The first ever para polo match is to be played by injured servicemen at the Best of British Polo day.
The match will take place after the traditional contest between the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force for the Duke of York Cup at Tidworth Polo Club on 1 June. All profits will be donated to Help for Heroes.
The para players have been learning the game as part of Help for Heroes’ wounded sports recovery pathway, but this will be their first match.
Martin Colclough from Help for Heroes said: “The freedom and exhilaration the team has gained from playing polo up until now is fantastic to see.
“The influence the sport has on the mental and physical health of someone who has suffered life changing injury or illness makes this — and all adaptive sport — incredibly valuable.”
The exact format and the teams for the match are yet to be decided, but the servicemen and women will play alongside members of the Army polo team.
It is hoped the match could provide the opportunity for other disabled riders to get involved in the sport. Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) already has a few members practising polo.
“I think it’s absolutely brilliant,” said Ed Bracher from the RDA. “We would love to challenge them to a match sometime soon.”
For more information and to buy tickets www.bestofbritishpolo.co.uk
This article was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (13 March 2014)