Polo is a great excuse to get dressed up and sip champagne and/or Pimms in the sunshine (hopefully), while still getting your horsey fix. Cue floral dresses and red chinos, with wedges or flat shoes for treading in – but no extravagant headwear; this isn’t Ascot.
Still need convincing? Here are seven great reasons to head to the polo this summer
1. It’s affordable
Contrary to popular opinion, polo is a surprisingly affordable sport to attend. Tickets for Britain’s most high profile fixture, the HPA’s International Day in July, start at £20 (2014 ticket price; 2015 TBC), and admission to the England International at Chester Racecourse only £8. If you pack a picnic for the sidelines, you’ll save yourself from splashing out on drinks and food too.
At which other horse events could you rub shoulders with A-list celebrities? Eddie Redmayne, Gemma Arterton and David Gandy were among the big names enjoying polo in 2014.
3. It’s easy to follow
Polo isn’t as complicated to follow as many think. The main rule to remember in order to avoid confusion is that the teams change ends after each goal scored. Don’t forget too that players change ponies in between, and often during, chukkas.
4. You might catch sight of the royal family
You could be in for some royal-spotting — The Queen presents the Queen’s Cup at Guards, while Prince Charles does the honours at International Day. And there’s the chance to watch Princes William and Harry showing off their skills. The royal brothers both hold a one-goal handicap and can often be seen in action at charity matches and events.
5. Make it part of a trip to the seaside
Polo isn’t restricted to the green fields of the Home Counties. Events are held across the UK, or take a trip to the coast to enjoy beach polo. The main beach polo events take place each year at Watergate Bay in Cornwall and Sandbanks in Dorset.
6. Watch the sport at its best
The skills and bravery of both ponies and players are addictive to witness, and England is home to some of the highest quality polo in the world. The Gold Cup final at Cowdray Park is the pinnacle polo tournament of the season.
7. It makes a great family day out
Polo events are not all about the champagne, they can make for great family days out too. The Beaufort International Test Match in June is part of the Gloucestershire Festival of Polo, with entertainment, shopping and attractions for the whole family.
Where to watch polo in 2015
St Regis International Cup, Cowdray Park Polo Club, West Sussex — 16 May, www.cowdraypolo.co.uk
Chestertons Polo in the Park, Hurlingham Park, London — 5-7 June, www.polointheparklondon.com
Gloucestershire Festival of Polo, Beaufort Polo Club, Glos — 13-14 June, www.beaufortpoloclub.co.uk
The Cartier Queen’s Cup, Guards Polo Club, Surrey — 19 May-14 June, www.guardspoloclub.com
GWR Polo on the Beach, Watergate Bay, Cornwall — 26-28 June, www.watergatebay.co.uk
British Beach Polo Championships, Sandbanks Beach, Dorset — 10-11 July, www.sandpolo.com
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup, Cowdray Park Polo Club — 23 June-19 July, www.cowdraypolo.co.uk
International Day, Guards Polo Club, Surrey — 25 July, www.guardspoloclub.com
England International, Chester Racecourse Polo Club, Cheshire — 4-5 September, www.chester-races.co.uk