in Puesto Viejo: US $ 350 per night per adult. Special offer for US $ 175 for companions that are included in the same package, but do not take polo lessons. Ideal for those who wish a more intense experience with this sport. Guests attend a clinic where the skill and experience with the horse is evaluated, to then develop a personalized program of classes, tactics, matches and chukkers, which will be followed throughout the stay. Includes: 1 night accommodation (every day of the week), full board and access to all activities, polo clinic with professional players, who will assess the level of skill of the player and prepare a program made to measure.

Pole day for beginners: US $ 120 per adult, based on a minimum of 4 people. This package is intended for groups of friends or families with older children who wish to practice polo for the first time. It includes a theoretical class, followed by a tacho class with a professional instructor. It also offers the opportunity to play a mini-party.

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