A different option to the gym: London workers can try polo at lunchtime

  • Equestrians working in London will have the opportunity to get a horse fix on their lunch break thanks to a new polo club opening in Docklands.

    The venture from polo coach and player Alec Banner-Eve will bring ponies from his existing MHF polo club into the heart of the capital, expanding on its current venues in Hertfordshire and Essex.

    The new location at Docklands Equestrian Centre will make it the most central spot in London to play the sport.

    While London has had a summer club at Ham Polo in Richmond, this will offer sessions all year round.

    “We were amazed when we first discovered there was a 40mx80m indoor arena so close to London and in reasonable traffic it’s only a 20min drive for the ponies from their Essex base,” said Alec.

    “We are keen to make it convenient and to encourage as many people to play and experience the sport as possible.

    “It’s only a six-minute Uber or taxi from Canary Wharf, so it’s feasible for people to come on their lunch break.”

    The arena, which was funded with lottery money, is tucked away in an unexpected sport in Beckton and is also home to a riding school and RDA group.

    “It has a spectator gallery and a good surface and it would be good to get it some more exposure,” Alec added.

    Logistics the club has had to tackle include changing exhausts on the lorry to meet with low emission rules, as they will be shipping-in 10 to 15 ponies at a time

    The polo school will be at the site on Mondays and Fridays, and there will be five sessions available each day.

    “So far the people that have heard about it have been very enthusiastic and excited — it’s got to be better getting to play polo in London than going to the gym,” said Alec, whose past ventures have included providing ponies for beach polo and snow polo but “not quite anything like this”.

    The club’s first London session will take place on Monday (20 Nov). Prices for a 1hr slot are £110, with block booking and gift vouchers also available.

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