Christian Doyle

Each UK polo season, the best grooms are flown in from South America, mostly Argentina where the training and horsemanship is considered the best in the world.

Gift has been coming to the UK from Mali for the polo season for the past 14 years.

Hannah rescues ex racehorses, giving them a second life as polo ponies. Ponies begin playing at 4 years old and can go on into their twenties.

Bobbi, Romania. Grooms leave their families from March to End of September, living in temporary accommodation on site.

Argentine grooms or petiseros are considered to be the best horsemen there are, their unique skills passed from father to son.

Polo ponies have their coats and manes shaved for speed and safety.

British Team Polo Player

These two sisters were race horses, saved from slaughter to retrain as polo ponies, both are winners of the 2020 season.

The striking clean, clear lines of form and texture exposed to the evening light.

Pascual is from Argentina, flying in every Spring for the British Polo Season. He has a 2 year old son who is following in his footsteps learning to handle a stick and sit on a horse - in the petisero tradition.

Each team comprises up to 10 ponies and each pony only plays for a maximum of 3 minutes. Washing and drying and keeping cool is vital for a calm transition from the game to the journey home.

Horses travel sometimes long distances back to their yards up to 10 at a time. It is vital that they stay calm, don't kick or injure themselves on the way.

Most of the day is spent waiting for a 2 - 3 minute window to play, replacing another team horse.

Often bred and trained as a team, horses are relaxed if they are all together. A horse left behind even for a short time gets worried.

A still glistening horse, loaded up and ready for the journey home

Every day, twice a day during the season the horses are ridden out for controlled exercising. In October they are driven back to their homes all over the country, and turned out to pasture, growing back their manes, putting on weight and getting covered in mud. Unrecognisable from the sleek, glossy creatures they become in the summer.

Christian Doyle

I’ve been a professional photographer for the past 20 years since graduating from Central St. Martins – a year’s postgrad certificate in Professional Photography.  I’ve specialised in education, theatre and portraiture but I’ve also exhibited my personal projects every couple of years.

My current /seasonal project is called ‘The Waiting Game’ and follows the behind the scenes life at at Cowdray Park Polo Club in Sussex and the yards supplying the strings of horses which play during the season from May – September.

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