Polo was part of my life from the age of three to twelve. I enjoyed my weekly ride on one of Billy Walsh’s polo ponies. He owned The Equestrian Club (close to the famous Ham playing field near London, England). Over 30 years later I once again enjoyed the instant canter from a walk at the squeeze of the knees. This time it was on one of Howard Boulton’s ponies in Venezuela. The Venezuelan ponies are small & nifty, like the Argentinian ones that Billy Walsh liked so much.
Here in Antigua, where I now live, there are no polo ponies. However, there is an active polo season on the Caribbean islands of Santo Domingo, Barbados and Jamaica (which boasts one of the oldest polo fields in the world, founded in 1892).
Polo is still very popular on these islands and competition remains fierce despite the considerable expenses involved in this somewhat elite sport. It is, however, wonderful to watch and is an occasion to dress up – particularly for female spectators – although a pair of flat-soled shoes is required for treading in the divots when required!
This watercolour painting (12×16” 31x41cm) depicts a Jamaican polo player on his nifty pony Charlie: polo Caribbean style. It was commissioned by a friend as a birthday present for the “man who has everything”!