Young riders from an inner-city riding school have made their polo debut.
The team, from Ebony Horse Club in Brixton, have been practising over the summer and played in front of crowds at Ham Polo Club on 23 September.
The youngsters were pitted against staff and volunteers from the charity, who were also polo novices, in a match to raise funds for the riding club.
ITV broadcaster and Ebony Horse Club patron Ronke Phillips threw in the first ball and after two chukkas, a 2-1 victory was claimed by the staff and volunteers’ team.
Pint-sized Shetland Pedro, who became an internet sensation after a specially-designed periscope was made for his stable, also attended as mascot.
“Polo is a team sport, which is different to other riding we’ve done, like dressage,” said 16-year-old Khadijah.
“You’re working together and there’s one aim – to score goals!”
Her teammate Grace added she would “love to do it again”.
“Where I live people don’t really know about horses, let alone polo, so it was amazing to be able to play,” she said.
Later that afternoon, Vendetta, captained by Garrie Renucci, took on Natascha Hedegaard’s University of London team, winning 5-4.
Ebony Horse Club chair of trustees Sue Collins said 2017 marks the charity’s 21st year.
“It was the perfect time to launch this new fundraising event, and we hope to make this a regular summer fixture,” she added.
“It’s been a thoroughly enjoyable day for spectators and players alike and every penny we raised today helps young people to build better futures.”
The charity is based in Coldharbour, south London, which is one of the most deprived areas in the country.
In 2011, the Duchess of Cornwall officially opened the charity’s community riding centre. Before this, children were taken by minibus to riding schools around London.
Since the riding centre opened, more than 1,000 children have learnt to ride in Brixton.
The charity has also teamed up with Appletree Stud and the Pony Racing Authority in recent years to give its members the chance to try pony racing.
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