“Polo is cool,” said Georgie, our instructor at the Barbour polo day organised by the Household Cavalry at Guards, Windsor.
“The ponies are cool, the people are cool and the kit is cool. And I want you to take a cool attitude to this lesson.”
With one previous experience of playing polo, I was fairly certain that I was not going to look cool wielding a mallet. But I was at least glad that I’d left my jodhpurs and gloves at home — jeans were very much the order of the day.
We hopped on the ponies and took them for a spin. Literally. Turning on a sixpence has never felt so easy and with just a push of the hands up my mount Margarita’s neck, she was off.
I warned Georgie that I was a lefthander (you have to play with your right hand), but she quickly set the record straight. Apparently there are at least two 10-goal players who are lefties — so no get out clause there.
At least I was in the very capable hands of Tommy — a five-goal Argentinean, who has played professionally for 20 years. He lived up to the Jilly Cooper stereotype to perfection, with a stick in one hand and a fag in the other.
Having sweated it out in the midday heat — with varying degrees of coolness — the pros showed us how it really could be cool, as the Household Cavalry took on local team Buck’s.
Meanwhile we were treated to our compere Simon — clad in electric green trousers and a panama — who dished out the Champagne and gave us a running commentary on each player’s relationships status.
“Number three, girls, is just back from Afghanistan and well and truly on the market. He’s a God on the polo field. I can give addresses later on,” he said. Milling around were a host of glamorous polo types — including another Argentinean who Simon introduced as being “only occasionally married”.
Aside from these apparent dating options, giving polo another try ensured that I’m well and truly hooked on a sport that I am completely unfinancially fit to fund. But there is always the spectator option — I say get yourselves to Guards this weekend when England will take on the USA (Sunday 28 July). That most definitely will be cool.